ARLINGTON, Texas – In June, Dak Prescott said he'd "buried" last year's season-ending ankle injury.
Almost exactly one year to the day of that horrific compound fracture and dislocation, Sunday's 44-20 win over the Giants at AT&T Stadium provided a measure of closure for the Cowboys' franchise quarterback.
"I'm glad it's over with it and I'm glad I'm past that," said Prescott, who completed 22 of 32 passes for 302 yards and three touchdowns Sunday. "I think this was the final shovel in burying this thing."
During the week, Prescott downplayed the one-year injury anniversary and its eerie circumstances: same field, same opponent, same week on the schedule.
Afterward, he acknowledged those memories probably affected his play early, causing a bit of a "mental fog."
When he saw Giants running back Saquon Barkley get carted off with an ankle injury, it sparked a brief flashback to Oct. 11, 2020.
"It's in the back of your head, unconsciously or not," he said. "I didn't quite feel as energetic or as myself earlier in the game, and I don't know if that played a part in (the slow start) or not."
The Cowboys' dynamic offense (now averaging an NFL-best 34.0 points per game) had two turnovers in its first three drives: an interception and a lost fumble, both by Prescott.
On the pick, Prescott appeared to telegraph a pass to running back Ezekiel Elliott in the flat on third-and-short. Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter batted the ball in the air and grabbed it. The fumble came on a shotgun snap from center Tyler Biadasz in the red zone.
One drive earlier, Prescott threw a pass that hit tight end Dalton Schultz in the hands and bounced incomplete. The offense settled for a field goal.
It was a sloppy start for a talented, versatile group that has been practically unstoppable through five games, barring self-inflicted mistakes.
They settled down in the second quarter.
Prescott delivered a perfect throw to wide receiver CeeDee Lamb for a 49-yard touchdown after Lamb beat outside man coverage by Giants cornerback James Bradberry.
"Once that touchdown to CeeDee it was kind of when I started rolling and got into the groove," Prescott said.
He finished the game with a 116.9 passer rating, and for the second straight week the offense topped 200 rushing yards (201), striking a lethal balance between run and pass.
"I think we're doing a really good job with the time of possession, almost weekly," head coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're keeping the defense fresh and I think it's a big part of the ability to stay with the run and pass. I thought (offensive coordinator) Kellen (Moore) did an excellent job again today."
And Prescott improved to 8-2 all-time against the Giants with his third straight game of at least three touchdown passes.
He shared a post-game hug with Cowboys associate athletic trainer Britt Brown, the director of his tedious rehab over the many months between last October and this past spring, when he returned to on-field team activities.
"I told him, 'Thank you, and I'm glad it's behind us,'" Prescott said.
"I'm grateful to be almost a year past this thing, but I'm thankful for just the way I've grown and everything it's allowed me to learn about myself and the support that I've had through it all. I'm just blessed and grateful."