It’s hard to say that teams are centered around one person. After watching the Dallas Cowboys the last three weeks, it’s pretty easy to say their offense has severely missed Ezekiel Elliott.
In the three games that Elliott has missed, the Cowboys have scored 22 total points. They have scored under 10 in all three of those games and lost all three. With Elliott on the field, they have scored no less then 17 in a game.
The numbers with and without Elliott say it all. Because teams don’t respect the Cowboys current run game, the play action passing game is nonexistent.
The Cowboys haven’t been able to use stars like Dez Bryant to move down the field with chunk plays. In turn, they are becoming stagnant on offense.
Dak Prescott with Elliott on the field has thrown for over 230 yards six times. In the three games without Elliott, he is averaging 166.7 yards per game. Teams no longer feel the need to stack the box, and it is hurting Prescott’s numbers.
Only one time in the first nine weeks was the Cowboys leading rusher under 80 yards. In two of the three weeks without Elliott, the Cowboys have been under 55 yards. The offense has scored just two touchdowns in 12 quarters without Elliott.
The biggest statistic is his quarterback rating. Prescott’s quarterback rating sits at a combined 66.7 in the three games, which is an average of 22.2 per game. He has also thrown zero touchdowns and five interceptions over that span.
The Cowboys have only three passing plays that have gone for at least 20 yards in the last three games. Because the Cowboys don’t have a strong passing game, having a decreasing rushing game has made it so that the Cowboys offense has struggled as a whole.
Offensive line injuries and struggles
Lingering and reoccurring injuries haven’t helped the Cowboys. Tyron Smith has been in and out of the lineup with a back and groin injury and finally got back into the lineup on Thanksgiving.
Not having consistent members on the offensive line creates a different level of uncertainty. They have been without La’el Collins for extended amounts of time and haven’t been able to practice with the same group of guys as often as years past.
The Dallas Cowboys need to get back to their offensive line of a few years ago if they want to continue their success. Having an offensive line that can block and give time to a quarterback as well as create holes and room for a running back is an extremely valuable asset to any team.
A quarterback and running back are only as good as their offensive line. In years past, the Cowboys have been in the top of the league in offensive line play. This season, they have had their ups and downs, and it has hurt their passing rushing production without Elliott.
The Cowboys don’t look great as of late. If they can figure out a solid ground game and establish it early, there is a solid chance that they will be competitive in future games. In the next three games (all without Elliott) the Cowboys opponents are 12-21.
It is possible that they could go 3-0 and beat two division rivals. They are good enough to win these games, but they have gone away from the things that have won them games. If they are looking to grab a Wild Card spot, they need to dig in and focus because they will have to operate without Elliott in more than half of their remaining games.
I think they finish the season at 8-8 and miss the playoffs, but they have the potential to go 5-0 and make the playoffs.
Featured Image from SI.com.
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