HONOLULU — Maintain composure, and don't turn this into a 'Zeke Elliott has something to worry about' type of situation, but Dallas Cowboys rookie running back Tony Pollard looked quite good in his second game of this NFL preseason. And perhaps most importantly, almost all of that impressive showing came after a Pollard mistake.
On the fourth play of the Cowboys opening drive -- which started at their own 3-yard line -- Pollard whiffed badly in pass protection, leading to a sack of quarterback Dak Prescott. It led to this knee-jerk take from yours truly:
But Pollard's response to the missed block was exactly what you'd want to see out of a young player. On the very next play, he took a rush off right guard 15 yards, to create a 3rd and manageable situation for the Cowboys, which they converted on a Prescott deep ball to Michael Gallup. (That was pretty, by the way... but this story is about Pollard. Stay focused, Mike.)
On the next snap, Pollard caught his one pass of the drive, picking up nine yards on a short pass to the right. He then carried for nine yards, two yards, before a Prescott-to-Jason Witten hook up got Dallas into the red zone.
And as soon as the Cowboys got into a compacted field, and needed to run the ball effectively to find paydirt, Pollard delivered, breaking a tackle as he crossed the line of scrimmage, putting his hand in the turf to keep his balance, and banging his way between two Rams defenders into the endzone for a 14-yard run that capped a 12-play, 97-yard touchdown drive, spanning 6:28.
Pollard accounted for 51 of those yards -- 42 on five carries, and the nine-yard reception. And then his day was done.
Yes, it's preseason. No, this means nothing about Zeke Elliott's contract negotiation. But it's assuredly a positive sign that the Cowboys may have hit on their fourth round draft pick, and may finally have a back that can help Elliott carry the load, when these games start to count.