The Cowboys went on the road Monday night and won their second straight game without Dak Prescott. The defense was again dominant, and CeeDee Lamb finally looked the part as WR1 after his drop in the first half, but how about the running game?
The Cowboys' run game looked the part last night. Tony Pollard rushed for 105 yards on 13 carries, and Ezekiel Elliott had 73 yards on 15 carries and scored his first touchdown of the season
This was the first time I can remember that Kellen Moore showed trust in both of them for the entirety of the football game. The ground game finished with over 170 rushing yards, the recipe for success for Dallas.
Moore always seemed to have success early and get away from it, like week one against the Bucs when the game was very well within reach, but Dallas has won two in a row and is 2-1 on the season; that is what matters.
The Cowboys also felt Jason Peter's presence on the first snap as a Cowboy; Pollard broke free for a 46-yard run through a hole opened up between Peters and Tyler Smith, the left tackle. If the loss of Prescott has done anything, it has gotten Moore back to calling the football game based on the team's strength.
Lean on the run and let Rush make the throws needed to win football games.
I notice that when Prescott is behind center, Moore wants to try and let him throw the ball 50 times and not even look to run the ball. Running the ball this well opens up the play action, the tight end flanking out right or left for an easy 5-6 yard gain; teams will have to respect the run again due to the recent success of Elliott and Pollard.
What I love the most from yesterday is something I have been harping on repeatedly. The workload between Pollard and Elliott was split right down the middle. Both looked fresh, and you could see the burst coming from them.
They feed off each other, and the Cowboys have the luxury of having two running backs that could be at the top of a depth chart.
Let's credit Mike McCarthy and Moore; I'm the first to rag on them when they disappear from something successful. I won't say it had any significant impact, but after the extra time McCarthy spent with Moore going over the playbook, it seems those comments about Moore needing to be “smarter” with his play-calling have shown up, and I hope it stays that way.
I still believe going away from the running game was why the Cowboys could not grind out a win in week one. Even though it did not hurt them at the end, I would have preferred a run on third down near the end of the game to run off another 40 seconds of the play clock before giving the ball back to the Giants after the play ended out of bounds resulting in the clock stopping.
Let's hope it's caught on film and corrected.
Great team win from all phases of the football team; 2-and-1 is much better than most everyone thought they would be sitting with a chance to catch the struggling Commanders at home before hitting the most challenging part of the schedule.