When the Dallas Cowboys beat the Minnesota Vikings in Week 11 to put an end to a four-game losing streak, former two-time rushing champion Ezekiel Elliott let it be known that the Cowboys as a team always felt they had a chance at the NFC East title despite their struggles.
“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.”
Fast forward six weeks and the Cowboys have won three consecutive games and are in a tie with the Washington Football Team atop the division, needing them to lose to the rival Philadelphia Eagles in combination with them beating the New York Giants next Sunday to make the postseason. After the Cowboys 37-17 beat down of the Eagles on Sunday, Elliott had a message for everyone who threw in the towel on the Cowboys while also applauding his team’s attitude.
“Because I am a competitor. If you gave up five, six weeks ago, we don’t even want you on our side,” Elliott said. “I mean, we are competitors. This whole team is. We are a team of competitors. I mean, we weren’t out of it. All we have to do is, we’ve got to win next weekend and we need a little help from the guys we just played. But, you know, I like how this team is playing football right now. Coach McCarthy said his plan was for us to trend up through the season. And right now, I think we’re catching fire at the right time.”
Elliott certainly did his part in the Cowboy’s biggest win of the season. He ran for a season-high 105 yards (139 all-purpose yards, season-high) and showed the combination of speed and power Cowboys fans have been accustomed to since he entered the NFL in 2016.
The best example of this came in the fourth quarter when Elliott broke a 31-yard run which was a part of a huge 67-yard quarter for him. He proceeded to do his infamous “Feed Me” gesture. It’s something that hasn’t been seen a lot in 2020, but Elliott felt like this particular run was the perfect time to bring it back.
“With the way the year has been going, and honestly it’s been tough this year to celebrate when you don’t have that many fans,” Elliott said. “But that one run just definitely felt good. I think just the biggest thing for me is just that I felt, I feel healthy. I’ve been feeling a little dinged up past weeks and this week I feel healthy, and I felt like myself.”
The Cowboys will need another big day from Elliott next Sunday as they try to pull off an improbable run to the NFC East title. It won’t be easy against the Giant’s 11th-ranked run defense but if anyone can put together a big performance under the brightest lights it’s Elliott.