The Dallas Cowboys identity for the last four seasons has been running the football and controlling the clock. Over the previous five weeks, All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott failed to reach 100 yards rushing. This marked the longest streak of Elliott’s career without going over the century mark.
The last three games specifically have been frustrating for Elliott who got off to fast starts in each, only to have 14 combined carries in the second half. Yesterday vs the Los Angeles Rams would be a test as they possessed the 12th ranked rushing defense, but Elliott came prepared to ace it.
From the outset of this game, it was clear that the gameplan was to establish the run, and Elliott led the charge. In the first half, he had 17 carries for 78 yards as the Cowboys stormed to a 28-7 lead. In the second half, in a game that was clearly a blowout, he added another 39 yards on seven carries. In total, Elliott rushed for 117 yards (160 all-purpose yards) and was the driving force behind a huge and much needed 44-21 win, the Cowboys first since Week 11. This was the 25th time in Elliott’s career he’s rushed for over 100 yards. The Cowboys are 21-4 in those games (5-1 this season). He is currently tied for the second-most games over 100 yards for all running backs in 2019.
What we saw yesterday is what the Cowboys do best. Let Elliott set the tone by continuously moving the chains and keep the opposing offense on ice, which the Cowboys did by possessing the ball for over 36 minutes.
This performance would also put Elliott in some elite company when it comes to Cowboys ball carriers. His 25th 100-yard game made him the third running back in franchise history to achieve that milestone, joining Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith (76) and Tony Dorsett (43).
Elliott had five 100 yard games in the first eight weeks but hadn’t had one since Week 9 vs the New York Giants. With the Cowboys being able to clinch the NFC East vs the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday, it was important to get Elliott back rolling considering the Eagles have the league’s third-best run defense. Hopefully, he can repeat his Week 7 performance when he ran for 111 yards and the Cowboys crushed the Eagles 37-10.
Now, the Cowboys have their lead horse going in the right direction ahead of the most important game of the season next week in Philadelphia. The formula for the Cowboys is simple, establish Elliott, build a lead and let him methodically beat teams into submission. If the Cowboys keep up this philosophy they’ll be making playoff plans with a week to spare.