ARLINGTON, TX — Slowly but surely, the Dallas Cowboys rushing attack is beginning to find its legs in 2023. In the 49-17 demolition of the New York Giants in Week 10, both Tony Pollard and Rico Dowdle were able to move the chains on more than one occasion, and the latter had his best day of his still fairly young NFL career.
Dowdle rattled off 79 rushing yards on 12 carries to the tune of 6.6 yards per carry, and added a touchdown to his bottom line for good measure.
"It means a lot," he said after the game. "Just to get out there and get opportunities to show what I can do. That's all I've always wanted."
The 25-year-old has fought through plenty of adversity to make it to this point, clawing his way into the NFL as an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina in 2020, then suffering injuries that cost him valuable reps as RB3 behind Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard.
Finally completely healthy, Dowdle hit the ground running in training camp to prove himself ready for the RB2 role behind Pollard.
"All of us in the backfield are different backs, and [Tony and I] both have potential to break big plays," said Dowdle. "We complement [each other] real well."
And how would Dowdle describe his running style? Is it bully ball? Or more fueled by quickness and finesse??
In his opinion, it's … C. All of the above.
"Different, I'm just me," he said. "I've got it all. … It's something I've always put pride [into] — being a physical back, a strong runner downhill that goes north and south. I also have the ability to make guys miss in space as well."
As the season rolls along, it's about continuing to build to help what's become an explosive offense in Dallas, largely due to the electric play of Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, Jake Ferguson and, now, Brandin Cooks.
"We're just a bunch of ball players making plays for the team," said Dowdle. "It's complementary football. Gotta be able to run it. Gotta be able to pass it.
"And when it's all working well, we'll be working well, so we've definitely gotta have it. … It's just all about staying consistent, at this point. I've always felt that, each year, I put the work in to go out there and be able to play."
This past Sunday also marked the first time in his short career that he's reached the end zone, and he unveiled a celebration he's been waiting for a long time to show the world.
"I've been wanting to do that forever," he said with a smile.
It was his first, yes, but nothing indicates it'll be his last, with plenty more of those coveted opportunities to come over the next eight regular season games and then, likely, the playoffs.