ARLINGTON, Texas — Dez Bryant’s 60th career touchdown was Dak Prescott’s first for the Dallas Cowboys.
And for the first time in his short stint filling in for injured Tony Romo, the rookie quarterback was able to effectively utilize all of the receiver trio of Bryant, Cole Beasley and Terrance Williams in the same game, a 31-17 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday night.
There was Bryant’s 17-yard TD catch early in the fourth quarter to extend the lead for the Cowboys (2-1). Beasley, the 5-foot-8 sparkplug who has been the team’s leading receiver this season, had seven more catches and Williams had some important receptions on scoring drives though he lost a fumble at the end of a 47-yard gain in the third quarter that led to a Bears touchdown.
On the second play of the game, however, Bryant limped off after hurting his right knee on an 11-yard completion. He was back on the field not long after that following treatment on the sideline, but didn’t have another catch until the opening play of the fourth quarter.
“He hurt his knee, he was out for a little bit, but then he was able to come back,” Garrett said. “The slant for a touchdown was a big play in the game.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said X-rays indicated that Bryant likely has a sprained knee, and an MRI was expected as early as Monday. Bryant didn’t speak to reporters after the game.
Prescott still doesn’t have a turnover, extending his early-career mark to 99 consecutive passing attempts without an interception. And his first passing touchdown — he had his second rushing TD early against the Bears — put the Cowboys up 31-10 when Bryant caught the ball in front of a defender, turned and lunged into the end zone.
That put Bryant in exclusive company since Hall of Fame receivers Michael Irvin (87) and Bob Hayes (71) and current tight end Jason Witten (60) are the only other players with 60 career TD catches for the Cowboys.
Prescott ended up with the ball from his first touchdown, which was also a notable score for Bryant.
“They saved it for me. If (Bryant) wants it, he can have it,” Prescott said. “I plan on getting many more.”
Bryant had only one catch in the season opener two weeks ago before a 100-yard game at Washington, a game in which a pass was never thrown in Williams’ direction. Beasley has been the constant, with at least five catches in every game so far.
Beasley caught all seven passes thrown his way against the Bears, gaining 73 yards. Williams was targeted four times, catching all of them for 73 yards. Bryant’s third and last catch was the touchdown, after Prescott went his way on six plays.
“With all of those guys, we want to rotate them through, and we don’t want any of those receivers playing every snap the whole game,” coach Jason Garrett said. “We want to keep them fresh.”
Beasley was also banged up on the opening series, taking a hard shot to the chest from defensive back Adrian Amos after a completion that was initially marked as a first down. After a replay challenge by the Bears, officials pushed the ball back a yard, making it fourth down, though the Cowboys converted on way to a touchdown.
Prescott thought he might have had his first touchdown on Witten’s 18-yard catch on the opening drive, and then again on Beasley’s 29-yard catch early in the second quarter. Both instead were correctly marked down at the 1, immediately followed by touchdown runs — by Prescott and Lance Dunbar, respectively.
On the next Cowboys possession, Williams had a pair of 12-yard catches for first downs and Beasley has a 9-yard gain when he caught a short pass, was hit by a defender and then dived forward to get a few extra yards .
“All the guys were getting open for him,” Beasley said of the rookie quarterback. “He was going through his reads and he does a good job of it.”