The Dallas Cowboys haven’t been great in run blocking or defending against the run this year. This Sunday, against the Rams, they reversed this trend.
There was a lot to celebrate in the Dallas Cowboys’ win against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. The victory broke a three-game losing streak. Ezekiel Elliott dominated, playing perhaps his best game of the season, totaling 160 running and receiving yards, and scoring two touchdowns.
Tony Pollard was deployed to great effect, finally fulfilling the promise of a two-back offense. Pollard ran for 131 yards and had a touchdown. His play was electric all night, breaking tackles and sprinting for tons of yards.
Dallas’ gray-bearded legends also had a great game. The General (33-year old, two-time Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee) and yellow-jacket Witt, (37, future Hall-of-Famer, ten-time Pro Bowl tight end Jason Witten) both played key moments in this game.
Lee had an interception, and a sack in the same game for the first time in his career, both huge momentum swingers. And Witten’s touchdown came from an amazing one-handed catch.
All of that is true and was very entertaining. But someone smart once said that a football game often comes down to the battle of the pits, one offensive line versus the opposing defensive line.
This is where the Cowboys have had trouble all year. On the offensive side, the Cowboys line hasn’t been getting a push-off the line for most of the season. On the defensive side, though the team’s been getting sacks, they’ve often been weak in the middle and have been gouged for huge runs.
In this one game at least, that narrative was totally reversed. Dallas won the battle of the pits on both sides of the ball, and that’s a big part of why they won. In fact, if I was in charge of giving out the game balls, I would be very tempted to award this honor to Antwaun Woods and Xavier Su’a-Filo.
It’s not that they were the best players in the game, though Woods, in particular, was very good. The point is that these positions have been weaknesses for the Cowboys for much of the season, and both played solid football on Sunday.