American Football

Question of the week: Is the Cowboys running game becoming a problem?


NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

With two consecutive lackluster weeks, the Cowboys rushing attack is starting to show problems.

The Cowboys beat the Eagles on Christmas Eve and did it in a fashion that had many impressed. Dak Prescott had perhaps his best game of the season and frankly, one of the better ones of his career. He had his first 300-yard passing game of the season and had more passing yards against the Eagles than any other quarterback this season. For this team to carry momentum into the postseason, the performance of Dak Prescott is as important as any player, so it was good to see a performance like that this late in the season.

In contrast to that, the offensive rushing attack had it’s worst game of the season, which is the exact opposite of ideal. Ezekiel Elliott ran the ball 16 times for 55 yards and Tony Pollard ran the ball nine times for 19 yards. Neither of them eclipsed 3.5 yards per carry. It is impossible to expect a stellar outing from both of them week after week, but the week before that against the Jaguars, neither of them eclipsed four yards per carry. All things considered and with the playoffs near, we ask: is the running game becoming a problem?

This is the exact time of the season when the running game needs to become the backbone of the offense. It is impossible to expect Dak Prescott to play as he did last week, completing 27 of 35 passes. The success of Elliott and Pollard are atop the priority list come playoff time. The one good thing about last week was how Dak Prescott was able to run the ball. He ran it six times for 41 yards, averaging almost seven yards per carry. If he can do that, it should open up a bit more for the running back duo that has been one of the league’s best this season.

The Cowboys have no easy task on deck having to travel to Tennessee to face the Titans, even if they have lost five straight, their run defense has played well the last few weeks. Three weeks ago, Travis Etienne averaged 1.9 yards per carry on 17 rushes. The week after that, the Chargers backfield averaged just over 3.7 yards per carry on 22 touches and most recently, they stifled the Texans backfield.

This is going to be a great test for a backfield that has been a bit of a slump. If they can get going against a team like the Titans, it should show the last two weeks to be just a bit of a fluke. Otherwise, this team is going to rely on Dak Prescott more than ever before, which could be dangerous come playoff time. Keep an eye on it this week, regardless the outcome of the game, let’s hope they can get back on track.

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