Tony Pollard hauls Cowboys to win with first 3-touchdown game

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Tony Pollard wasn't bragging when he said last week that if the Dallas Cowboys' coaches "call it, I'm going to haul it."

He first heard the phrase in a team meeting last week from tight ends coach Lunda Wells and, "it felt like it was a good spot to use it."

In Sunday's 49-29 victory over the Chicago Bears, the coaches called it, and Pollard hauled it while filling in for an injured Ezekiel Elliott, setting a career high in touchdowns (three) and equaling his career highs in carries (14) and rushing yards (131).

"He went out there and backed those words up," quarterback Dak Prescott said. "That's who he is, honestly. Him saying that statement is not about, 'Hey, give me 30 carries so I can show you.' It's, 'Hey, whatever Coach calls for me to do, I'm going to do it to the best of my ability.' Whether that's spelling Zeke in the past just in the run game or going out there and taking the starting role ... He's a playmaker. He's a weapon, and we'll continue to use him. He's just great for this offense and this team."

Pollard became the first Cowboys running back with at least 100 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns in the same game since Julius Jones. On Dec. 6, 2004, Jones ran for 198 yards and three scores on 30 carries in a win against the Seattle Seahawks.

Pollard became the first player with at least 130 yards and three touchdowns on fewer than 15 carries since the Carolina Panthers' Tim Biakabutuka in 1999.

"It was big, just to show I can maximize the opportunities," Pollard said. "Just showing that I was ready."

Pollard's touchdown runs of 18, 7 and 54 yards came after Bears touchdown drives that had cut the Dallas lead to 14-7, 28-23 and 42-29.

"We look at Tony as a one and Zeke as a one," coach Mike McCarthy said. "We're very fortunate to have this duo of backs. We prepare that way. We scheme that way. Tony just took the lead spot and we planned on; the goal was to get him around 20 carries. Frankly if the game would have gone a different direction, he could've gone to 30 ... Tony is a very disciplined runner and he's got the home run speed. His ability to run inside the tackles, but then when he gets on the perimeter, he's dangerous because he breaks tackles, and he can finish the run. I thought Tony Pollard played the way he always does; he just had more opportunities today."

Elliott was the least surprised by Pollard's production.

"I know exactly what Tony is capable of," Elliott said. "Yeah, he's an explosive back. He's physical too. He can do everything. So, I'm proud of Tony and, s---, we got to keep this thing going."

Elliott said his hyperextended right knee was feeling much improved and next week's bye should help him return for the Nov. 13 meeting against the Green Bay Packers. Seeing Pollard excel had Elliott wanting to play.

"It got me ready to be back out there. I was like, dang, that thing ready yet?" Elliott joked, grabbing his knee. "Shoot, today was a good day."

Especially for Pollard, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season.

His 54-yard touchdown run came on third-and-1 in the fourth quarter.

"It was basically a loaded box. They had a bunch of guys inside, so we wanted to hit them with an outside run," Pollard said. "We did a good job of getting the defenders to bite inside and then we bounced it and were able to hit a big one."

It was the third rushing touchdown of at least 50 yards in his career. Only Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith, who was in attendance as the Cowboys marked his 20th anniversary of setting the NFL rushing record, and Tony Dorsett have more in team history with six.

His three runs of at least 40 yards are tied with Travis Etienne Jr. of the Jacksonville Jaguars for the most in the NFL this season.

"We've got two backs who can do it all, and it makes defenses have to think and worry about all the other stuff going on too," All-Pro right guard Zack Martin said. "We still have a lot of work to do, but we did take a step offensively, and it was good to see."