ARLINGTON, Texas — Before a word was even said in the post-game press conference, Dak Prescott already knew what the first question would likely be given how his last few games have gone. "Let's start with the interception," he said.
It had been that kind of week for Prescott. With the most recent image of him on a football field being the game-sealing pick-six against the Jaguars less than a week ago, and all of the talk about interceptions swirling around Prescott, the last thing he wanted to do was throw a pick his next time out.
Then, on the Cowboys' opening drive against the 13-1 Eagles, who had a chance to lock up the NFC East crown and the No. 1 seed in the NFC with a win, Prescott threw another pick-six, right into the hands Josh Sweat, promptly running it back 42 yards to put Dallas in an early 10-0 hole.
"As I was chasing [Sweat] down I went, 'Is this really happening?'" Prescott said to himself. "He made a great catch, and I don't know if he's had an easier interception and return than that one… Let me get back on the field. Let's just get this thing back rolling."
Oh yeah. Dak and the Cowboys got rolling after that. There was no disputing that.
From there on, Prescott was nearly spotless the rest of the first half. He went 16-18 for 168 yards, including going 16-16 at one point following the pick, plus a 36-yard strike to CeeDee Lamb for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
But the thing that you probably wouldn't have noticed unless you were at AT&T Stadium on Christmas Eve, was that the very next Cowboys' drive following Prescott's interception - he was met with boos by the Cowboys' faithful.
Prescott responded nonetheless, as he has since the day he arrived in Dallas. He passed for 347 yards, three touchdowns, a passer rating of 124.3, and led the Cowboys to a monumental 40-34 win over the Eagles to keep their slim chances at the divisional crown intact - and ruining their division rival's best laid Christmas plans.
Oh, but he did have the one interception. But! He also had the game-changing pass to T.Y. Hilton late in the fourth quarter on 3rd and 30 that completely flipped the momentum. So, did Prescott blink with his back against the wall? No, but that's because he was a younger brother, which requires you be mentally tough.
"That comes from I guess [being] a kid," he said. "When you're the younger brother, you get beat up and you take a lot of losses. And the only way to keep going is by responding. It's showing that whatever happened last play really doesn't matter. It's all about the next play."
The circumstances in which Prescott stepped up can't go unnoticed either. While the Eagles were without quarterback Jalen Hurts and instead with backup Gardner Minshew, it was Prescott that faced the defense with the most sacks in the league and got to him six times on Saturday night.
He pulled the Cowboys out of not one, but two separate 10-point deficits against the Eagles and contributed to their 419 total yards of offense and Lamb's 10 catches for 120 yards and two touchdowns. All Prescott was looking for after his interception was one more play.
Fortunately, the Cowboys defense forced four turnovers against the Eagles, giving the offense and Prescott more opportunities to score. How did Prescott and co. fare? 20 of their 40 total points came off turnovers.
In the last three games, the Cowboys have been forced, whether it was their own doing or not, to try and win games that come down to the wire. They did so two weeks ago against the Texans in the 2-minute drill. They let a 17-point lead against Jacksonville slip away and lost in overtime.
But in a Tyson-Holyfield, heavyweight battle on the night before Christmas, the Cowboys pulled prevailed. And though Prescott has been persistent in his messaging over the last week, it still rings true after a game like that; the Cowboys, and Prescott are resilient.
"As we've talked about all year long, that's our mantra - resiliency," Prescott said. "And I think tonight was a great example of that. Down 10 points in the first half, able to respond. Down 10 in the second half, able to respond… This is a bunch of guys that are focused as hell."