Cooper Rush to the rescue.
The Dallas Cowboys earned their second win of the season with the backup quarterback at the helm, taking down the New York Giants, 23-16, on Monday night.
The victory moves Rush to 3-0 in his career while making starts for an injured Dak Prescott.
Rush joins Hall of Famer Roger Staubach and Jason Garrett as the only Cowboys starting QBs to win their first three career starts.
“Well, he doesn’t get rattled,” head coach Mike McCarthy said of Rush after the victory, via the team’s transcript. “…He’s the same, every day. So consistent. But yeah, he’s playing good football right now. I’m glad to recognize him for it. He’s giving us the boost to just keep playing on offense.”
The Dallas quarterback became the first undrafted QB to win each of his first three starts and throw for 750-plus passing yards in those starts since Hall of Famer Kurt Warner with the Rams in 1999, per NFL Research.
Rush also is the first QB since at least 1950 to win his first three career starts while having a 60-plus completion percentage, 200-plus pass yards and 90-plus passer rating in each start.
Monday night, Rush played poised, made a host of good throws and was never rattled on the road. He finished 21-of-31 passing for 215 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions for a 98.2 passer rating. Those numbers would look even better if his receivers had helped him out on a few good passes in the first half.
When the Cowboys got down in the third quarter after a brilliant Saquon Barkley 36-yard TD sprint, Rush didn’t blink. Dallas scored on each of its next three possessions, including back-to-back touchdown drives to regain the lead.
Rush became one of two QBs to have a game-winning drive in each of their first three career starts in the Super Bowl era (Other: Bears’ Virgil Carter in 1968).
With Prescott on the sideline, Rush proved he could hold the fort.
“Yeah, that’s the job,” Rush said. “You’ve got to come in and you’ve got to play well every week. That’s how this league works at every position. Week-in and week-out you’ve got to show up and you know we were able to build some momentum last week and it carried into this week, and we just don’t hurt ourselves and keep staying on track and making plays, I think we’ll do alright.”
When Prescott went down with a hand injury in Week 1, it could have spelled doom for Dallas. Instead, they rose to the occasion with back-to-back victories.
“It tells you the kind of team you have,” McCarthy said of wins with Rush under center. “These guys have been leaning on one another. This is an outstanding locker room. The accountability is very high. The resilience is there, you can see it every step of the way. It’s just like anything, sometimes you have to go through some hard times to get to where you want to go and hopefully we’ve built a good foundation to get to where we want to go.”
There is no QB controversy in Dallas. When Dak is healthy, it’s his team.
But Rush has proved to be a stabilizing force who can run the offense and allow the Cowboys’ playmakers to make plays. You can’t ask for much more from a backup QB.