The Dallas Cowboys beat the Chicago Bears handily on Sunday afternoon, exploding offensively as they won 49-29. The star of the day was Tony Pollard, who recorded 131 yards and three touchdowns on only 14 carries. Pollard got the lion's share of the snaps with Ezekiel Elliott missing the second game of his career due to a knee injury. It has reignited a long-standing debate among Cowboys faithful -- specifically, whether Pollard is better than Elliott at this point and if he should be the de facto starter.
It's a talking point that has raged for the last two or three seasons as Elliott has slowed down. He led the NFL in carries multiple years in a row and that sort of action takes its toll. Pollard is younger and more explosive due to the relative lack of mileage on his legs. But we don't know if he'd be as effective as Elliott in a leading role because the Cowboys have never given him a chance.
Pollard hasn't gotten his opportunity because Jerry Jones loves Elliott and has told anybody who will listen that the Cowboys go as Zeke goes. That was true in, like, 2017. Now that's not the case at all. The team goes as Dak Prescott goes. But Jones stands his ground, perhaps in part because the Cowboys still owe Elliott $50 million over the next four seasons thanks to the massive $90 million extension he signed in 2019.
Today was the best proof we've received so far that Dallas' offense is more threatening with Pollard back there than Elliott. But you can guess what Jones said after the game: the Cowboys still go as Zeke goes.
Nobody is advocating for the Cowboys to bench Elliott, cut or trade him or anything that drastic. But the bulk of the snaps should go to Pollard. Elliott has his uses but is only averaging 4.1 yards per carry on the season. Which is decent, but Pollard averages 5.6 yards per carry.
The time has come for Dallas to accept the inevitable: Pollard is just better. But the hopeful among the fanbase shouldn't hold their breath.