Andy Dalton will fly home with the Cowboys after suffering a concussion on a dangerous helmet-to-helmet hit in the third quarter against Washington, the Cowboys announced after Sunday's 25-3 loss at FedExField.
Dalton did not speak to reporters after the game but was described by a Cowboys spokesman as alert, in good spirits and feeling much better than when he left the field with the assistance of the team's athletic training staff.
Dalton did not return to the game. Rookie Ben DiNucci stepped in at quarterback for the remaining 21:32 Sunday.
Making his second consecutive start for an injured Dak Prescott (ankle surgery), Dalton completed 9 of 19 passes for 75 yards, no touchdowns and an interception that occurred just before halftime.
With 6:32 left in the third quarter and the Cowboys trailing 22-3, Dalton attempted to scramble up the middle away from collapsing pocket pressure. He had already gone through his quarterback slide when Washington linebacker Jon Bostic delivered a helmet-first hit that bounced Dalton's head off the grass and sent his helmet skittering. Bostic was ejected.
Dalton was down for several minutes. A medical cart was sent to the field, but the 10-year veteran was able to walk to the locker room, where further evaluation confirmed a concussion.
Dalton will enter the NFL's concussion protocol to start the week. The Cowboys (2-5) play at Philadelphia next Sunday night.
DiNucci, a seventh-round pick out of James Madison, completed 2 of 3 passes for 39 yards in the final quarter and a half. He and Dalton were both sacked three times, the six total sacks easily the most by an opponent this season.
The offensive line struggled with four of five projected Week 1 starters not available Sunday: offensive tackles Tyron Smith and La'el Collins (on IR after neck and hip surgery, respectively), center Joe Looney (IR, sprained knee) and guard Zack Martin, inactive Sunday following a concussion six days ago against Arizona.
Martin's status for Week 8 remains to be seen, and Looney has yet to be designated to return to practice while on IR.
Dalton's status for this coming week also is uncertain. DiNucci and Garrett Gilbert, signed off the Browns' practice squad a couple of weeks ago, are currently the only healthy quarterbacks on the roster.
"Not sure how all the (concussion) protocols work and stuff of that nature, but if my number's called I'll be the first one in the building tomorrow and the last one to leave," DiNucci said. "I have to prepare like I have been for the past two months. Nothing changes."