ORLANDO -- The Dallas Cowboys spectacular rookie twosome of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott got a chance to finish their rookie season in style at the 2017 Pro Bowl Sunday, but were mainly used in supporting roles in a 20-13 NFC loss.
They became the first two NFC rookie teammates to ever start in the same backfield in the Pro Bowl, drawing huge cheers and a big on-field smile from Dak before he took his first snap as a Pro Bowl starter.
"It was a humbling experience to get to play in the game," Prescott said on the field of Camping World Stadium after the game. "Of course I was excited to play in the Pro Bowl, it was everything I thought it would be. I was playing with the best of the best."
Elliott, a year ago just a touted college product unsure where he was going to play, said it was an amazing way to cap his first year as a Dallas Cowboy.
"As a rookie, it was just great to be here with some of the all-time greats of the game. I definitely thought it was an honor."
Elliott played in all four quarters and wound up with eight carries for 20 yards along with his trademark, 'feed me,' spinning sign.
Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant had the most productive night among Cowboy players with five catches for 59 yards and a couple of key first down receptions.
"This gives me something I can build on for the off-season," Bryant said. "Those two rookies are what sparked us, to see them here was a thrill. They got us going and are two just amazing players who played some outstanding football."
Prescott finished just 7-13 for 52 yards with no touchdown or interceptions, but only played in the first quarter of the game. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees played in quarters two and three and had both a touchdown and end zone interception while Washington QB Kirk Cousins played the fourth quarter.
After his final game of the season, Prescott displayed the competitive fire which many Cowboys fans feel will take the team to renewed heights for years to come.
"Of course I wanted to play more, to get as many reps as possible and get better as a player. Hopefully, I'm looking forward to a lot of Super Bowls in the future, but this is the second best thing."
His first play as a Pro Bowl starter turned out to be a six-yard pass to NFC East rival Odell Beckham, Jr, but two dropped passes from Jimmy Graham and Greg Olsen forced a punt,
In the NFC's second series, Prescott turned to Elliott for his first carry of the game and later connected with wide receiver Dez Bryant for his team's first first down of the game.
Prescott continued to lead his team down the field, but the drive stalled near the end zone. In a rarity for Cowboy fans in the 2016 season, he misfired with Bryant on third down in the corner of the end zone and then Elliott was stopped at the one-yard line on fourth-and-two.
Cowboy's lineman Zack Martin said with wholesale substitutions it's hard to be ready to play at any time, but it was fun to play with a lot of different players
"You just have to stay warm on the sidelines and be ready when it's your turn. It's fun to play with these guys you may know, but never get to play with."
This was Dallas head coach Jason Garrett's second time as head coach of the Pro Bowl squad, but he said playing with so many of his players and all of his assistant coaches made it an enjoyable experience.
"The team was pretty fired up to play especially the Dallas guys," Garrett said. "It was a good experience with good guys who are the best in the world at what they do."
Before the opening kickoff, all seven Cowboys players were announced together and drew a thunderous ovation by the nearly capacity crowd of 60,834, with Elliott wearing his trademark crop top jersey in the chilly 52 degree night air.
Cowboys Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones was the field before the game and in the fourth quarter, Dallas won another NFL honor. Highland Park High School head football coach Randy Allen, who the Cowboys nominated, was named the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year.
Allen led Highland Park to the State 5A Division I State Title this fall with Jones' grandson and President Stephen Jones' son, John Stephen Jones as the starting quarterback.
"Randy is somebody I respect and admire greatly," Jerry Jones said. "He is a man who understands the fundamental character of being a high school coach—and that is to build character and shape young lives."