Prescott leads Cowboys vs. hurting Bears

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott celebrated his first career victory last Sunday with his teammates.

By the time the 23-year-old woke up the next morning, he was hungry for seconds.

“You've got to bounce back and got to prepare quick for the next team,” Prescott told reporters at the Cowboys' practice facility. “It's been all Chicago this week.”

That could be bad news for the Chicago Bears (0-2) as they prepare for a challenging road game on short rest. They will head south to face the Cowboys (1-1) in a prime-time matchup Sunday night.

Already, Prescott is making history as a replacement for injured starter Tony Romo. The 6-foot-2, 226-pound signal-caller from Mississippi State has thrown 75 passes without an interception in his first two NFL games. He broke the record held by Warren Moon, who started his career with 72 passes without an interception.

Not bad for a player whom the Cowboys selected in the fourth round of this year's draft at No. 135 overall. The Bears bypassed Prescott three times in the fourth round — selecting linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski, safety Deon Bush and cornerback Deiondre' Hall — before the Cowboys finally called his name.

Chicago general manager Ryan Pace might want a do-over heading into Week 3.

The Bears are riddled with injuries on both sides of the field, but no position hurts worse than quarterback. Eight-year veteran Brian Hoyer is expected to start against the Cowboys in place of Jay Cutler, who sprained his right thumb Monday and was forced to leave the game early because he could not grip the football.

Hoyer, 30, does not deliver nearly the same excitement level as Prescott provides in backing up Romo. However, the journeyman showed his competency Monday as he completed nine of 12 passes for 78 yards after replacing Cutler. He has thrown for 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions in his career, which also has included stops in New England, Arizona, Cleveland and Houston.

“Whether you're the starter or the backup or the third guy, you prepare every week like you're the starter,” said Hoyer, who is 15-11 in 26 career starts. “You may get a few more reps here and there, but that's the fact of being able to play at any time. Just prepare like you're going to play and take it one day at a time and come Sunday, we'll see what happens.”

Cutler has plenty of company on the Bears' injury report. The defense will play its first game without linebacker Lamarr Houston, who tore his ACL last week and is out for the season. Other key players who could miss the game include nose tackle Eddie Goldman (ankle), linebacker Danny Trevathan (thumb) and running back Ka'Deem Carey (hamstring).

Bears coach John Fox said his team could not afford to dwell on the injuries. The Bears are 2-0 at the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium since the facility opened in 2009. Their most recent victory came in 2012.

“Any time you have front-line players, obviously it's an issue,” Fox said. “They are front-line players for a reason. But if you look around the league, even going into Week 3, there are plenty of significant injuries to some star-caliber type players.

“It's the next man up. You don't have any choice. Nobody comes and rescues you. They're not going to cancel the game. So I don't get much into it.”

Comparatively speaking, the Cowboys are in better shape. The team is hoping for more from cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who has been plagued by hamstring injuries early in the season. Dallas' pass defense overall has struggled as the secondary has given up an average of 276.5 passing yards in its first two games.

However, a stellar offensive line has helped the Cowboys control time of possession and let the defense rest. Dallas is first in the NFL with eight drives that have chewed up five minutes or more.

Wide receiver Cole Beasley and tight end Jason Witten have combined for 25 catches, which is second-best in the league. The only tandem to make a bigger impact so far this season is New Orleans Saints wide receivers Willie Snead and Brandin Cooks, who have combined for 27 receptions.

Behind the offensive line, rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott has had an up-and-down start to the season. He has scored a rushing touchdown in each of his first two games. However, he was benched last week after fumbling twice against the Washington Redskins.

“I've never been benched before,” Elliott told the Dallas Morning News. “That's new to me. Just got to respond by going to work. That's all you can do.”