FRISCO, Texas — The passing attack has been explosive for the Dallas Cowboys in 2023, to the point where Dak Prescott is a frontrunner for NFL MVP honors and CeeDee Lamb has shattered several franchise records — both things being true despite having not played in the fourth quarter on several occasions this season.
But what of the rushing attack, though?
It’s been much more up-and-down than the aerial counterpart, though not as poorly performing as narratives would have you believe, but also not up to the standard, as recently admitted by Tony Pollard; and getting on track against the Washington Commanders to close out the season was a welcome sight for all.
Rico Dowdle looked superb in his return from injury (5.1 yards per carry), and Pollard finished the evening with one of his stronger outings this season, and ran right past the 1,000-yard mark for the second year in a row.
"It's a big milestone for us, for myself and for the O-line," said the Pro Bowl running back. "I know they pride themselves in having a 1,000-yard back every year, so that was big for us, and to get that momentum going."
Pollard became only the sixth running back in Cowboys' history to have consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, joining the ranks of players like Calvin Hill, Tony Dorsett, DeMarco Murray, Ezekiel Elliott and the one and only Emmitt Smith.
It wasn't the best showing for the corps against the Lions one week prior, and some clean-up work was needed heading into the matchup against the Commanders.
"Just detailing everything a little bit more," said Pollard. "Taking our time and being a little bit more patient, and making sure everyone knew what they had to do and then going out there and executing."
As he noted, it pushes the rushing attack in the right direction, momentum-wise, as preparation now turns to hosting the Green Bay Packers on Super Wild Card Weekend.
It's a one-game season every week from here on out, and the Cowboys will need the rushing attack to be up to the task of helping both the passing attack and the defense (by way of time of possession) when called upon.
"In this league, it's something you have to do in the playoffs," Pollard said. "When it's December football and it's cold, and in January, you've gotta be able to pound the ball and be able to throw the ball [as well].
"Being able to show it [today] was big."