The Dallas Cowboys were able to slam the door on the Miami Dolphins in the second half due to the combination of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Drama is nothing new for America’s Team. And though it’s been relatively quiet through the Dallas Cowboys‘ first three games of 2019, this offseason was a different story. And much of that drama focused on their running back position.
All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott held out of training camp and missed the preseason entirely due to his desire for a new contract extension. Despite having two years left on his rookie deal in Dallas, Elliott believed he deserved more. And Zeke appeared to be willing to miss regular-season games in order to get it.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, it never came to the latter as the organization and Elliott’s representatives were able to strike a deal done prior to the start of the regular season. Dallas inked Zeke to a new six-year, $90 million contract extension and the fourth-year running back was on the field Week One for the Cowboys matchup against the New York Giants.
During Elliott’s absence, it was fourth-round rookie running back Tony Pollard who was the beneficiary of the extra reps. The former Memphis Tiger was the Cowboys’ starting back during Zeke’s absence and looked good in the preseason. Yet, through his first two games as a professional, the 22-year old Pollard rushed for a total of 46 yards on 17 attempts, averaging just 2.7 yards per carry (YPC).
On Sunday afternoon against the winless Miami Dolphins, the Cowboys’ two running backs came together to do something that hadn’t been done since October 4, 1998. Both Elliott and Pollard recorded 100-yard rushing games each against the Dolphins.
Elliott posted a stat-line of 19 carries for 125 yards, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt against Miami. While the rookie Pollard ran the ball 13 times for 103 yards (7.9 YPC) and a score. Their combined efforts, particularly in the second half, helped to seal the game against the Dolphins, 31-6. As a result, the Cowboys are now 3-0.
The last time that kind of dual rushing performance was displayed by the Dallas Cowboys was back in 1998. In a Week Five matchup against the rival 0-5 Washington Redskins, the 3-2 Cowboys had two running backs go over 100-yards on the ground in a 31-10 victory on the road.
Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries for the Cowboys. While Smith’s backup, Chris Warren, racked up two scores and 104 rushing yards on just 14 attempts. It was Warren’s first-year in Dallas after spending his first eight seasons with the Seattle Seahawks.