Rush, the fifth-year backup was handed the offense when Prescott was shelved in a game-time decision due to a strained right calf muscle, directed an eight-play, 75-yard drive he finished with a perfect toss to Cooper on a fade in the corner of the end zone.
According to NFL research, Rush became the first player to pass for 300-plus yards and win in his first career start on the road in a night game since Gary Hogeboom did it for Dallas in the 1984 season opener. Both Rush and Hogeboom hail from Central Michigan.
Amari Cooper had eight catches for 122 yards, and CeeDee Lamb had six receptions for 112 yards for the Cowboys (6-1), whose only lead came in that final minute.
Rush overcame two turnovers, both delivered by former Dallas safety Xavier Woods, to slice up the Minnesota secondary in his first NFL start. Prescott watched approvingly from the sideline wearing a headset to help the coaches.
► Box Score: Dallas 20, Minnesota 16
Kirk Cousins and the Vikings (3-4) were frequently in disarray on offense, after opening the game with 75-yard march for a touchdown pass to Adam Thielen. Greg Joseph kicked three field goals to keep them in front for most of the night, but the Vikings totaled only 278 yards against a defense that was allowing the second-highest yards-per-play average in the NFL entering the week.
Cousins finished 23 for 35 for 184 yards, too often settling for the short dump-off option rather than pushing the ball up the field to Thielen and fellow star Justin Jefferson. Dalvin Cook had 18 carries for 78 yards, but he never found a rhythm because of all the fits and starts.
The Vikings converted only one of 13 third downs and had eight of 12 possessions last only four plays or fewer. Woods had an interception in the second quarter and forced a fumble with his first career sack in the fourth quarter, but the Vikings didn’t turn those gifts into any points.
Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had a masterful game plan that was almost undone by a lack of discipline by his group. The defense accounted for nine of the team’s 11 penalties, including three unnecessary roughness calls during the 69-yard drive by the Vikings to take the lead on Joseph’s 24-yard kick. Nearly half of those yards came from penalties.
► (At) New Orleans 36, Tampa Bay 27: P.J. Williams intercepted Tom Brady and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown with 1:24 left, helping New Orleans seal a dramatic but potentially costly 36-27 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
Saints quarterback Jameis Winston injured his left knee during a scramble early in the second quarter when he was pulled down from behind by Devin White, who was flagged for a horse-collar tackle.
Saints coach Sean Payton said he thinks the injury is “significant.”
Backup Trevor Siemian took over for Winston and completed 16 of 29 throws for 159 yards and a touchdown without a turnover. New Orleans (5-2) earned its third straight victory.
Brady passed for four TDs, but also turned the ball over three times on a pair of interceptions and a fumble. Tampa Bay (6-2) had won four in a row.
► (At) New York Jets 34, Cincinnati 31: Mike White threw for 405 yards and three touchdowns in his first NFL start, leading the Jets to a wild comeback victory.
White, starting in place of injured rookie Zach Wilson, pulled off an improbable victory for the Jets (2-5) while going 37 of 45 – setting an NFL record for the most completions in a player’s first start. He joined Cam Newton (2011) as the only players since at least 1950 to throw for 400 or more yards in their first career start.
White overcame two early interceptions and also became the Jets’ first 400-yard passer since Vinny Testaverde on Dec. 24, 2000, a span of 327 games. And he even left for a few plays with a neck injury.
Joe Burrow threw for 259 yards and three touchdowns for the Bengals (5-3), who led 31-20 midway through the fourth quarter. Rookie Ja’Marr Chase finished with just three receptions for 32 yards, including a 2-yard TD in the second quarter.
► New England 27, (at) Los Angeles Chargers 24: New England’s Adrian Phillips intercepted two passes, returning one for the go-ahead touchdown against his former team.
Nick Folk kicked four field goals for the Patriots (4-4), who earned their second straight win. Rookie Mac Jones completed 18 of 35 passes for 218 yards.
It was the first multi-interception game for Phillips, who played six seasons for the Chargers before signing with the Patriots last year.
New England’s Damien Harris, looking for his third straight 100-yard rushing game, had 23 carries for 80 yards and a touchdown.
Chargers QB Justin Herbert was 18 of 35 for 223 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Los Angeles (4-3) has dropped two straight.
► Pittsburgh 15, (at) Cleveland 10: Ben Roethlisberger handed Cleveland yet another loss as Pittsburgh survived losing kicker Chris Boswell for the entire second half.
Roethlisberger threw a touchdown pass and rookie Najee Harris had an 8-yard TD run after halftime for the Steelers (4-3), who were handicapped by Boswell suffering a concussion on a blown trick play.
The Browns (4-4) had plenty of chances, but wide receiver Jarvis Landry had a costly fumble and then couldn’t handle two passes from Baker Mayfield in the final 6:04.
Roethlisberger improved to 24-3-1 in starts against the rival Browns, including 12-2-1 in Cleveland. The 38-year-old finished 22 of 34 for 266 yards – 193 in the second half when the Steelers had no margin for error.
Roethlisberger’s 2-yard TD pass – on fourth down – to tight end Pat Freiermuth put the Steelers up 15-10 with 11:04 left.
► Los Angeles Rams 38, (at) Houston 22: Matthew Stafford threw for 305 yards and three touchdowns in three quarters, and the Rams dominated the inept Texans.
It’s the fourth straight victory for the Rams (7-1) and the seventh loss in a row for the Texans (1-7), their longest skid since dropping the final 14 games of the 2013 season.
Stafford threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp with about 9½ minutes left in the third, lifting Los Angeles to a 31-0 lead.
Kupp caught seven balls for 115 yards and Darrell Henderson had 90 yards rushing and two TDs, one on the ground and one on a 3-yard reception in the first quarter.
Houston scored each of its points after Stafford left the game. Rookie Davis Mills passed for 310 yards and two touchdowns. Rex Burkhead had a 1-yard scoring run with about eight minutes left.
► (At) Buffalo 26, Miami 11: Buffalo’s Josh Allen shook off the rust from a bye week and a shaky first half to throw touchdown passes on consecutive second-half drives.
After managing just 100 yards net offense through Buffalo’s first possession of the third quarter, Allen found his rhythm in overseeing a pair of scoring drives which combined for 22 plays and covered 151 yards.
The Bills went ahead 10-3 in the third when Allen found a wide-open Gabriel Davis for an 8-yard touchdown reception. He then capped a 69-yard drive by hitting Stefon Diggs for a 19-yard TD.
Jordan Poyer sealed the victory by intercepting a pass Tua Tagovailoa sailed over the middle while facing third-and-26 from his 19 with 2:21 remaining.
The Bills (5-2) rebounded from a heartbreaking 34-31 loss to Tennessee on Oct. 18. Buffalo beat Miami for a series-record seventh consecutive time.
The Dolphins (1-7) have lost seven straight overall to match their longest skid since losing their first seven games of the 2019 season.
► Tennessee 34, (at) Indianapolis 31 (OT): Randy Bullock made a 44-yard field goal with 4:03 left in overtime, lifting Tennessee to the wild road win and control of the AFC South.
The teams combined for two touchdowns in the final 86 seconds of regulation. Colts quarterback Carson Wentz threw two interceptions in the final 71/2 minutes after throwing only one all season.
Tennessee (6-2) has won four straight overall to take a three-game lead in the division. Indianapolis (3-5) has lost three straight in the series – this one coming in improbable fashion.
Wentz passed for 231 yards and three TDs, but he was picked off by Kevin Byard with 5:48 left in overtime – setting up Bullock’s winning field goal.
A.J. Brown had 10 receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown for Tennessee. Derrick Henry finished with 68 yards rushing on 28 attempts.
► (At) Seattle 31, Jacksonville 7: Geno Smith ran for one score and threw a pair of touchdown passes to DK Metcalf, and the Seahawks stopped a three-game slide.
In what may be his final start while Russell Wilson recovers from finger surgery, Smith was terrific while picking apart the Jaguars defense for one of the best performances of his career.
Smith completed his first 14 passes in the longest streak to start a game in the NFL this season. He finished 20 of 24 for 195 yards, and his 83.3% completion percentage was a career best with at least 20 pass attempts.
Tyler Lockett had 12 catches for 142 yards for Seattle (3-5).
Jacksonville (1-6) avoided being shut out for only the fourth time in franchise history in the regular season on a short touchdown pass from Trevor Lawrence to Jamal Agnew with 1:49 remaining.
► (At) Denver 17, Washington 10: Justin Simmons and Denver’s defense held after a fumble gave Washington the ball back, and the Broncos blocked two field goals while stopping a four-game slide.
Melvin Gordon III caught a touchdown pass and ran for the go-ahead score from 7 yards out with 4:27 remaining. He also fumbled with 21 seconds to go, giving Washington the ball at the Denver 24-yard line.
The defense forced Taylor Heinicke to throw the ball out of the back of the end zone on the last play of the game.
It looked as if the game was over when Simmons picked off a desperation Heinicke pass in the end zone with around 37 seconds left. It was Simmons’ second interception of the game.
The last defensive stand prevented the first winless October for the Broncos (4-4) since 1967.
Heinicke passed for 270 yards and a touchdown for Washington (2-6).
► Carolina 18, (at) Atlanta 13: Zane Gonzalez kicked four field goals and Chuba Hubbard scored on a 6-yard run with 61/2 minutes remaining, helping the Panthers stop a four-game skid.
Carolina’s defense totally stuffed Matt Ryan and the Falcons, who managed just 213 yards total offense.
Ryan had one of the worst games of his career, throwing for just 146 yards with two interceptions. He was sacked three times and sustained a bloody cut on his non-throwing hand when a Panthers defender stepped on it, though Ryan didn’t miss any plays.
Atlanta (3-4) had won two straight games, but the Falcons squandered a chance to climb above .500 for the first time since 2017.
With his job on the line, Sam Darnold turned in a performance that was just good enough to win for Carolina (4-4). He threw for a mere 129 yards yards but made none of the glaring miscues that prompted speculation about how long he would remain the starter.
Darnold also rushed for 66 yards, but the last of those runs knocked him out of the game with a concussion in the fourth quarter.
► San Francisco 33, (at) Chicago 22: Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 322 yards and ran for two touchdowns, and San Francisco snapped a four-game losing streak.
Garoppolo led three touchdown drives in the second half and another possession that ended with a field goal. He scored from the 2 in the third quarter and ran it in from the 5 in the fourth to make it 30-22.
Deebo Samuel had six catches for 171 yards. That gave him 819 through seven games, breaking Hall of Famer Jerry Rice’s club record of 781 set in 1986.
Elijah Mitchell carried 18 times for 137 yards and a touchdown, helping San Francisco (3-4) win for the first time since beating both Detroit and Philadelphia on the road to start the season.
Chicago (3-5) played without top pass rusher Khalil Mack, who missed his first game since 2018 because of a foot injury. Coach Matt Nagy was away from the team after testing positive for COVID-19, and special teams coordinator Chris Tabor filled in for him.
Justin Fields threw for 175 yards and a touchdown. The rookie also ran for 103 yards and a score, becoming the first Bears QB to rush for 100 yards in a game since Bobby Douglass in 1973.