Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Torches Critics Who Don’t ‘Know Football’

Ezekiel Elliott

Getty Ezekiel Elliott

Given the opportunity, Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott fiercely hit back at criticism stemming from last week’s nondescript showing against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“If you know football, you can tell someone had a solid game without having the best statistics,” Elliott told reporters on Wednesday, per Inside The Star. “If you don’t understand that, you should probably study a little more.”

Indeed, pearl-clutching box-score scouts excoriated Elliott for converting 11 carries into just 33 scoreless yards. And, admittedly, the two-time rushing champ was left off the game plan devised by offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who dialed up 58 pass attempts for quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott finished with 42 completions for 403 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception amid the 31-29 defeat.

“That was a unique game,” Moore said Monday, per USA Today. “If we need to throw it 60 times, if we need to run it 60 times, I really don’t care. That was the No. 1 rushing defense in the NFL. We could bang our head against the wall if we want.

“But at the end of the day, I thought they did a good job stopping the run.”

Echoed Elliott: “Playing the run is tough. It’s more physical. It’s hard to play the run for four quarters. But last week, just, their whole plan was around not letting us run the football and making us throw the ball. I mean, it showed.”

In reality, Prescott isn’t as productive and the final score isn’t nearly as close without Elliott’s services, which include his most underrated skill: pass-protection.

For confirmation, don’t rely on stats — go straight to the source.

“You turn on the tape and we’re not in the game if Zeke doesn’t make a lot of those blocks,” Prescott admitted Thursday, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. “There’s not many backs that can do that time and time again. … He means a lot to this offense.”

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Zeke ‘Hungry’ Entering Week 2

Considering the Cowboys are without stud right tackle La’el Collins, who’s serving a five-game suspension, and thus forced to start replacement-level backup Terence Steele, it stands to reason that Elliott will be called upon to block — a lot —  on Sunday against Joey Bosa’s Los Angeles Chargers. Which is fine and dandy to the two-time league rushing champ.

“Every play I’m given a job. My job is to do my job to the best of its ability,” Elliott said, via the Sporting News. “I take a lot of pride in being well-rounded. Blitz pickup is big for a running back. You have to keep the quarterback safe and untouched.”

But with Moore insisting “we’re going to need Zeke to pound it,” there’s an equal chance Elliott sees more than 11 touches in a tough road matchup. The Chargers’ interior certainly is beatable, having allowed 126 rushing yards to Washington in Week 1. And Zeke is starved for the opportunity.

“I’m definitely hungry,” he said.

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