The suspension of Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has obviously shaken the team’s world. In their first game without Elliott, and other key pieces, Dallas was annihilated by the Atlanta Falcons 27-7.
Now sitting at 5-4 with a critical divisional match up against the Philadelphia Eagles on the horizon, the Cowboys must find answers which they did not have last Sunday.
But, after seeing a tweet posted by the official NFL account identifying the league’s rushing leaders, something else came to my mind.
Can Ezekiel Elliott rush for over 1,000 yards this season?
Elliott is currently third in the NFL in rushing behind just Kareem Hunt and Le’veon Bell with 783 yards on the ground. Of course, as he is forced to sit out at least the next three games and likely the next five, he is going to fall on this list.
Still he can reach 1,000 yards once he returns on Christmas Eve against the Seattle Seahawks.
If Elliott were to average 108.5 yards per game over the final two games of the season he would just reach that 1,000 mark. Considering those final two games are with the Seahawks and Eagles, this goal may be asking a lot of the second year running back.
It’s also true that Elliott’s quest for 1,000 depends on how his team plays during his absence. It’s quite possible that if last Sunday’s troubles continue, that week 17 game with Philadelphia won’t mean anything. In that case, Elliott could see less carries, which would lower his potential total. It’s also possible that the Eagles will be resting players, allowing Elliott to feast on backups to get his 1,000 yards.
In a season such as this where the team seems to take two steps forward, then one step back constantly, I understand that it’s tough to care much about goals such as these. But if Ezekiel Elliott can pull off 1,000 yards in a season in which he was suspended for 6 games, it would be rather incredible.