In a season filled with turmoil regarding a potential suspension and possible setback in his ability, Ezekiel Elliott responded with a monster game.
The Dallas Cowboys‘ season definitely did not start off on the right foot through the first five weeks. Criticism and finger-pointing was dished out in every direction for why the ‘Boys struggled to a 2-3 start, and there’s no question that the running game was nowhere near as elite as it was in 2016.
That was not the case this week when the Cowboys visited the San Francisco 49ers.
The very first offensive snap was a five yard burst from sophomore back Ezekiel Elliott. Although that drive would end up going three and out, that first play set the tone for the entire game.
The Cowboys were able to recover a fumble on the ensuing punt and took over deep in San Francisco territory.
Three straight runs to Zeke… touchdown. Once he smelled blood, he didn’t let up.
He averaged 5.65 yards per rush, nearly two whole yards more than his season average thus far. He was able to find the creases in his offensive line and showed he still has the burst that us fans have been dying to see.
And it didn’t stop there. He caught a short screen pass from draft mate Dak Prescott and took it to the house for a 72-yard touchdown. He was patient as he waited for his blocks to develop and showed amazing balance as he tip-toed down the sideline barely staying in bounds by inches.
It was like déjà vu from last season when he took a similar screen pass 83 yards to the end zone against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That was when teams had no answer for Zeke, and he returned to that form in Week 7 of 2017. Everything that made him one of the most feared running backs in the game last year was there: vision, power, elusiveness, toughness, the list goes on.
This game was his, and the rest of the Dallas crew rode his momentum to the 40-10 beat down of the old-time west coast rival. Everyone knows this team is built to run the football, and Zeke led the ground attack to help the team gash the Niners’ defense for 265 total rush yards.
There’s no doubt the Cowboys bye week did the former Buckeye some sort of good as he silenced all those that have questioned his ability this season.
There has been a lot of whispering and chatter on if the constant court battle with the NFL has somehow slowed the running back down with emotional stress, or if he simply has just lost a step from last year when he led the league in rushing. On top of that, he’s been called slow and accused of weight gain.
But with all the chaos that has been occurring off the field, it definitely had no effect on the young running back this game.
None of us really know if Elliott will be able to play this entire season, but one thing is for certain: if Zeke plays like he did against the 49ers, there’s almost no chance for the opposition to stop the Dallas Cowboys.
That being said, it definitely looks as if the 2016 Zeke is back. If the NFLPA can somehow legally keep Elliott on the field permanently going forward, the rest of the league better watch out for the ‘Boys.