EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The New York Jets' blitzing defense put Dak Prescott on the ground more than once.
The final stat line from Sunday's 24-22 road loss says Prescott took one sack. The Jets also hit him eight times. In the first half, he went to the blue medical tent for evaluation after his helmet bounced off the MetLife Stadium field. An independent doctor cleared him to return.
Prescott continued to battle.
That's his expectation for the entire Cowboys team moving forward, despite three straight defeats.
In his post-game interview, after he came within a failed two-point conversion of tying the game with 43 seconds left, the quarterback's message was clear:
"As crazy as it is, it's still ahead of us," he said.
After six games, the Cowboys (3-3) remain atop the NFC East beside Philadelphia (3-3), who lost to Minnesota. The Eagles are next on the schedule next Sunday at AT&T Stadium.
Of absolute importance: faster starts. For the third straight game, the Cowboys failed to score a touchdown until the second half. The Jets jumped out to a 21-3 lead on a 92-yard touchdown pass by returning quarterback Sam Darnold.
On two occasions, Prescott and the offense drove inside the Jets' 10-yard line and came away with only three points. They settled for a Brett Maher field goal after a Cedrick Wilson offensive pass interference penalty and got stopped cold on a Prescott fourth-down keeper.
"We're putting ourselves behind, we're putting our defense in a tough spot, and we're not playing complementary football. Simple as that," said Prescott, who completed 28 of 40 passes for 277 yards. "We've got to start faster, we've got to get points, we've got to get touchdowns and allow our defense to play from up."
Injuries were a factor. Starting offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La'el Collins and veteran slot receiver Randall Cobb were inactive due to injury. Lead receiver Amari Cooper did not play after the first series due to a quad injury that limited his practice work during the week.
Yet, the offense settled in late. Running back Ezekiel Elliott (28 carries, 105 yards) finally got them in the end zone with 6:30 remaining in the fourth quarter. And Prescott cut the deficit to two on a 4-yard touchdown scramble with under a minute left.
The Jets sent an extra blitzer on the failed two-point try, an incomplete pass to tight end Jason Witten just as Prescott got smacked in the midsection.
"It's an all-out coverage blitz, so they're going to play pretty aggressive," Witten said. "Dak tried to hang in there as long as he can like he always does. He fights his tail off, buys a little time and takes a hit. Just wasn't able to convert it with the all-out blitz.
"I thought Dak, he willed himself in that comeback with the way he played. He made a lot of plays, he and Zeke, and the line was battling collectively. It's just, you dig yourself a hole and it's hard to come back in those moments. We've just got to start faster as an offense."
Prescott threw three interceptions in the Week 5 loss to Green Bay. Sunday, the Cowboys won the turnover battle, 1-0. It wasn't enough.
There's still plenty of time to overcome the franchise's first three-game losing streak since 2017. But it'll take resilience, just as Prescott showed repeatedly after getting knocked down.
"I've played this game a long time. You have games like that," he said. "But I'm going to keep fighting. I'm going to keep getting up and keep trusting those guys getting it done the next play.
"We're going to keep playing. We've got great character on this team. I'm not worried about that."