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Panthers lose first game of season to Prescott, Cowboys

Elliott finished with 143 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries as the Cowboys (3-1) rolled up 245 yards on the ground after the Panthers allowed just 135 total in the first three games.
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold walks to the sideline as Dallas Cowboys' Trevon Diggs...
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold walks to the sideline as Dallas Cowboys' Trevon Diggs (7) celebrates intercepting Darnold's pass in the second half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)(Michael Ainsworth | AP)
Published: Oct. 3, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
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ARLINGTON, TX. (AP/WBTV)— Dak Prescott threw four touchdown passes, Ezekiel Elliott had his first 100-yard rushing game of the season against the NFL’s No. 1 defense and the Dallas Cowboys beat the Carolina Panthers 36-28 on Sunday.

Elliott finished with 143 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries as the Cowboys (3-1) rolled up 245 yards on the ground after the Panthers (3-1) allowed just 135 total in the first three games.

It was Carolina’s first loss of the season after starting the year with a 3-0 record.

Leading the Panthers in their first full game without injured star running back Christian McCaffrey, Sam Darnold had two rushing touchdowns to become the first quarterback in NFL history with at least five TDs on the ground in the first four games. He finished 26 of 39 passing for 301 yards and a passing touchdown.

Carolina kept it close with the Cowboys, holding a 14-13 lead at the end of the first half but a missed fumble call on Dallas in the second quarter and a missed 54-yard field goal by Zane Gonzalez proved costly for the Panthers. The Cowboys went on to score 23 unanswered points to take a 36-14 lead in the fourth quarter.

Cornerback Trevon Diggs, who’s had an interception in all four games this season, picked off Darnold twice while Dallas ran up the score.

Carolina did score back-to-back touchdowns, though, late in the game thanks to Darnold connecting with wide receiver DJ Moore but it wasn’t enough.

Moore finished the game with 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns, and running back Chuba Hubbard, who started in place of McCaffrey, had 57 rushing yards on 13 carries.

The Panthers offensive line was a big part of the loss as they allowed Darnold to be sacked five times.

Carolina faces the Philadelphia Eagles at home next Sunday.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.