Dak Prescott, Cowboys rally in fourth quarter for a 20-17 victory over the Chargers

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brandin Cooks (3) catches a touchdown as Los Angeles Chargers safety Dean Marlowe (20) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 16, 2023, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Dak Prescott threw for 272 yards and a touchdown, and the Dallas Cowboys rebounded from a rout a week ago, beating the Los Angeles Chargers 20-17 Monday night.

Prescott completed 21 of 30 passes and also had a rushing TD. He became the 30th quarterback in NFL history to throw at least one touchdown pass against 31-or-more opponents when he connected with Brandin Cooks for a 2-yard score with 11:19 remaining in the game to give the Cowboys a 17-10 lead.

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Los Angeles tied it at 17 with 7:11 remaining when Gerald Everett caught a 1-yard touchdown pass from Justin Herbert.

Brandon Aubrey made two field goals, including a 39-yarder with 2:19 remaining, to give the Cowboys the lead.

The Chargers had one last chance to send it into overtime, but Stephon Gilmore picked off Herbert at the LA 33-yard line with 1:22 remaining to seal the victory. On the play immediately before the pick, Herbert was sacked by Micah Parsons for an 8-yard loss.

“Resilient. Guys fought. We knew this was a really good team,” Prescott said. “Record doesn’t necessarily show it, but nothing does in this league. Offense, defense, they came up with a huge play right there. Something we can build off of.”

Dallas (4-2), coming off a 42-10 loss at San Francisco on Oct. 8, improved to 10-1 since the start of 2021 in games after a loss. CeeDee Lamb had seven receptions for 117 yards.

Herbert threw for two touchdowns and finished 22 of 37 for 227 yards and an interception. Keenan Allen had seven catches for 85 yards and a score.

The Chargers, who were coming off a bye, dropped to 2-3.

The Chargers scored on their opening drive for the second straight game and third time this season when Allen caught a 1-yard pass from Herbert on third-and-goal. Austin Ekeler, who missed the past three games due to an ankle injury, had the key play on the drive when he took a screen pass from Herbert 28 yards to the Cowboys 4.

Dallas answered on its ensuing drive when Prescott executed a zone read to perfection. On fourth-and-1 from the Chargers 18, Los Angeles linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu came crashing off the edge to take down Tony Pollard behind the line of scrimmage, but Prescott kept it and went up the middle untouched to even the score.

The 18-yard score was the longest rushing touchdown of Prescott’s eight-year career. It also marked the longest TD run by a Cowboys quarterback since Jon Kitna went 29 yards against Detroit in 2010.

The Cowboys took a 10-7 lead into halftime when Aubrey connected for a 32-yard field goal on the last play of the second quarter.

Los Angeles tied it late in the third quarter when Cameron Dicker was good from 32 yards.

Key play

Cooks’ touchdown was set up by a 60-yard reception by Pollard.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Prescott scrambled out of pressure on third-and-11 at the Dallas 24 and completed a short pass to Pollard at the 32. Pollard then spun out of a tackle by Chargers cornerback Michael Davis at the 40 and appeared as if he would score a touchdown until he was brought down by Asante Samuel at the Chargers 16.

Pollard’s reception was the second-longest catch of his career, behind his 68-yard touchdown at Minnesota in 2022.

Lucky bounce

The Chargers tied it in the fourth quarter when they took over on the Cowboys 20 after a muffed punt.

Dallas’ Jalen Tolbert thought KaVontae Turpin got his hand on the ball, but Tolbert was the first to touch it. He fumbled and Chargers linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga recovered it.

It was originally called a downed punt, but it was reversed after the Chargers challenged the call.

Not exactly clean

The teams combined for 20 penalties for 164 yards. There were seven first downs via penalty.

Dallas was flagged 11 times for 85 yards and the Chargers had nine for 79.

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