Cowboys not getting much help from Ezekiel Elliott vs. Buccaneers
By Peter Panacy
Dak Prescott, not Ezekiel Elliott, has been responsible for carrying the Cowboys’ offensive efforts in Week 1 against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.
Good thing for the Dallas Cowboys that quarterback Dak Prescott has been on his game and then some on Thursday night for the 2021 regular-season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Running back Ezekiel Elliott, though? Not so much.
Granted, the Buccaneers’ carried-over run defense from a year ago is pretty good. This is the same unit, which retained all of its starters from last year’s Super Bowl season, that surrendered just over 80 rush yards per game last season, which was best in the NFL.
Still, Elliott needed to make a bigger impact in the game to both help his quarterback out and ensure Bucs quarterback Tom Brady and Co. weren’t on the field too much.
Unfortunately, Elliott was mostly a non-factor over the first two-plus quarters.
Cowboys offense has gone pass-happy with Ezekiel Elliott starting slow
It’s crazy to think Dallas called 32 first-half pass plays from Prescott in the wake of Elliott not taking over the game early. And considering the Cowboys’ questionable defensive depth was going to be tested in the heat and humidity of late-summer Florida, it might have been much more beneficial for the run game to get going.
Through Dallas’ first offensive drive in the third quarter, Elliott had just six attempts for a measly 11 yards, averaging less than 2 yards per attempt. He also added two catches for 6 yards, including a left-flat reception near the goal line where Elliott just couldn’t break a tackle and get into the end zone for the score.
The Cowboys had to settle for a field goal that drive instead of a touchdown that could have taken the lead over Tampa Bay.
It’s a good thing Dallas was able to ride the hot hand of Prescott during the first half.
But if the Cowboys want to pull off the road upset, there’s an awfully good chance Elliott will have to play a bigger role.