Although the Dallas Cowboys ended the season in the NFL in both total yards (6,919) and yards per game (407.0), there is no denying that the game had problems since the middle of the season. Although Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard both struggled with injuries and have an excuse, the pair do not produce as they did at the start of the season.
However, the Cowboys continued to stress the importance of the run game on the way to the playoffs. The problem is that their opponent in the first round in the San Francisco 49ers has one of the fastest-growing defenses in the league. Nines are the seventh best in the total number of yards allowed.
The bigger problem is that in San Francisco, the swarm of D improved at the end of the season. The average 49ers per game allowed in 2021 is 103.5. But in the last three games, the average was 80.0 yards, and specifically against the Rams it was only 64.0 yards.
That doesn’t bode well for the Cowboys, which are trying to find an escape. And these particular statistics will not help. Dallas is 9-0 this season when the team has at least 30 quick attempts. When they rush less than 30 times, they are 3-5.
Cowboys rushing game stat can be problematic against a strong 49ers run defense
So, what does it all mean? This means that the Cowboys cannot rely solely on Dak Prescott and his arm, although San Francisco will remain faithful soon.
Yes, Prescott should use the fighting 49ers’ secondary to get some deep punches or high-up touchdown grabs. However, if the running game can’t find the rhythm and the team can only relying on Prescott’s arm, the numbers show that it will not turn out well for the American team.
If attack Cowboys can have versatility by creating success on the ground and San Francisco will have a lot of problems in the air. If Dallas goes there and tries to just rush or just throw, it won’t end well – and San Francisco is definitely determined to make Dallas one-dimensional. A strong, eclectic game plan from Kellen Moore is necessary in the face of this challenge.
Fortunately, Pollard rested in the 18th week, which should mean that he and his leg are ready to go. Elliott also told the press that his knee “feels strong” and is no longer stiff, which is also a great sign. Both of these rusters need to have star games to run the game.
The operation of all parts of the attack is clearly the key to the Cowboys’ victories. Will they be able to do all this on Sunday?