As soon as Tony Pollard crossed the goal line, it felt inevitable. The Cowboys’ backup running back had just made a remarkable play. Of course Twitter would bash Ezekiel Elliott.
That’s exactly what happened. Pollard took a juking, weaving 40-yard carry for a touchdown in the fourth quarter for Dallas against the 49ers. It was an impressive run viewed in a vacuum, a case of a second-year player showing off legitimate talent. When taken in tandem with Elliott’s surprise absence due to injury, it felt that much more significant.
Here’s the Pollard TD run:
Pollard wasn’t even supposed to start in Week 15 but finished with two touchdowns and 132 total yards. Elliott was expected to play after dealing with a calf injury during the week, but he was ruled inactive 90 minutes before kickoff, marking the first game he’s missed in his career due specifically to injury.
San Francisco’s stout run defense kept Pollard relatively quiet through three quarters, although he made a big impact as a receiver with six catches. But with Dallas clinging to a three-point lead, Pollard took off up the gut, evaded multiple defenders and found the end zone. It’s the third run of at least 40 yards in Pollard’s career after the Cowboys took him in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Memphis.
On paper, Pollard is in large contrast to Elliott, who’s a bigger runner that was given a $90-million contract extension before the 2019 season. With Dallas still not giving Dak Prescott a big-money deal, Elliott’s contract has come further under fire as he’s dealt with fumbling issues in 2020, too.
Regardless of what happens with Pollard and Elliott long-term, Pollard’s impressive scoring run Sunday was plenty for Twitter to insult Elliott.
THANK YOU, TONY POLLARD. HEY, YOU MAKE ME MISS ZEKE A WHOLE LOT LESS.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) December 20, 2020
And that folks is what Zeke can’t give you these days, a dazzling, tackle-breaking touchdown run for 40 yards. And just like that he has 12 carries for 69 yards and a TD
— Jean-Jacques Taylor (@JJT_Journalist) December 20, 2020
Tony Pollard has more games of 130+ yards this season than Ezekiel Elliott.
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) December 20, 2020