Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott throws for 403 yards and 3 TDs in 1st game in 11 months

TAMPA (Fla.) -- Everyone associated with the Dallas Cowboys believed that Dak Prescott would be Dak Prescott in the season opener 2021.
They were correct, but it was not enough to defeat Tom Brady and the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With just two seconds remaining on Thursday night, the Cowboys were defeated by Ryan Succop's 36-yard field goal.

Prescott's play was remarkable, even if it wasn't surprising considering that it was his first action in live action in over 11 months after a dislocation of his right ankle and a compound fracture to his right ankle. He also had just returned from a training camp where he was restricted by a strained ligamentismus muscle in his right shoulder.

The Cowboys were in position to kick Greg Zuerlein's goal at 48 yards with 1:44 to go. CeeDee Lamb completed the 31-yard pass to CeeDee Lamb, who was on the third and eleventh yard. Brady responded to Prescott's greatness by answering his own.

Prescott ended with 403 yards. This was his career record in completions (42), and a career-high attempt count (58). He also had three touchdown passes, one interception, and a career-high number of attempts (58). This was his eighth game with at least 400 yards passing and his fourth in six previous starts.

This much may not be the Cowboys' best strategy. Prescott is now at 4-11 and can throw 40 passes or more in a single game.

At 5:54 p.m. ET Prescott made his debut on the field at 5:54 p.m. He could not stay still during pregame warmups. He walked side-by side glad-handing his teammates and consuming nervous energy.

He looked exactly the same as he did in 2020 when he was healthy after the game began.

In the first half, he attempted a personal record 32 passes. Only one quarterback attempted more passes in the first half of last season than he did: Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs, had 33 against Buccaneers in Week 12. He had 47 passes attempted by the time he reached the end of the third quarter. This was his highest number in three quarters since Aaron Rodgers' Week 7 game against the Chicago Bears 2016, when Mike McCarthy was Green Bay Packers' head coach.

Amari Cooper was Amari Cooper's first completion, which went for 28 yards. Prescott responded to the Buccaneers' 7-0 lead after a 94 yard drive. He completed seven passes for 75 yards. The culmination of his double-move was a 22-yard touchdown pass from Lamb.

He threw his second touchdown pass to Cooper in the second quarter. He took a snap from Tyler Biadasz, and then calmly fired a pass to Cooper to the pylon. Prescott ran his first 7-yard run on the previous play. It was a broken play.

Prescott proved that he was still able to take a hit on the third play in the second half. He was hammered by Ndamukong Suh when he completed a first down pass to Cooper, which ended in a field goal. Kellen Moore, the offensive coordinator, called for a quarterback goal to-goal pass for Prescott on that drive. He was able evade the Buccaneers' pressure.

Only once was he fired on a night that the Cowboys didn't have their best offensive lineman Zack Martin, right guard, who is on the COVID-19 reserve list.

When Lamb made a deep throw, he was intercepted by Carlton Davis.

Dak Prescott, Cowboys quarterback, attempted a record 32 passes in Thursday's first half loss to the Buccaneers. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Prescott overcome two holding penalties by his line to set up Zuerlein’s kick. He then found Lamb for his longest pass and hit Cooper for a 10-yard gain that put the Cowboys within field goal range.

Prescott's night was in many ways a mirror of 2020. He put up huge numbers, but the Cowboys lost regardless with the defense unable o protect Brady's heroics.

He attempted at least 39 passes in the four first full games. In Weeks 2 through 4, he threw for 502, 472 and 450 yards. He also had eight touchdowns and three interceptions. His season against the New York Giants ended on October 11, 2020. He was on pace for throwing more than 6,000 yards before he was hurt.

After being injured, he underwent two surgeries, received hours of rehabilitation, signed a $160million contract in March, and was constantly questioned about his shoulder following his July 28 surgery.

Every question he answered was on Thursday, even though he and the Cowboys had never had one.