The Dallas Cowboys rode the coattails of Dak Prescott in their season opener as he had his fourth consecutive 400-yard performance in a full game dating back to last season. He had another good outing against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday completing 85.2% of his passes, but this would be a game for the Cowboys running backs Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard to shine, and did they ever.
Elliott didn't have much of a game running the football in Week 1 with just 33 yards on 11 carries going up against the best run defense over the last two seasons that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers possess. Instead, he put on a pass-blocking tutorial and kept Prescott with a clean pocket. However, on Sunday, Elliott got back to doing what he's known for and that's being an effective runner.
His 71 yards on 16 carries won't blow anyone away but Elliott looked very decisive with the football and hit holes with the speed we're accustomed to seeing from him. The two-time rushing champion also caught two passes for an additional 26 yards.
On the Cowboy's final drive that took 11 plays and ended with a game-winning 56-yard field goal by Greg Zuerlein, Elliott had five touches. He may have only gained 18 yards but he moved the chains twice on crucial third downs.
FEED ZEKE! 🍽#DALvsLAC | @EzekielElliott | 📺: Watch on CBS & NFL Network pic.twitter.com/PM62c5i4uV
It was a more balanced effort from the Cowboys with 27 pass plays and 31 runs plays in Week 2 as opposed to 58 passes to 18 runs in Week 1. Elliott spoke after the game about how the Cowboys can be effective on offense no matter what the situation is.
“I think we showed that today that we will have different game plans and we're going to take what the defense gives us,” Elliott said. “And if they load the box up, we are going to throw it on you. If you play coverage, we're going to run it. So you can pick your poison.”
As good as Elliott was the star of the game for the Cowboys was Pollard. He was involved in the game plan early and took full advantage with 109 yards rushing on 13 carries and added 31 yards on three receptions and a touchdown. Pollard's speed and explosiveness make him a threat to score every time he gets the ball and he's a nice change of pace from Elliott who is more of a body puncher to use a boxing analogy, meaning he wears you down slowly.
This was the third 100-yard game of Pollard's career and his first since his rookie season in 2019. He averaged 8.8 yards per touch on Sunday and for the season, albeit two games, he's averaging 7.7 yards per carry.
Pollard's running mate, Elliott, had nothing but praise for the performance of the former Memphis Tiger.
“He ran his tail off today,” Elliott said. “He's a great back, all-around, he can catch it, can run it. He's smaller, but he runs hard, he breaks a lot of tackles. He had a hell of a day, so I'm proud of him. I'm glad he went out there and did his thing.”
Incredible drive to start the game 🙌#DALvsLAC | 🎥 Watch now on CBS & @NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/IGR5wkbdFX
This isn't the first time Elliott and Pollard have had big games together. They ran for 100 yards in the same game twice in 2019. It's apparent that their styles complement each other well and it doesn't matter who has the bigger impact, as Pollard mentioned after the game.
“We just wanted to go with who was hot,” Pollard said. “We both feed off each other. So if he was hot, we would have went that way. It just turned out that way for this game.”
Elliott and Pollard can make a case for being the best one-two punch are running back in the NFL. Couple that with Prescott and a lethal passing attack the Cowboy's offense is a nightmare to deal with for any defense.