We know how this ends -- Prescott Wally Pipp'd Romo, who retired after the season to become a broadcaster.
But on Sept. 11, 2016, Prescott actually lost his first NFL start -- something that happened just three times during the regular season. On Sunday night, Prescott looked every bit the Cowboys' franchise quarterback and did what he couldn't do a year ago: beat the Giants in the regular-season opener, 19-3.
Of course, the Giants' offense didn't put up much of a fight. As was made painfully clear in the preseason, New York's offensive line is in shambles, the running game is suspect, and without Odell Beckham Jr. setting the tone, there was no guarantee that Brandon Marshall or Sterling Shepard or Evan Engram or even Eli Manning would be able to pick up the slack.
In the first half on Sunday night, Manning was 8 of 12 for a paltry 33 yards. Shepard had just three catches for 17 yards, and Engram and Marshall combined for exactly one catch for three yards. The Giants had the ball for just 9 minutes and 22 seconds, managed two first downs, were 0 for 5 on third downs and had 50 net yards. This goes a long way in explaining how the Cowboys jumped out to a 16-0 at the half and cruised to a 19-3 final score.
The flip side, of course, is that the Cowboys looked pretty good. And while we already knew about the offense -- Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott , Dez Bryant , Jason Witten and the league's best offensive line -- it was the defense that looked like a completely different unit.
This one play succinctly sums up Manning's evening
CBSSports.com's R.J. White summed things up nicely: "Eli's lineman do a better job blocking with their intros than blocking pass rushers."
Manning spent the rest of the evening trying to side-step would-be pass rushers, and when he was able to avoid getting hit, he was rushing throws to receivers who struggled to get open. Yes, it's only one week, and no, we shouldn't overreact to one bad game. But the warning signs were there during the preseason, and they were exacerbated Sunday night by the absence of Beckham.
Here's your silver lining, Giants fans
This defense is going to be very, very good. The problem is that unless the offense improves, it may not matter much. But New York's defensive line is a nightmare for opposing offenses, and if not for Prescott's mobility, the outcome may have been different (or, at the very least, the score closer).