Elliott got 29 touches for 240 yards and a touchdown. In a 26-24 win over the Detroit Lions, who were riding high after upsetting the New England Patriots, the Cowboys used Elliott to establish their identity. Strangely, they had gotten away Elliott, and his moderate workload from Weeks 1 to 3 was a monumental error by the Cowboys.
The Cowboys are 8-1 when Elliott has 25 carries or more during his three-year career. Give him the ball.
The Week 4 game plan was successful enough to squeak out a win. The 2-point margin of victory didn’t show just how significant their offensive improvements were. Because Elliott had his best game of the season, Dak Prescott also had his best game of the season with 255 passing yards and two touchdowns while completing 63 percent of his passes for a season-high 9.4 yards per attempt.
The Cowboys know Elliott is their most valuable offensive player. Why did he get just 18 touches in Week 1, a 16-8 loss to the Carolina Panthers were the game was in doubt throughout? Even when he was averaging 7.9 yards per carry against the Seattle Seahawks, he got just 16 carries (for a whopping 127 yards) in another game that was always competitive.
Naturally, they’ll have to pass the ball if they fall behind. The Cowboys, however, haven’t lost by more than a two-score game. It’s hard to stick to the run in a season when every quarterback looks like Dan Marino. But Prescott has been human among a 2018 group of quarterbacking Supermen. Dallas has got to be at peace with that, and run the football.
For the rest of the season, the Cowboys should plan to hand Zeke the ball roughly 25 times per game. They should also plan to throw Zeke the ball five times per game, at least. That’ll be their best way to win. He won’t blow up in the passing game every week like he did in Week 4. Still, his leading the team in receptions and receiving yards — like he did last week — is a good sign for the Cowboys offense. They don’t have better options than Elliott, not until Michael Gallup emerges as a legit No. 1 option.
The Cowboys’ blueprint for success is to take pressure of Prescott by putting all the weight on Elliott. During his career, he’s shown he can handle it.