Ezekiel Elliott is a warrior and that hasn't been more evident than it has during the 2021 season. He's battled a knee injury since October but hasn't missed a game, and has worn a brace for quite some time to protect it.
Elliott is currently seventh in the NFL in rushing with 915 yards. Many would say that reaching 1,000 yards rushing in today's NFL, which is predicated to passing the football, doesn't mean much. However, Elliott isn't of that mindset and he mentioned earlier this week the significance of what reaching that mark means to him.
“That is meaningful for me and it's still kind of a standard that you look at when you go into the season,” Elliott said.
In his first four seasons, Elliott went over 1,000 yards three times, and although he came up just short with 983 yards in 2017 due to a six-game suspension, he lead the NFL in yards per game. Elliott dealt with a calf issue, a depleted offensive line, Dak Prescott missing 11 games, and even battled COVID in 2020 which led to a subpar regular season by his standards with just 979 yards.
Players use different things to motivate them. For Elliott, reaching this plateau means something and could spark a resurgence in the Cowboys running game that has ranked near the bottom of the league for the last few months.
Although Elliott has averaged a career-low 57.2 yards a game this season he's more than capable of a big performance like his back-to-back 100-yard games against the Carolina Panthers and New York Giants during the Cowboys' six-game winning streak.
Elliott set such a high standard in his first several seasons that if he doesn't run for 1,500 yards or more he's looked at like just an average player. However, despite his injury, he's amassed the third-most rushing touchdowns (10) and total touchdowns (12) of his six-year career.
The Cowboys will need their running game in the postseason if they want to be a serious contender, and what better way to get it back on track than for Elliott to have an inspired performance against a potential playoff opponent.