Over the past two games, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has failed to top 50 yards rushing while quarterback Dak Prescott has thrown for a combined 841 yards and six touchdowns. Despite this lack of production, the highest-paid runner in the NFL isn't concerned about his role. In fact, he's tired of being asked this question because it makes him feel awkward.
Speaking with reporters earlier in the week, Elliot was asked about his lack of rushing yards in recent games. According to Cowboys beat writer Clarence Hill Jr., the former fourth overall pick is not concerned. He's a little frustrated with the ground game's struggles, but he's not "down in the dumps" over the lack of yards.
"You guys make me feel awkward like I’m supposed to be pissed because I had 40 yards and we won a football game," Elliott said. Prior to the loss against Minnesota and the victory over Detroit, the Cowboys runner actually had compiled three consecutive games with more than 100 yards rushing.
After holding out for a massive contract extension, Elliott did ultimately return to the Cowboys prior to the season-opening battle with the New York Giants. He has been effective overall throughout the 2019 season, compiling 833 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, but he hasn't been viewed as the same dominant runner that he was during his first three seasons.
Elliott's 4.3 yards-per-carry is the third-highest total of his career, just topping the 4.1 yards he averaged in a suspension-shortened 2017 campaign. He will likely top 1,000 yards rushing for the third time in his career, but Elliott will find it more difficult to lead the league in rushing yards due to the seasons of Dalvin Cook in Minnesota, Christian McCaffrey in Carolina, Nick Chubb in Cleveland, and Josh Jacobs in Oakland.
Elliott is currently ninth on the list, but he should pass both Carlos Hyde of Houston Texans (already played) and Marlon Mack of Indianapolis Colts (injured) during this week's battle with the New England Patriots. He will also be helped by facing a Patriots defense that has given up an average of 97.3 rushing yards per game.
Topping 100 yards against the 9-1 New England Patriots would certainly quiet some of the criticism and questions lobbed Elliott's way, but reaching this statistical marker is less important at this point. The wealthy running back would prefer for his team to win in the first-ever head-to-head matchup between Tom Brady and Prescott, which would give the Cowboys a bigger advantage over the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East race.
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