Dallas Cowboys find the formula for Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

For the past two seasons, fans have been clamoring for the Dallas Cowboys to get Tony Pollard more involved in the offense. Due to injury and the declining efficiency of Ezekiel Elliott, the Cowboys have done just that.

Over his last three games, Pollard has shown why fans have been so adamant about him receiving more opportunities. Since week 8 (week 9 bye), TP has a combined 469 scrimmage yards and 6 touchdowns on 53 touches.

In comparison, Ezekiel Elliott has 45 touches adding up to 190 scrimmage yards and 5 touchdowns over his last three games . The question now is, have Zeke and TP’s roles changed for good?

Dallas Cowboys force-feed Zeke early in the season

Prior to Elliott’s 2-game absence due to a leg injury, the Dallas Cowboys were determined to give their $90-million dollar running back every opportunity to succeed.

Before missing weeks 8 and 10 (with a week 9 bye in between), Elliott led the duo in touches with a 60-40 split.

Zeke carried the ball109 times for 443 yards and 4 touchdowns while adding 6 receptions for 32 yards. On the other hand, Pollard had 67 attempts for 495 yards and 2 touchdowns while notching 11 receptions for 105 yards.

Tony Pollard seizes the opportunity on the Dallas Cowboys

With Elliott sidelined weeks 8 and 10, Tony (Pollard) was tasked with the duty of being the Cowboys’ lead-back. In those two weeks, Pollard wasted little effort as he posted 275 total yards and 4 touchdowns on 40 touches.

In week 8, the Cowboys faced a poor run defense in the Chicago Bears. Pollard took full advantage and went on to post 131 rushing yards on 14 attempts (9.4 Y/A) and 3 touchdowns.

Coming off a bye in week 10, Pollard again took advantage of a subpar run defense and posted 115 yards rushing and a touchdown on 22 carries (5.2Y/A) in Dallas’ overtime loss to the Packers.

The Dallas Cowboys finally find the formula for using both Zeke and TP

Coming into the week fans were curious to see if Pollard would supplant Elliott as the starter considering his elite performance over the previous two weeks.

To many fans’ dismay, it was Elliott who would get the nod to start the game in Minnesota. Zeke received all three carries for the Cowboys during their opening drive, totaling 13 yards. The drive ended in a Brett Maher 27-yard field goal.

It didn’t take long for Pollard to get involved as he was given five carries during the Cowboys’ second drive. This included one carry that went for 18 yards and another that went for 20. TP was also given two attempts inside the 3-yard line but failed to punch it in. After two straight failed attempts inside the 3-yard line, fans (including myself) were yelling to utilize the strengths of each back and to bring in Elliott on the goal line.

The Dallas Cowboys must of heard and smartened up because they brought Zeke in on 3rd and goal from the Minnesota 1 to punch it in for six points.

From that point on, Dallas never looked back as the duo went on to combine for 236 scrimmage yards on 37 touches while adding 2 touchdowns a piece.

Some will say that their combined stats are misleading as Pollard did most of the heavy lifting with 57% of the touches and 80% of the yardage. Although that may be true, Elliott was the one who punched it in after 2 failed attempts inside the 5-yard line by TP in the first quarter. Again, he found the endzone during the 3rd quarter from the 1-yard line to put Dallas up 37-3. Also, Zeke had a crucial 1st down right before the half that helped put the Cowboys up 20-3.

Say what you will about Elliott’s overall efficiency compared to his contract, but both he and Pollard deserve a role in this offense. This win over the Vikings just might have helped the Dallas Cowboys find the winning formula when it comes to utilizing both Elliott and Pollard and their respective attributes.

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How would you like to see this duo moving forward?