Thanksgiving week is often used as a time to get together with familiar friends after a prolonged absence. Tony Pollard will be busy this week, so he got such celebrations started a bit earlier.

The Dallas Cowboys' primary running back got together with his old friend the end zone on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, scoring his first touchdown since getting a pair in Sept. 10's opener against the New York Giants. 

"The O-line cleared things out and gave me lanes to run through (and I) was just being physical, running through arm tackles and making something happen," Pollard said. "It felt great. It felt great just being in the open field, making plays, and getting into the end zone."

Added Pollard: "We're just figuring out what works for us, what we like to run and what works best. We're just getting into rhythm."

Pollard's 21-yard six-pointer was a harbinger of doom for Carolina, kicking off a stretch of 16 unanswered to create the final margin of 33-10 in favor of Dallas (7-3). One play from scrimmage after Pollard's points, Dallas took a permanent two-possession lead when DaRon Bland took a Bryce Young interception the distance.

Pollard stretches for the goal line in Sunday's win over Carolina

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

"It was big, especially for the momentum of the game," Pollard said of his score. "(Carolina) had just come off of a touchdown to make it a one-score game, so it was big for us to go down there and get those points."

The veteran rusher is perhaps thankful for a date with the Panthers: entering Sunday's game, Carolina (1-9) had allowed a league-worst 15 touchdowns on the ground while scoring only two of its own.

Pollard's first season as the Cowboys' undisputed top rushing option has been a struggle, lacking the explosiveness and consistency of his tenure as Ezekiel Elliott's primary spell option. As the games gain importance, however, he is starting to resemble the Pollard of old: with 61 yards on a dozen Sunday carries, Pollard has 325 in his past four games, averaging just about 4.4 per attempt. 

The timing of Pollard's resurgence couldn't be better: Dallas has a short week ahead, one they're well accustomed to, as they face the Washington Commanders in their annual holiday haunt on Thursday late afternoon (3:30 p.m. CT, CBS). And indeed, "TP'' is already turning the page.

"As soon as we get to Dallas, it's back to work," he said. "It's a workday as soon as we touch down."