There’s no question that the Cowboys are off to a good start to the 2021 NFL season. The performance of several players has been key to the team going 3-1 and currently leading the NFC East. And when it comes to offense, this is due to the good start that two key players have had: quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
Now, what has influenced that both have had a good start in this campaign?
Let’s start with Prescott. After the first four weeks, Dak is the second-best pass-completion rate quarterback so far at 75.2%. This, it is worth noting, after completing 100 passes of 133 attempts. Only Kyler Murray (Cardinals) surpasses him with 76.1% (102 completed passes of 134 attempts).
In addition, Prescott is next to Tom Brady (Bucs) the third quarterback with the most passes for a touchdown so far, with 10. In that statistic, both are behind Matthew Stafford (Rams, 11) and Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs, 14).
– Talks With T-Time Podcast (@ TalkWithTTimeP1) October 3, 2021
This great start from Dak Prescott is due to several factors. The first, obviously, is the fact of returning after the serious ankle fracture that he suffered almost a year ago. Besides, the fact of finally having a contract extension with Dallas and the desire to succeed with the cowboy team are part of this. And, already on the field, the fact of having several key pieces in his offensive line again is also having a great influence.
However, Prescott also attributes his motivation to a factor that was missing last year: the presence of fans. The Cowboys crowd has been felt in these last two home games. Even last Sunday, a game in which little public was expected due to the game schedule.
“After a year like the last with COVID, where people could not come and enjoy the games, this is special”Prescott said in recent remarks. “It is special to have them back. It is special of them to have that energy, and I am grateful for it. “.
In fact, one of the anecdotes on Sunday occurred after the meeting. During the post-game press conference, Dallas fans were making themselves felt outside the room where Prescott was in front of the media.
Cowboys fans are pounding on the glass of news conference room like zoo exhibit signs say you’re not supposed to do. QB Dak Prescott: “For it being a noon game, they’re ready to go, huh?” pic.twitter.com/85Kmr1sScW
– Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) October 3, 2021
Dak Prescott had an entertaining postgame press conference after yesterday’s win. Cowboys fans pounded on the glass and cheered as he answered questions.
– Jon Machota (@jonmachota) October 4, 2021
Ezekiel Elliott is leaving good impressions
Now let’s talk about runner Ezekiel Elliott. After his first big performance of the season, expectations around Zeke are growing. And is not for less.
This past Sunday, Elliott completely destroyed the Panthers’ rushing defense, which had come from allowing only 135 yards rushing in three games. Only Elliott had 143 of Dallas’ 245 rushing yards that day, also scoring two touchdowns (one for reception and one for carry). This is the seventh-best running back per game record in the NFL, surpassing his 140 yards against Chicago in 2016.
But that is not all. Against Carolina, Elliott also had an impressive 47-yard rush in the third quarter of the game. According to Mike Leslie of the WFAA, this is Elliott’s third longest carry in the NFL. The other two were in 2016, his rookie year, against the Lions (55 yards) and the Bengals (60 yards).
WHAT A RUN BY EZEKIEL ELLIOTT!
FEED HIM 🍽#CARvsDAL
– Dallas Nation (@Dallas__Nation) October 3, 2021
Ezekiel Elliott’s 20-carry, 143-yard performance today marked his best rushing yardage output since November 11th of 2018, when he had 151 against the Eagles.
His 47-yard carry marked his longest run since his * rookie * year, when he had runs of 55 and 60 yards against DET & CIN.
– Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) October 4, 2021
After having the worst records of his career in 2020, Ezekiel Elliott was determined to have a great year. After working with private coach Joshua Hicks during the offseason, Elliott arrived at camp in great physical shape – lighter, faster and more defined. This has definitely influenced his good start to the season.
It’s true that Elliott has had a somewhat divided role thus far. Recall that Zeke was used as a blocker in the game against the Buccaneers, as the coaching staff decided not to waste time against the champions’ solid ground defense. Meanwhile, in the other games, offensive coordinator Kellen Moore has alternated the rushing attack between Elliott and Tony Pollard. There are even plays where Moore has used both.
NFL rushing leaders through Week 4:
– Derrick Henry, 510
– Nick Chubb, 362
– Joe Mixon, 353
– Ezekiel Elliott, 342
– David Montgomery, 309
– Alvin Kamara, 297
– Clyde Edwards-Helaire, 291
– Austin Ekeler, 283
– Lamar Jackson, 279
– Jonathan Taylor, 274
– RJ Ochoa (@rjochoa) October 5, 2021
Despite this, Elliott may have a great campaign. Currently, the Dallas running back ranks fourth in the NFL in rushing yards with 342 yards. Ahead of him are Derrick Henry (Titans) with 510, Nick Chubb (Browns) with 362 and Joe Mixon (Bengals) with 353. The racing title can be difficult to achieve due to Henry’s superlative level. However, Zeke could close the season near 1,500 yards.
It remains to be seen if Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott maintain the level they have shown thus far. If so, or if they even manage to overcome it, both will be key to a great Dallas season. Undoubtedly, expectations will continue to grow as the cowboy team continues to add victories.