FRISCO, Texas – Back with three quick topics as the Cowboys (4-1) prepare for that extra “17th game” on the schedule up in Foxboro this Sunday:
- Yards Are Yards
- McCarthy’s Impact
- Something Special
I Know…Kellen Moore told us a month ago that “yards are yards, whether it’s run or pass.” Clearly, he meant it.
“If we need to throw it 60 times, if we need to run it 60 times, I really don’t care,” the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator said following the season-opening loss to Tampa Bay in which Dak Prescott tied a career high with 58 pass attempts while Ezekiel Elliott had only 11 carries for 33 yards.
“It’s a long season,” Moore cautioned. “Different matchups, different defensive schemes, we’re going to need Zeke to pound it. Could be this week. Could be the following week.”
How about the last four games?
In that stretch the Cowboys had 31, 41, 34 and 39 carries. Those 39 were a season high in last Sunday’s blowout win over the Giants.
With Zack Martin back at right guard after sitting out the opener, the offensive line has overpowered defenses. The result is the NFL’s No. 2 run game (172.8 YPG) featuring Elliott and Tony Pollard.
And as Elliott said following the Cowboys’ Week 3 win over Philadelphia, you can tell when a defense starts to wear down in the second half, especially when the offense uses tempo.
With Moore’s direction, the Cowboys have been the picture of balance on offense. They have the third-most rush attempts, 163, to quarterback Dak Prescott’s 165 pass attempts. And it’s not all clock-draining in the second half. More than half of the Cowboys’ carries (79 of 159) have been in the first and second quarter.
Sunday might be the most intriguing matchup yet. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is famous for eliminating an offense’s strengths, forcing them to play outside their comfort zone. A game plan the previous week might completely shift the next.
Will New England focus on the run, as Tampa Bay did, and put the game more on Prescott’s shoulders? (There’s risk in that, too.) Should be quite a chess match.
“As we go through this process through this week, we’re going have to do a really good job honing in our game plan and feeling very confident, but also understanding that adjustments may need to be applied throughout the game, and guys have got to be ready to adjust,” Moore said.