ARLINGTON, Texas — It was a near perfect night for the Dallas Cowboys, but it had nothing to do with the result, a 41-14 win against the Miami Dolphins.
The last time Romo played in ATT Stadium, he took a hit against the Carolina Panthers last Thanksgiving and broke his left collarbone for the second time, which ended his 2015 season.
In 13 snaps in the first quarter, Romo completed 4 of 5 passes for 49 yards and directed the Cowboys on a 72-yard scoring drive in his second series. He found Dez Bryant once for 18 yards and Jason Witten twice for 24 yards.
Prescott entered in the third series and completed his first eight passes for 132 yards, including a 28-yarder to Bryant for a score, and he also had a 20-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter. The Cowboys scored on all four of his drives. He finished the game 12-of-15 for 199 yards with two touchdown passes and two rushing scores.
His passer rating? A perfect 158.3.
How much more convincing do the Cowboys need that Prescott can handle the No. 2 quarterback role behind Romo?
Big swings: With Ezekiel Elliott (hamstring) missing his second straight preseason game, Alfred Morris introduced himself to Cowboys fans with 13 carries for 85 yards and a touchdown. Not that they needed an introduction. It looked like the type of effort Morris had for four years against the Cowboys as a member of the Washington Redskins. Morris had a 15-yard touchdown run on the second series, burrowing his head into his blockers before bouncing to his left and slipping a tackle for the score. Oh, and he let loose with his patented home run swing in celebration.
Dez watch: Bryant has played two preseason games and he has two touchdowns. He seems to be coming back fine from a broken foot that limited him to nine games last year. The touchdown grab was a thing of beauty. It was a perfect pass to the pylon from Prescott, but Bryant was able to twist his body and get his feet down masterfully in one motion. It was the kind of play that requires repetition and Bryant made it look easy.
RB depth chart: The Cowboys might have a good problem on their hands at running back. Elliott will be the starter. Morris has shown he has juice left. They also have Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar coming back from injury, and rookie Darius Jackson has shown some promise as well. Can they keep five tailbacks? Doubtful, but perhaps the Cowboys could use that strength to find an answer for a weakness elsewhere.
Maybe that player could make the team: Defensive lineman Shaneil Jenkins signed with the Cowboys on Aug. 7 almost as an afterthought. He responded with a sack in the preseason opener and a sack Friday against the Dolphins. He raked the ball free from Brandon Doughty in the second quarter, leading to a Cedric Thornton fumble recovery. The Cowboys turned that takeaway into a field goal.
Who got hurt? Second-year linebacker Mark Nzeocha suffered an Achilles injury in the first quarter and did not return. He missed most of his rookie season with a knee injury suffered in college.
Too many flags: You knew it was going to be a long night when there were five penalty flags on the first eight snaps of the ball. It’s the preseason for the officials, too. Some were warranted; others were iffy. Regardless, they were called. In the first half, the Cowboys were flagged 10 times for 100 yards. They had only two games with 10 or more penalties last season and one game with 100 or more yards.
Welcome back: After sitting out the preseason opener, the Cowboys saw cornerback Orlando Scandrick (knee), linebacker Sean Lee (knee) and defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (back) make their preseason debuts. Crawford came up with a sack of Ryan Tannehill on the first series to force a punt. The trio saw action in two series as the Cowboys continue a deliberate approach with players returning from injuries.
Up next: Elliott’s long-awaited preseason debut should come next week against the Seattle Seahawks. Tyron Smith (stinger) could also make his preseason debut. That the all-important third preseason game, which is most like a regular-season contest, is against a foe as strong as Seattle is a positive.