The Cowboys rebounded from a crushing loss in week 10 with a nice road win in week 11. Dak Prescott, again, balled out and carried the offense to another stellar offensive day, throwing for 444 yards and three touchdowns en route to putting up 35 points on the scoreboard. Prescott has performed like an MVP candidate this season, ranking at or near the top of nearly every single quarterback statistic available.
There is no denying that the passing game has been the biggest factor for the Cowboys this season — and the reason why the Cowboys rank first in the NFL in total offense. That said, Ezekiel Elliott reached the end zone twice: once on the ground and another on a screen pass. Zeke was held to just 2.8 yards per carry on 16 rushes though, as well as losing a fumble on the second offensive play of the game.
The Cowboys have given more opportunities to the only rookie that is making any kind of real impact this season: fourth-round rookie running back Tony Pollard. The Memphis Tigers product has shown flashes of being a factor as both a receiver and as a runner. Sunday was no different.
With Kellen Moore and Co. putting more on his plate, the rookie responded in a major way. Pollard only carried the rock twice for a total of 12 yards, but the Cowboys utilized the back through the passing game: four catches for 44 yards and one touchdown.
The Cowboys lined Pollard out wide as a receiver on a third-and-5 play early in the second quarter. Dak Prescott was able to find Pollard wide open on a crossing route over the middle, and the rookie did the rest as he hit paydirt and put the Cowboys in the lead.
Pollard’s usage in the game plan has been inconsistent from week-to-week, but it is clear that he has been a factor in Cowboys wins. As Jeff Cavanaugh tweeted out on Monday, the Cowboys are a perfect 6-0 when Pollard sees the field for at least 13 snaps. On the flip side, Dallas is 0-4 when Pollard plays less than that:
When Tony Pollard had snap counts of 22, 16, 23, 19, 13, 13 Cowboys win.— Jeff Cavanaugh (@JC1053) November 19, 2019
When Tony Pollard had snap counts of 2, 5, 7, 3 Cowboys lose.#math
Pollard has seen his role change from being a runner (13 carries, 103 yards, one touchdowns versus the Miami Dolphins) to being a receiver out of the backfield (like his performance versus the Lions this past week). It is easy to see that Pollard offers versatility and adds another dimension to this offense.
Furthermore, the Cowboys go on the road to play the New England Patriots this week. It is no secret just how good the Patriots’ defense is, but there are some areas of weakness to attack — such as using two running back sets against their linebackers. Zeke should see the field a lot on Sunday, but there also needs to be a role for Pollard.
The fact of the matter is that the Cowboys 2019 draft class has been very underwhelming, especially when looking at the members outside of Pollard. For that reason, we are grouping the rest of the rookie class together.
- Trysten Hill: The second-round selection has been a healthy scratch for the majority of his rookie campaign. That did not change versus Detroit.
- Connor McGovern: The third-round offensive lineman was shut down for injury prior to the regular season.
- Joe Jackson: The fifth-rounder out of Miami has made the active roster this season, but he was inactive on Sunday.
- Donovan Wilson: The rookie safety out of Texas A&M saw some action versus the Lions with Jeff Heath sidelined with an injury. Wilson impressed during the preseason, but only saw the field for one defensive play versus the Lions. Detroit scored on that play.