MINNEAPOLIS - You know what's better than a sword? A sword and a sledgehammer. It's what running backs coach Skip Peete uses to describe the Dallas Cowboys running back tandem of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard, and the duo helped Dak Prescott obliterate the Minnesota Vikings in a 40-3 rout at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
It began with a heavy dose of Elliott, who returned this week from a knee sprain that sidelined him two games - the Cowboys calling Elliott's number on nearly every play during their opening offensive drive en route to a successful field goal from Brett Maher.
From there, it was a mix of both halfbacks and Pollard was also called upon as a receiving threat out of the backfield, and he delivered like the milkman - circa 1957.
"It felt good to get back out there, especially on a win like this," said Elliott after the blowout win in Minnesota. "We definitely needed this one, especially after last week, going against a good team in a hostile environment … to come in here and dominate in this fashion means a lot for this team. We're just looking to keep the ball rolling."
All told, Elliott looked dominant and, more importantly, completely healthy despite wearing a knee brace on his rehabbed knee. He'd go on to finish with two rushing touchdowns while Pollard piled on with 80 rushing yards, 109 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown; and it was all the Vikings could do to simply not take their helmets off and head home at halftime.
Mostly because, as electric as the duo was in the first half, things really got out of hand for Minnesota to open the third quarter onward.
"We know what our identity is," said Elliott.
That's saying the least.
"We just feel like as long as we can keep each other in and out - fresh on the field - to keep the defenses guessing, not knowing what to prepare for, we feel like we have the advantage," said Tony Pollard of the one-two punch at running back in Dallas."
Speaking of the aforementioned third quarter, that's when Pollard ran a wheel route out of the backfield, blowing past linebacker Jordan Hicks in the process, and reeling in a 68-yard catch and run for a walk-in touchdown to give the Cowboys a 30-3 lead with a lot of football left to play.
The Dallas offense as a whole couldn't be stopped, and in large part because the Vikings couldn't stop the ground attack.
"We found our formula: run the ball, pound the defense and dominate and try to slow the game down so our defense can go out there and do what they do."
But will opposing teams ever figure out just how fast Tony Pollard truly is?
It's not my problem," said a smiling Dak Prescott. "They should turn on the tape and check him out."