The Dallas Cowboys have simply been a different team at home than on the road this season.
Not only are they undefeated at home and winless on the road, but all the important numbers point to a stark contrast away from AT&T Stadium. That includes points, penalties and turnovers, which they blame on youth and poor communication in hostile environments.
It’s a trend that the Cowboys (3-3) say must stop when they play at the Washington Redskins (3-2) Sunday.
“We need to. I think it’s absolutely mandatory that we do,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “That’s our focus this week is going into this game, having great communication and starting fast, putting points on the board.”
The Cowboys are confident they can finally turn the corner on the road because of the breakthrough offense performance they had in last Sunday’s 40-7 victory against the Jaguars.
While the defense has played well throughout the season, the offense has struggled even in wins. But the season-high point-total was a much-needed morale booster the Cowboys must build on, Elliott said.
“It was a game we needed,” Elliott said. “I’ve said it before – if we don’t build on it, everything we did last week really means nothing.”
Elliot said the key for the Cowboys in duplicating the success is communication.
“We’ve got to make sure we’re on the same page,” he said. “When we’re all on the same page and got all our assignments down then we’ll be in a good spot.”
Another obvious key is getting the running game going with Elliott and quarterback Dak Prescott, as they did last week against Jacksonville.
Elliott had 24 carries for 106 yards and a touchdown. Prescott had 11 carries for a career-high 82 yards and a touchdown, as the Cowboys made the Jaguars pay for focusing on Elliott with the zone read.
“Last week their game plan was to take away the running back run so I mean if you take away the RB you have to contain 4,” Elliott said. “I think it’s probably easier to take away the keep and let me get it honestly but you know, it does help. It definitely does and it helps also in the pass game where you can get outside the pocket and I mean he had that one run late where everyone thought he was sacked and he ended up having (26-yard run).”
Elliott said the Cowboys have zone-read and QB running plays in the game plan every week. But how much Prescott runs depends on how teams play it.
”Some weeks you’re going to see, it may look like we have more running plays for Dak but honestly the game plan,” Elliott said. “It depends on how the defense game plans. Every week we have zone read in. Every week. So I mean some teams are going to make him and the ball off, some teams are going to make him keep it. It just depends on what the defense shows you, what you’re going to get that week.”
Historically, both Elliott and Prescott have done a good job marching on Washington. Prescott has never lost to the Redskins. He has a 4-0 record the past two years with three touchdowns, no interceptions and a quarterback rating of 97. He also has 89 yards rushing and two touchdowns on the ground.
Elliott, the league’s second-leading rusher with 586 yards, has scored more rushing touchdowns (5) against the Redskins than any other opponent. He rushed for 150 yards on 33 carries and two touchdowns in a victory at Washington last season.
Clarence E. Hill Jr. :@clarencehilljr
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