The Dallas Cowboys are currently experiencing an embarrassment of riches at the running back position. All-Pro Ezekiel Elliott just completed another excellent season with 1,357 yards and 12 touchdowns. However, he wasn’t the only ball carrier that made a splash in Dallas in 2019 as his counterpart, rookie Tony Pollard, showed that the Cowboys now have a two-headed monster in their backfield with unlimited potential.
Playing behind a runner the caliber of Elliott doesn’t come with a lot of opportunities to make an impact. He’s always going to get the lion’s share of the touches, and rightfully so. With that being said, the first-year man out of Memphis did a great job of being productive when his number was called.
Pollard had two games in particular that showcased just how dynamic of a player he really is. In a Week 3 matchup vs the Miami Dolphins, Pollard ran for 103 yards (128 all-purpose) on 13 carries and scored his first NFL touchdown. Added to Elliott’s 125 yards, they became the first duo to run for 100 yards in the same game for the Cowboys since 1998.
In a Week 15 blowout of the Los Angeles Rams, Pollard would again put on a show as he led the Cowboys rushing attack with 131 yards (career-high 143 all-purpose yards) on just 12 carries. Any running back that can share the same backfield as Elliott and have multiple 100-yard games on limited opportunities has to be given a salute.
The rookie also showed, albeit in a limited capacity, what he could do in the passing game as well. He caught 15 of the 20 passes (75%) that were thrown to him. It may not seem like much to some, but it’s encouraging to see a backup runner have this kind of chemistry with a franchise quarterback.
In total, Pollard produced 562 all-purpose yards on 101 touches. It will be interesting to see what first-year offensive coordinator Kellen Moore can do next season with Pollard. If he can produce these numbers with less than seven touches per game, imagine if he could get that number between 12 to 15, the possibilities would be endless.
Pollard is the perfect complement to a runner like Elliott. Elliott, to use a boxing analogy, is a body puncher. He’s going to constantly give you those five, six, and seven-yard gains until he eventually beats you into submission. Pollard, on the other hand, is a threat to take it to the end zone at any given time with his speed and athleticism. Quite the combo.
Not even the sky is the limit for what kind of player Tony Pollard can be. We got just a sample in 2019 but I’m sure that’ll change going forward, he’s too good not to put the ball in his hands, especially when it takes some of the load off of Ezekiel Elliott. We’ll all be looking to see what’s in store next for this unique talent.
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