The first nine games of the 2020 season were a struggle for two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott. The former All-Pro had three games where he failed to reach 50 yards and only had two performances over 90 yards. Also, he had a huge problem giving the ball to the opposing team with five fumbles (the team lost four).
In Elliott’s first four seasons reaching the 100-yard mark was something he did in his sleep. He registered seven games over 100 yards in his three full seasons (2016, 2018, 2019) and even racked up five games over the century mark when he dealt with a six-game suspension (2017). On Sunday, Elliott (103 yards) had his first 100-yard game since Week 17 of last season.
This marked the 27th time in Elliott’s career he’s reached 100 yards and the Cowboys have enjoyed amazing success with a 23-4 record.
Minnesota Vikings Running Back Dalvin Cook came into Week 11 leading the league with 954 yards rushing. He outgained Elliott by 12 yards but Elliott’s 4.9 yards per rush was slightly better than Cook’s 4.3 on Sunday.
When asked if not being mentioned with Cook as one of the league’s best runners this season bothered him Elliott had this to say.
“Nah, I wouldn’t say so, man,” Elliott said, via the Dallas Morning News. “I don’t really pay attention to what other people are saying.
“All I worry about is being the player I need to be for this team.”
@andydalton14 ➡️ @ezekielelliott for the #DallasCowboys TD 🙌#DALvsMIN on @NFLonFOX pic.twitter.com/bgEdJT6f2g
The NFC East currently has all four teams tied with three wins with six games remaining. When speaking to the media Sunday night, Elliott expressed how the team has always thought they were still in the division race despite their struggles and how this victory needs to be a springboard for them going forward.
“We never thought we were out of it,” Elliott said, via ESPN’s Todd Archer. “Our division’s been struggling this year. We’re right where we need to be with what’s been going on with the division. We’ve got to build on this success, so we can’t come out on a short week and take a step back against a division opponent. We’ve got to make sure we build on the success and keep getting better.”
Elliott didn’t just get his first 100-yard game and help the Cowboys get a much-needed win on Sunday he also joined an exclusive group. He now has 45 rushing touchdowns and 10 receiving touchdowns since entering the NFL in 2016, making him only the fifth running back in history to accomplish that milestone (Marcus Allen, Chuck Foreman, Todd Gurley, Shaun Alexander).
The Cowboys will host the Washington Football Team on Thanksgiving this Thursday with a chance to take over sole possession of first place in the NFC East. With Elliott back in a nice groove, the Cowboys should continue to ride their workhorse runner and make life easier for Andy Dalton.