Dallas Cowboys Have an Ezekiel Elliott Problem

Arizona Cardinals safety Budda Baker (32) strips the ball from Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) in the first half of an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

The hope was for three years, but it looks like the Dallas Cowboys won’t get to two with Ezekiel Elliott.

The six-year, $90 million contract Zeke held out to sign before the start of the 2019 season was only a good deal for the Cowboys if he produced like a top-five back over the next three years.

Halfway through the second year of Zeke’s new deal it’s all playing out worse than predicted.

Blame the offensive line if you insist, but Zeke not rushing for 100 yards in any game this season is the fault of no one beyond the player himself.

Zeke is the one player who might be able to help a backup quarterback, or even his backup, but he is currently not hitting the mark. And he’s not even coming close.

No one should expect Zeke to carry this version of the Dallas Cowboys to a win on the strength of just his own two feet, especially if Ben DiNucci is the starting quarterback. But the “best running back in the NFL” currently looks like the second coming of Todd Gurley.

Despite the best, and sometimes heroic, efforts of Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz, the host Eagles defeated the Cowboys, 23-9, on Sunday Night Football.

The game was a battle for first place in the NFC East, and the result effectively ends the Cowboys’ chances of winning what amounts to the NFL’s version of the Big 12 Conference. The Cowboys are now 2-6, and that’s that.

The Cowboys forced four turnovers, and Wentz was stuck dueling with DiNucci to see who could do less.

There was no way the Cowboys were going to defeat the Eagles with DiNucci spraying the ball all over the field. Their best chance was for Zeke to be their best player, running behind All-Pro guard Zack Martin.

And Elliott carried the ball 20 times for 68 yards. His longest carry went for 11.

The Cowboys put him in the “wildcat” formation a few times, and that was as effective as the rest.

“We gotta score touchdowns. We can’t just kick field goals,” Elliott said after the game to reporters via Zoom. “It was a step in the right direction, but it’s not enough.”

His only reception of the game came with 45 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, when he caught a dump off pass that covered 10 yards.

Zeke’s backup, Tony Pollard, carried the ball seven times for 40 yards and caught two passes for 24 yards.

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SOURCE: Fort Worth Star Telegram