Dak Prescott threw for four touchdowns, and the Dallas Cowboys used a big third quarter to pull away in a 36-28 victory against the visiting Carolina Panthers on Sunday afternoon.
Ezekiel Elliott gained 143 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown as the Cowboys (3-1) won their third game in a row.
The outcome halted the best start to a season since 2015 for Carolina (3-1), which had extra time to prepare following its last game Sept. 23.
Prescott finished 14-of-22 for 188 yards.
Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold, who ran for touchdowns from 1 yard and 11 yards, went 26-of-39 for 301 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions. He was intercepted on consecutive third-quarter possessions as the Cowboys took control.
Darnold’s second touchdown throw to DJ Moore with 4:31 left gave the Panthers a chance, but they never got the ball back.
The Cowboys went ahead on their first possession of the second half when Prescott and Amari Cooper connected for a 35-yard touchdown play.
Just 3 1/2 minutes later, Prescott’s 6-yard pass to Dalton Schultz helped the Cowboys stretch the margin to 26-14, though a two-point conversion pass failed.
It was 33-14 after Prescott threw a 23-yard strike to Cedrick Wilson. Greg Zuerlein’s field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter expanded the lead.
Carolina didn’t respond until Darnold’s 6-yard scoring pass to Moore with 8:58 remaining.
The Panthers, playing their first full game this season without running back Christian McCaffrey (hamstring injury), had 113 rushing yards. Dallas gained 245 on the ground.
Elliott opened the scoring on a 1-yard run. The Panthers pulled even when Darnold faked a pitch and ran 1 yard for a first-quarter touchdown.
Prescott threw to Blake Jarwin for an 18-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, but the Cowboys could not convert a two-point conversion, making it 13-7.
Darnold’s next touchdown run — combined with Zane Gonzalez’s extra-point kick — gave Carolina its first lead at 14-13 with 7:02 left in the second quarter.
–Field Level Media
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