2. The coaches are finally riding the hot hand
For the past four seasons, the Cowboys have made sure everyone knew Ezekiel Elliott was the top running back in their offense. They even seemed to get defensive when people suggested Tony Pollard should get the ball more often — even though they knew deep down inside this should happen.
Despite that knowledge, they went about it in the wrong way. This offseason, they experimented with Pollard at receiver as a way to get him on the field with Elliott. But then, Zeke got injured, paving the way for Pollard to put up 246 yards and four touchdowns in two games.
That’s changed the strategy a bit, as Pollard and Elliott each had 15 carries in their win over Minnesota, although No. 20 had another 109 yards and two touchdowns as a receiver. Then Pollard had 18 against 16 for Elliott in the Week 12 win over New York.
However, Pollard didn’t surpass Zeke in that one until the game was decided and they were running out the clock. While this might have been the case in the past, it was done for the right reasons against the G-Men.
Elliott was the more effective back, gaining 92 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. As for Pollard, he had 60 yards on 18 rushes — but the good news is that they were riding the hot hand. That’s happened two weeks in a row now, as the coaches are figuring out that having two good running backs in the coffer isn’t a problem after all.
There’s no reason it needs to be a competition between the two. They each have different styles, and while the Giants were focused on stopping Pollard and his explosive style, Elliott made them pay with his methodical and punishing style. That’s a recipe for success, and we should see it continue this weekend against Indy.