Cooper Rush is off to a historic start in Dallas.
After leading the Cowboys to a 25-10 win over the Washington Commanders on Sunday afternoon, Rush is now the first quarterback in franchise history to win his first four games.
Rush stepped in for starter Dak Prescott after Prescott fractured his thumb during Dallas' season-opening loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since then, the 28-year-old longtime backup has led the Cowboys to three straight wins — and again looked solid on Sunday.
Rush went 15 of 27 for 223 yards and threw a pair of touchdowns in the win. His first was a 9-yard toss to Michael Gallup right before halftime, and his second came in the form of a 30-yard completion to CeeDee Lamb in the fourth quarter.
Rush’s 55.6% completion percentage was actually the worst he’s had so far this season as a starter, too.
Though their offense wasn’t great at times, Rush knows that “it’s always ugly sometimes” in the NFL. He was quick to credit the Cowboys' defense, too, which intercepted Carson Wentz twice in the win.
“They’re the reason we’re winning … they walk the walk,” Rush said, via the Cowboys’ Patrik Walker.
“Quarterback wins, they are what they are. But it’s nice to have a defense like this.”
Rush’s first win as a starter came last season against the Minnesota Vikings. He’s in elite company in reaching that 4-0 mark in the past two decades, too. Rush is just the sixth quarterback in that timeframe to go undefeated in his first four starts, joining Kyle Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Jimmy Garoppolo, Trevor Siemian and Ben Roethlisberger.
For someone who has been a backup essentially since he was signed out of Central Michigan in 2017, Rush is naturally thrilled.
"It's been huge. It's why you play the game," Rush said, via Fox4's Jeff Kolb. "Since you're a little kid you want to start in the NFL, so being able to do that for the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoons is pretty awesome."
So, is there a QB battle in Dallas?
As much as owner Jerry Jones might hope so, Rush’s performance still likely isn’t enough to spark a true quarterback battle in Dallas.
It's only a few games, after all.
What it does do, however, is buy Prescott more time in his recovery. With Rush going 3-0 in Prescott's absence, there's clearly no need to force Prescott back onto the field before he's ready.
Prescott, who underwent surgery on his thumb the day after his injury last month, has hinted that he may try and return for next week’s matchup against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium or the following week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Jones said Sunday that Prescott has to be able to show that he can grip and control the ball without any pain before he can return — something he isn’t sure if Prescott will be able to do by next week despite the “great progress” he’s seen.
"I can't give you anything medically," Jones said of Prescott, via The Dallas Morning News' Michael Gehlken. "I don't think anybody knows how he's going to grip the ball."
With Rush available, though, Jones isn’t too concerned. Prescott will return when he’s ready.
Until then, they're in good hands.
"[Rush has] got a lot of confidence in the offense that he knows where the cars are on the freeway," Jones said, via The Athletic's Jon Machota. "He gets a good ball to the receivers. They have confidence in him ... [His play] is far more than I could have ever expected."