In an interesting turn of events, the Dallas Cowboys run game has gone from hot to not. A rushing attack lead by the two-headed monster of Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard has seriously simmered in recent weeks.

Before the bye week, the Cowboys had 5 of their 1st 6 games finish over 100 rushing yards. 2 over 200. Since then, they’ve gone over 100 yards 3 times, but haven’t had a 100 yard rusher since week 5.

Most of their rushing yards come way of plays like this.

There’s no one reason to why the running game has lagged. Really, there’s many to why. It can be condensed down to 3 key areas: the offensive line, injuries and play calling.

Offensive Line Play

The only starter on the offensive line to play every game to this point in the season is center Tyler Biadasz. Inconsistency on the offensive line will hurt any offense, but coordination between players on the line has a lot to do with how well the unit does.

It’s easy to look at who’s playing left guard, right tackle, etc. and throw blame their way. As a unit the team has seen all 7 different starting linemen play during this down stretch, and team’s no longer fear the run.

Nex Gen Stats shows that the Dallas Cowboys are running the majority of their run plays to the inside, when in fact they’ve had more success on the outside. These short runs have made the Cowboys a more one-dimensional offense in recent weeks.

A mixed bag of inconsistent blocking (and inconsistent bodies), added to the fact that teams are taking away the inside run has made Dallas’ rushing attack go from one of the best, to one of the worst. Not overall (ranked 6th), but is ranked 22nd since the bye.

Injuries in the Backfield

Injuries will hurt any position group. Not just offensive linemen. Tony Pollard has been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis and Ezekiel Elliott is playing though knee injury.

While Pollard could be on track to play, Elliott is clearly not himself, but has been persistent despite not looking like himself.

Corey Clement showed some needed burst in the running game versus Washington, which helped the Cowboys move the ball with the lack of a passing attack.

Even with Pollard coming back, it would be wise to give Clement some of Elliott’s carries. The Dallas Cowboys are going to need him in the playoffs, and playing through it is only hurting the team.

The Definition of Insanity

What’s the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result. Kellen Moore is a hot commodity among the next crop of head coaching candidates. A big reason has been his creative offenses to move the ball.

Recently, however, he has looked more like Jason Garrett than Sean McVay. The run plays have become stale and predictable. Dallas has run less outside zone (as mentioned before), there has been an abundance of running up the middle between the guards.

Even with pulling guards or fullbacks (guards), running it up the middle has become a forte. Up the middle is going to be part of the offense, but the numbers show running to the outside works. And running to the outside is what there needs to be more of.