Ezekiel Elliott has been able to withstand the storm of domestic violence allegations, a possible six-game suspension by the NFL, shots at his character and the uncertainty of his immediate NFL future and not miss a beat. His rookie season began with some controversy about him taking an ill-advised trip to a pot dispensary and ended with a Rookie of the Year Award and becoming the superstar of the NFLs most popular franchise.
We were beginning to think the man wasnt human. Fresh off legal proceedings that will probably allow him to play the entire season before serving any suspension, Elliott helped Dallas ravage the Giants in Week 1. He didnt miss a beat.
On Sunday, however, for the first time in Elliotts 19-game NFL career, we saw some chinks in the armor and the 2016 NFL rushing leader was stifled by a swarming Broncos defense. Elliotts nine carries went for 0, 3, 2, 0, -5, 0, 2, 1 and 5 yards. The longest of his four receptions was a 9-yard gain coming late in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.
If the reality of his tumultuous offseason hasn’t set in yet, this humbling performance should add some inspiration for Elliott to remain on track with his behavior and begin to focus in on his making some improvements. If anyone needs to continue to perform at an elite level throughout this Dallas Cowboys rodeo with Roger Goodell and the NFL, its Elliott who is on thin ice and would only be making the NFLs attempt to scapegoat the Dallas star by suspending him that much easier.
Jerry Jones had this to say of Elliott’s nine-carry, eight-yard afternoon (via The Star-Telegram): “It is the first time that I’ve seen us play when Zeke was as neutralized as he was today. This was a first for me to see it. Well, for anybody. And, yes, you’ve got to give them credit. They took away the play-action and they took away some of our ability to move. Do we have the ability to adjust and go to other things? Sure we do. Again, I’ll say this again, it’s not us.”
Maybe the entire ordeal is finally getting to Elliott.
Elliott denies that the uncertain status of his suspension played a factor in his poor outing and he chalked it up to a fluke dud, similar to his previous career low in his 2016 NFL debut against the New York Giants.
Of course, he isnt sweating it.
“We definitely won’t be discouraged,” Elliott told the Star-Telegram. “Last year at this time we were 1-1. It’s a 16-game season and it’s only Game 2. We can get so much better. If you’re peaking right now, you’re going to have a problem. You don’t want to peak right now, you want to peak at the end of the season and get rolling. We just can’t come out like this.”
It’s definitely not what the overconfident Dallas fans and media expected prior to the 42-17 thrashing at the hands of the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Dallas Cowboys, Ezekiel Elliott should feast in Denver #Cowboys https://t.co/nVSHHBZ5Kq
But its a reminder of how on point you truly have to be each week to perform at a high level in the NFL. If the law cant shake up Elliott, than being held to the only single-digit rushing yard game in his life will surely be a wake-up call.