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Prescott, Cowboys wrap up NFC East with 27-20 win over Bucs

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Dak Prescott shared a brief hug with star running back Ezekiel Elliott after the Dallas quarterback kneeled twice to wrap up their second NFC East title in three seasons together.

The postgame celebration was equally muted after Prescott accounted for two touchdowns and Jaylon Smith returned a fumble 69 yards for a score in a 27-20 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Now it's on to something Prescott and Elliott couldn't do after an NFC-best 13 victories during their remarkable rookie year together in 2016: win a playoff game.

''We've got a lot more work to do,'' Prescott said after running for Dallas' first touchdown and throwing a 4-yard pass to Michael Gallup for the last. ''This is something that we set out, wanted to do way back in the offseason, and this is giving us a chance to go and get the greater goal.''

Smith's long return came after a scrambling Jameis Winston lost the ball on a blind-side sack by Randy Gregory, who also recovered a fumble to set up a touchdown for a 14-point lead late in the third quarter.

The Cowboys (9-6) clinched their third division title in five seasons a week after failing in their first chance with their first shutout loss in 15 years, 23-0 at Indianapolis.

It was a moment of redemption for Elliott, whose six-game suspension over domestic violence allegations last year came just as the Cowboys were playing their best. The ensuing three-game losing streak ultimately kept them out of the playoffs.

''We can't get comfortable,'' said Elliott, who had 85 yards rushing. ''We can't afford to take a week off next week. We've got to keep working and make sure we're ready for the playoffs.''

Winston threw for 336 yards in another prolific passing game for the Buccaneers (5-10), who outgained the Cowboys 383 yards to 232 but hurt themselves with turnovers and holding penalties. Tampa Bay's third straight loss clinched the franchise's fifth season of at least 10 losses in the past six years, a week after the Bucs were eliminated from postseason contention.

''It's frustrating to move the ball like that and not get touchdowns,'' coach Dirk Koetter said. ''Against good teams, that's what you're supposed to do.''

Smith's fumble return and Gregory's recovery at the Tampa Bay 4 helped a Dallas offense that wasn't sharp for a second straight week. Prescott was 20 of 25 but for just 161 yards.

Prescott ran 7 yards to cap the only lengthy Dallas touchdown drive, a 75-yarder. His toss to the rookie Gallup came after Gregory's recovery, which resulted from a botched exchange between Winston and receiver Bobo Wilson.

A play before that bad exchange in a seven-point game, Peyton Barber's 33-yard run was wiped out by one of four holding penalties against the Bucs.

Smith gave the Cowboys a 14-3 lead in the second quarter, scooping up the loose ball after Gregory hit Winston from behind and outrunning the Tampa Bay quarterback down the sideline for his first career touchdown.

The sprint was one of the best illustrations of Smith getting his speed back after the devastating knee injury in his final game at Notre Dame that sidelined him as a rookie with the Cowboys in 2016. For the first time this season, he's playing without a brace designed to offset nerve damage.

''I've been known as a sideline-to-sideline fast linebacker and athlete,'' Smith said. ''Had I run the 40 (at the NFL combine), I would have been somewhere in the 4.4s and all that good stuff. But it feels good to be able to open up like that again at the highest level.''

Winston's 7-yard pass to Mike Evans got the Bucs within a touchdown with 2:05 remaining, but Dallas linebacker Leighton Vander Esch recovered the onside kick. Evans had six catches for 90 yards, and Adam Humphries had 10 grabs for 79 yards.

With a chance to get within a touchdown earlier in the fourth quarter, Winston was stopped about half a yard short of the first down at the Dallas 1 on a fourth-down scramble.

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

The Cowboys could have clinched the division with a Philadelphia loss at home against Houston. The issue was already settled by the time Jake Elliott hit a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles a 32-30 win. ''I think it was mandatory for us to go out there and take care of it ourselves,'' Elliott said. ''Honestly, it just feels better.''

RUSHING RACE

Elliott, the NFL rushing leader by 98 yards over Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams coming in, is at 1,434 yards with what could be seen as a meaningless game at the Giants to finish the regular season. In a similar situation two years ago, Elliott didn't play at Philadelphia. His final carry Sunday was an 11-yarder for a first down that allowed Prescott to run out the clock.

CRAWFORD SCARE

Dallas defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford went to a hospital to have a neck injury evaluated after getting hurt on the second play of the game. Crawford's neck was stabilized on a stretcher with his facemask removed. The seventh-year player was moving his arms and legs before he was taken off the field.

The Cowboys said after the game that Crawford was released from the hospital and would be re-evaluated by the team's medical staff Monday.

UP NEXT

Buccaneers: Finale at home against Atlanta next Sunday.

Cowboys: Regular-season finale at the Giants next Sunday.

---

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

Key Players
J. Winston 3 QB
336 PaYds, PaTD, 14 RuYds
16
FPTS
D. Prescott 4 QB
161 PaYds, PaTD, 2 RuYds, RuTD
18
FPTS
Scoring Summary
4th Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 2:05
C.Santos extra point is GOOD Center-G.Sanborn Holder-B.Anger.
plays
yds
pos
20
27
Touchdown 2:12
J.Winston pass short right to M.Evans for 7 yards TOUCHDOWN
8
plays
71
yds
2:23
pos
19
27
3rd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 2:23
B.Maher extra point is GOOD Center-L.Ladouceur Holder-C.Jones.
plays
yds
pos
13
27
Touchdown 2:23
D.Prescott pass short right to M.Gallup for 4 yards TOUCHDOWN.
2
plays
4
yds
00:09
pos
13
26
Field Goal 3:44
B.Maher 20 yard field goal is GOOD Center-L.Ladouceur Holder-C.Jones.
12
plays
56
yds
6:59
pos
13
20
2nd Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 0:20
C.Santos extra point is GOOD Center-G.Sanborn Holder-B.Anger.
plays
yds
pos
13
17
Touchdown 0:20
J.Rodgers right guard for 2 yards TOUCHDOWN.
8
plays
75
yds
1:23
pos
12
17
Field Goal 1:48
B.Maher 59 yard field goal is GOOD Center-L.Ladouceur Holder-C.Jones.
4
plays
5
yds
00:26
pos
6
17
Field Goal 9:19
C.Santos 45 yard field goal is GOOD Center-G.Sanborn Holder-B.Anger.
14
plays
44
yds
7:28
pos
6
14
1st Quarter
No scoring this quarter
Point After TD 1:41
B.Maher extra point is GOOD Center-L.Ladouceur Holder-C.Jones.
plays
yds
pos
3
14
Touchdown 1:57
J.Winston sacked at DAL 36 for -2 yards (R.Gregory). FUMBLES (R.Gregory) [R.Gregory] RECOVERED by DAL-J.Smith at DAL 31. J.Smith for 69 yards TOUCHDOWN.
0
plays
0
yds
0:00
pos
3
13
Point After TD 7:07
B.Maher extra point is GOOD Center-L.Ladouceur Holder-C.Jones.
plays
yds
pos
3
7
Touchdown 7:12
D.Prescott left end for 7 yards TOUCHDOWN.
8
plays
75
yds
5:01
pos
3
6
Field Goal 12:12
C.Santos 37 yard field goal is GOOD Center-G.Sanborn Holder-B.Anger.
7
plays
45
yds
2:52
pos
3
0
Team Stats
Time of Pos 35:19 24:41
1st Downs 27 16
Rushing 1 6
Passing 19 9
Penalty 7 1
3rd Down Conv 4-13 3-9
4th Down Conv 1-2 0-0
Total Net Yards 383 232
Total Plays 75 50
Avg Gain 5.1 4.6
Net Yards Rushing 63 80
Rush Attempts 24 24
Avg Rush Yards 2.6 3.3
Net Yards Passing 320 152
Comp. - Att. 34-48 20-25
Yards Per Pass 6.7 6.1
Sacked - Yards Lost 3-16 1-9
Penalties - Yards 9-72 10-67
Touchdowns 2 3
Rushing TDs 1 1
Passing TDs 1 1
Other 0 1
Turnovers 2 0
Fumbles - Lost 2-2 1-0
Int. Thrown 0 0
Punts - Avg 2-44.5 4-41.5
Return Yards 69 33
Punts - Returns 0-0 1-13
Kickoffs - Returns 2-69 1-20
Int. - Returns 0-0 0-0
Kicking 4/5 5/5
Extra Points 2/2 3/3
Field Goals 2/3 2/2
Red Zone Eff. 2-4 -50% 2-3 -67%
Goal to Go Eff. 2-2 -100% 2-3 -67%
Safeties 0 0
1234T
Buccaneers 5-10 3100720
Cowboys 9-6 14310027
320 PASS YDS 152
63 RUSH YDS 80
383 TOTAL YDS 232
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
J. Winston 3 QB
16
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
70.8% 336 1 0 97.2
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
64.7% 2647 15 13 87.0
J. Winston 34/48 336 1 0 16
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
P. Barber 25 RB
5
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
17 43 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
219 805 5
P. Barber 17 43 0 8 5
J. Winston 3 QB
16
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 14 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
47 258 1
J. Winston 4 14 0 5 16
D. Jackson 11 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
1 4 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
6 29 1
D. Jackson 1 4 0 4 2
J. Rodgers 32 RB
11
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 2 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
30 103 1
J. Rodgers 2 2 1 2 11
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Evans 13 WR
15
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
10 6 90 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 80 1418 6
M. Evans 10 6 90 1 38 15
A. Humphries 10 WR
7
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
12 10 79 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 71 750 5
A. Humphries 12 10 79 0 16 7
J. Rodgers 32 RB
11
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
7 7 55 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 37 302 0
J. Rodgers 7 7 55 0 11 11
C. Godwin 12 WR
3
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 3 39 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 53 728 5
C. Godwin 6 3 39 0 20 3
B. Wilson 85 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 28 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 3 36 0
B. Wilson 3 2 28 0 25 2
D. Jackson 11 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 1 24 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 41 774 4
D. Jackson 4 1 24 0 24 2
P. Barber 25 RB
5
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 3 13 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 19 90 1
P. Barber 3 3 13 0 6 5
C. Brate 84 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 8 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 28 250 6
C. Brate 3 2 8 0 4 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
J. Whitehead 31 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
58-15 0 0.0
J. Whitehead 7-0 0.0 0 0
A. Adams 26 DB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
26-8 3 0.0
A. Adams 5-2 0.0 0 0
I. Johnson 39 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
37-7 1 0.0
I. Johnson 4-0 0.0 0 0
A. Taylor 53 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
4-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
37-16 1 1.0
A. Taylor 4-1 0.0 0 0
L. David 54 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
87-23 0 3.0
L. David 3-2 0.0 0 0
B. Grimes 24 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
37-6 0 0.0
B. Grimes 3-0 0.0 0 0
J. Pierre-Paul 90 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
44-10 0 11.0
J. Pierre-Paul 2-2 0.0 0 0
C. Davis 33 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
34-4 0 0.0
C. Davis 2-0 0.0 0 1
C. Nassib 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
22-7 0 6.0
C. Nassib 2-0 0.0 0 0
V. Vea 50 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
17-7 0 3.0
V. Vea 2-1 1.0 0 0
D. Harris 22 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
8-1 0 0.0
D. Harris 1-0 0.0 0 0
B. Allen 91 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
14-4 0 0.0
B. Allen 1-1 0.0 0 0
J. Elliott 35 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
17-2 1 0.0
J. Elliott 1-1 0.0 0 0
G. McCoy 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
14-10 0 6.0
G. McCoy 1-0 0.0 0 0
D. Bond 59 LB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
16-6 0 0.0
D. Bond 0-1 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
C. Santos 5 K
8
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
2/3 2/2
SEASON FG XP
12/16 20/21
C. Santos 2/3 45 2/2 8
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
B. Anger 9 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
2 51.0 0
SEASON NO AVG IN20
53 44.6 14
B. Anger 2 51.0 0 57
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
B. Wilson 85 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
2 34.5 38 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
7 27.6 38 0
B. Wilson 2 34.5 38 0
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
Passing CP/ATT YDS TD INT FPTS
D. Prescott 4 QB
18
FPTS
IN-GAME COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
80% 161 1 0 106.8
SEASON COMP% YDS TD INT RTG
68.3% 3498 18 8 94.7
D. Prescott 20/25 161 1 0 18
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG FPTS
E. Elliott 21 RB
10
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
18 85 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
304 1434 6
E. Elliott 18 85 0 17 10
D. Prescott 4 QB
18
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
4 2 1
SEASON ATT YDS TD
71 305 6
D. Prescott 4 2 1 7 18
R. Smith 45 RB
0
FPTS
IN-GAME ATT YDS TD
2 -7 0
SEASON ATT YDS TD
32 92 0
R. Smith 2 -7 0 -1 0
Receiving TAR REC YDS TD LG FPTS
M. Gallup 13 WR
11
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
4 3 53 1
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 30 457 2
M. Gallup 4 3 53 1 31 11
C. Beasley 11 WR
5
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
5 5 50 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 59 578 2
C. Beasley 5 5 50 0 13 5
E. Elliott 21 RB
10
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
6 5 24 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 77 567 3
E. Elliott 6 5 24 0 10 10
A. Cooper 19 WR
2
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
5 4 20 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 70 974 7
A. Cooper 5 4 20 0 11 2
B. Jarwin 89 TE
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
3 2 8 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 20 188 0
B. Jarwin 3 2 8 0 5 0
N. Brown 85 WR
0
FPTS
IN-GAME TGT REC YDS TD
2 1 6 0
SEASON TGT REC YDS TD
- 4 51 0
N. Brown 2 1 6 0 6 0
Defense T-A SACK INT FF
L. Vander Esch 55 OLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
11-4 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
99-32 2 0.0
L. Vander Esch 11-4 0.0 0 0
B. Jones 31 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
7-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
52-10 0 0.0
B. Jones 7-0 0.0 0 0
J. Lewis 27 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
6-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
10-2 1 0.0
J. Lewis 6-1 0.0 0 0
J. Smith 54 MLB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
5-5 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
77-39 0 4.0
J. Smith 5-5 0.0 0 0
X. Woods 25 FS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-3 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
36-17 2 0.0
X. Woods 3-3 0.0 0 0
M. Collins 96 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
3-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-6 0 3.0
M. Collins 3-0 1.0 0 0
A. Woods 99 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
13-19 0 1.0
A. Woods 2-1 0.0 0 0
D. Lawrence 90 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
40-21 1 9.0
D. Lawrence 2-1 1.0 0 0
J. Heath 38 SS
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
56-20 1 0.0
J. Heath 2-0 0.0 0 0
R. Gregory 94 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-0 0 1.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
16-3 0 6.0
R. Gregory 2-0 1.0 0 1
C. Awuzie 24 CB
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
2-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
55-11 0 0.0
C. Awuzie 2-1 0.0 0 0
T. Charlton 97 DE
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-4 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
11-10 0 1.0
T. Charlton 1-4 0.0 0 0
D. Ross 93 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
1-2 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
6-8 0 1.0
D. Ross 1-2 0.0 0 0
C. Reid 51 DT
IN-GAME T-A INT SACK
0-1 0 0.0
SEASON T-A INT SACK
4-3 0 0.0
C. Reid 0-1 0.0 0 0
Kicking FG LG XP PTS
B. Maher 2 K
9
FPTS
IN-GAME FG XP
2/2 3/3
SEASON FG XP
29/35 28/29
B. Maher 2/2 59 3/3 9
Punting NO AVG IN20 LG
C. Jones 6 P
IN-GAME NO AVG IN20
4 41.5 1
SEASON NO AVG IN20
57 44.8 15
C. Jones 4 41.5 1 48
Kickoff Returns NO AVG LG TD
Punt Returns NO AVG LG TD
C. Beasley 11 WR
5
FPTS
IN-GAME NO AVG LG TD
1 13.0 13 0
SEASON NO AVG LG TD
11 5.5 14 0
C. Beasley 1 13.0 13 0
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 TB 36 2:52 7 45 FG
7:07 TB 25 5:26 9 41 Fumble
1:41 TB 29 7:28 14 44 FG
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
7:05 TB 20 1:24 3 5 Punt
3:07 TB 15 0:59 3 -13 Punt
1:43 TB 25 1:23 8 75 TD
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
13:20 TB 36 2:40 7 30 FG Miss
3:41 TB 25 1:09 2 -19 Fumble
2:23 TB 25 9:35 17 73 Downs
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
4:28 TB 29 2:23 8 71 TD
1st POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
12:08 DAL 25 5:01 8 75 TD
2nd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
9:13 DAL 25 2:08 3 7 Punt
5:41 DAL 30 2:33 5 18 Punt
2:09 TB 46 0:26 4 5 FG
0:20 DAL 25 0:20 3 13 Half
3rd POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
15:00 DAL 18 1:40 3 5 Punt
10:40 DAL 42 6:59 12 56 FG
2:32 DAL 4 0:09 2 4 TD
4th POSS PLAYS YDS RESULT
7:48 DAL 2 3:20 8 29 Punt
2:05 TB 44 2:05 4 11 Game