The Dallas Cowboys are on a five-game winning streak as they take some much-needed time to recuperate during their week off. To reach 5-1 you can bet that many different players must have contributed to the overall success. But while names like Prescott, Elliott, Lamb, Parsons and Diggs might be easier to identify, they’re not the only ones who deserve a helping hand for their performance this season.
3. Osa Odighizuwa
The Dallas defensive line had its fair share of injuries early in the season with guys like Neville Gallimore, Dorance Armstrong and DeMarcus Lawrence missing a lot of time, but the presence and pressure of âDighâ in the middle was a revelation of the defensive tackle position.
Micah Parsons could get a lot of the rookie shine, and rightly so, but Odighizuwa isn’t far behind with his impact. In six games, he has 10 tackles, three sacks and 19 quarterback presses, per PFF. This is the third among the rookies, testing only Parsons and Odafe Oweh.
Odighizuwa’s impact has been undeniable, filling the void for expected impact players like Gallimore, who is set to return in the near future, and oft-forgotten Trysten Hill. Even when that help returns, however, expect Odighizuwa to keep playing, cementing himself as a third of the Dallas defense three-headed monster alongside Diggs and Parsons.
2. Dalton Schultz
Dalton Schultz became Dak Prescott’s safety cover in the first quarter of the season, totaling 31 catches and three touchdowns in the young season. In 2020, Schultz found himself propelled into the starting role following a season-ending knee injury for Blake Jarwin in Game 1.
Schultz’s 2020 has had its share of ups and downs, but he’s recorded 63 catches and four touchdowns in sixteen appearances. This means that Schutlz has already accounted for more than 49% of its total production in 2021.
More importantly, however, he managed to establish himself as the top target for Dak early on on the third down, with great results to boot.
Dalton Schultz has truly become one of Dak Prescott’s comfort targets. He trusts her.
Dak has targeted Schultz four times on the third down this season and converted all four third down chances.
– Bobby Belt (@BobbyBeltTX) September 28, 2021
However, not everything has been perfect for Schultz. He’s had his fair share of ugly falls, and his game against Carolina was almost the thing of nightmares, with one fumble being called off by examination, another very clear fumble being blown dead due to questionable stopped progression, and then a two. – point conversion dive that fell a few centimeters from the goal line. Three plays examined in the span of four passes thrown your way are quite remarkable.
Overall, Schultz ended the polarizing day with six catches for 58 yards and one touchdown, proving his QB’s confidence in him has never wavered despite the turmoil.
1. Tony Pollard
Tony Pollard’s âyangâ to Zeke’s âyingâ was invaluable to the Dallas offense. While Weeks 1 and 6 saw Dak throw 58 and 51 times respectively, Weeks 2-4 saw him average just under 27 assists per game. Throughout that streak, including the three-game home stand, the Dallas running game has come out very importantly.
Dak Prescott 5,335 passing yards
CeeDee Lamb 1,408 receiving yards
Amari Cooper 1,057 receiving yards
Dalton Schultz 1,017 receiving yards
Ezekiel Elliott 1,476 rushing yards
Tony Pollard 1,037 rushing yards
Who goes above, who goes below?
– Jeff Cavanaugh (@ JC1053) October 18, 2021
Over the course of five weeks, Pollard and Elliott were in the top 10 in league ground runs, and both were on the verge of passing 1,000 yards. Elliott accounted for 59% of Dallas’ total rushing attempts at 102, while Pollard recorded 61 attempts for 366 yards. That’s six yards per carry for the former Memphis running back.
Yards by race leaders this season:
1. Lamar Jackson, 6.1
2. Tony Pollard, 6.0
3. Chase Edmonds, 6.0
4. Nick Chubb, 5.8
5. Jalen hurts, 5.7
– Kyle Odegard (@Kyle_Odegard) October 18, 2021
Much of Elliott’s output this season has been Kellen Moore’s balanced use of Pollard, keeping his upper back fresher while maximizing his back-up explosiveness.
If Elliott had seen 20-25 runs per game like he has in previous years, returns likely would have started to decline, reducing the power of the Cowboys’ unstoppable attacking.