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The Demise of Ezekiel Elliott was Greatly Exaggerated

In the first three seasons of Ezekiel Elliott’s career, there was little to no doubt that he was the best in the NFL. He won two rushing titles (2016, 2018) and led the league in yards per game (98.3) in the year he didn’t despite missing six games due to a . However, over the last two seasons, the rumblings that Elliott isn’t the same player anymore have been running wild.

Despite finishing fourth in rushing yards (1,357), fourth in rushing touchdowns (12), second in all-purpose yards (1,777), and first in 100-yard games (7) in 2019 all anyone could talk about was and his near franchise record of 4,902 passing yards. After Elliott produced career lows in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, and yards per rush while also fumbling six times in 2020 his naysayers had all the ammunition they needed. He battled COVID and a calf strain in the latter part of the season plus his had its top-three players miss a total of 36 games. Yet still, people called Elliott a shell of himself, but he’s showing in 2021 that his demise was extremely premature.

Elliott started the being dominant in an area of his game that doesn’t get enough credit, pass blocking. Prescott threw for 403 yards and three touchdowns in a narrow two-point loss to the defending champion in Week 1 and it was due in large part to Elliott picking up blitzing linebackers and .

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Over the last three games, Elliott has shown that he’s still an elite runner with the football. In Week 2 against the , Elliott didn’t have a huge rushing performance with 71 yards but his burst and elusiveness were on display. When the were driving for the game-winning field goal, Elliott touched the ball five times in 11 plays and converted two third downs, showing how much he’s trusted when it matters the most.

When the hosted the a week later, Elliott continued his dominance against them. He gained 95 yards and 17 attempts which weren’t far off his 98.6 yards per game against the Eagles for his career and added 21 yards on three receptions. It was Elliott’s first game of over 100 all-purpose yards of the season and his first since of 2020, ironically, against the Eagles.

Last Sunday when the Cowboys hosted the 3-0 and the NFL’s top-ranked rushing Elliott went bonkers. He gained 143 yards on 20 carries (7.2 yards per rush) which included a 47-yard run in the third quarter which was his longest since his season in 2016. What was impressive about it was the patience Elliott used by utilizing a jump cut to set up Rashaan Melvin before hitting the hole with authority.

Elliott currently ranks fourth with 342 rushing yards and his four rushing touchdowns are second in the NFL so far this season. Albeit in just four games, Elliott is averaging a career-best 5.3 yards per rush. His hard work in the with running back guru Josh Hicks is paying huge dividends for the Cowboys. His burst and agility look excellent and he’s also at his lowest playing weight since his freshman season at Ohio State.

Any player can have a bad stretch or even a bad season at some point during their career especially when they set a certain standard. In Elliott’s case, his performance in 2020 was a mere bump in the road. With his offensive line back healthy and coming in as a change of pace runner to keep him fresh, Elliott is showing that he’s still one of the best running backs in the NFL even in year six and that he’s a vital part of the .

What do you think?

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Written by Matthew Lenix

I write dope stuff about the Dallas Cowboys and what not.

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8 Comments

  1. Nothing wrong with being a HOMER and I’m a proud HOMER! And the only ones who keep TRYING(actual word not tryna) to explain are the dopes who keep listing what Zeke isn’t doing instead of what he is doing.

  2. I’d like to think if you’re being paid top 3 or 5 money at your position, then you should be expected to be top 3 or 5 at your position, is that too much to ask ?

    I’ll admit Zeke with a healthier O-Line, and the fact he’s in much better shape this year, appears to have gained back SOME of his speed back, not all though, he isn’t Ohio state or first 2-3 seasons Zeke , but he’s faster than what he was the last 2 seasons

    As far as the argument about the Zeke being bad last year, sure without Dak, the D would stack the box, but that doesn’t explain why he sucked when Dak was there, or the year before when Dak was there the whole year, and Zeke sucked then too, keep tryna explain everything bud, you just make yourself look more and more a HOMER than someone who can look at his team in a somewhat unbiased opinion

  3. love how all the Zeke haters have to come up with something new to say like “lets pump the brakes” or “its early”. Doesnt matter how early it is the man just had a heckuva game after most of you had him in his grave. Ease up sheesh and appreciate the man. So he got paid $90 million and youre telling me none of you would’ve taken that money if your boss offered it. Hes still here hes still playing hard. Last year he had an offensive line practically pulled off the street and you idiots expected 1000 yds easily. You dopes do realize teams were stacking the line because they knew our backups stunk, and yet Zeke still showed up and balled out. He may have lost a step but so did Emmitt and Dorsett but they ALWAYS had a great line something Zeke hopes for. TRUE Cowboy fans know this and appreciate it. You other dopes can find another site.

  4. Wouldn’t say Zeke is elite again. He lacks a second gear in the open field to take it to the house. That said he looks really good. Need to continue to share carries with Pollard. If we overwork him he could revert back to being average.

  5. AGAIN, let me preface my comments by saying, IMO, EE was THE BEST RB the NFL his first three years. Absolutely loved his HIGH level of performance. Agree with Mathew, when one sets that HIGH a bar, then has a “bump” for a year, some folks, including me, start chirping. I still hoped EE would regain his “old self” (as would all Cowboy fans), which it appears he has. He certainly played like his OLD SELF against the Panthers. Great game!

    Still, I agree with CF Ed, lets pump the brakes a bit. We’re 4 games in. Great start, hopefully it continues.

    But getting a $90 million payday, do not see why he, or any player, would be somewhat out of shape. He should be putting in the work EVERY offseason.

    All that said, I may be the most optimistic in our team in quite some time.

    Off topic, going to hate seeing Jaylon in a Packer uniform.

  6. Well first of all let’s all take a deep breath and hope that EE ,DP, and all our Cowboys team is going to continue to produce and develop into the team that we all think that they can become! We need to remember that the season has just kicked off and sure some of our stars are looking pretty good but I’m not going to crown any of them as world beaters until near the end of the season when all the stats are in then we can see who has done what!!

  7. No doubt Zeke is balling (FEEDING!) but this article made me wonder…if Zeke rediscovered his studliness working with a RB guru Josh hicks, isn’t that the job of his position coach? Seems like these pro’s all have to go find gurus to help them reach the next level of performance rather than relying on the people paid to coach them.

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