LANDOVER – Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott strapped on his mud tires and mowed down the Washington Redskins defense in the muck during inclement weather conditions on Oct. 29.
The second-year tailback out of Ohio State University rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries as he helped lead the Cowboys to a 33-19 win over their NFC East rivals.
“Zeke” ended up rushing for more yards than quarterback Dak Prescott threw for by game’s end.
“That weather is real tough out there,” Elliott said. “Not only was it rainy, but it was real cold. So late in the game, it got tougher.
“That last drive, when we were trying to run the time out, I barely was able to hold on to the ball even with two hands. So I was just focusing on protecting that ball.”
Elliott’s triumphant day did not start off mistake-free. On the very first play of the game, the 22-year-old coughed up the ball and gifted the Redskins excellent field position. Still, the Cowboys defense stood tall and forced Washington rookie kicker Nick Rose to convert on a 38-yard field goal to strike first.
Elliott quickly overshadowed his mistake by rushing for a 13-yard touchdown to retake the lead. Washington Redskins running back Robert Kelley then punched in a 1-yard touchdown later in the first quarter, but unfortunately, that was the last highlight of the day for him. Kelley totaled just 19 yards on the ground while Washington mustered only 49 yards rushing collectively. That put the pressure on quarterback Kirk Cousins to fend for himself behind a depleted offensive line.
“It is mind-boggling. I just hope these guys get well,” Redskins Head Coach Jay Gruden said about the offensive line. “I just want these guys to get well. That is all I care about - if we can get those guys dressed up, play and compete.”
Aside from Rose hitting another field goal in the second quarter to retake the lead, the Redskins found no success in the redzone the entire game.
Dallas took advantage of the Redskins’ squandered attempts to score and rattled off 19 unanswered points going into the second half by way of another Elliott touchdown and four consecutive field goals. from kicker Mike Nugent.
Cousins threw for 263 yards and a touchdown to Josh Doctson late in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 26-19. However, it was a Byron Jones interception of Cousins on the final possession of the game that put the nail in the coffin as Jones scampered into the endzone from 21 yards out.
“It sucks. I mean – on a lot of levels – we are obviously 0-3 in the division,” Washington linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “This is our alumni weekend. We have a lot of former players here that you want to put on a good show for.
“Those guys hate the Cowboys as much as we do and that’s the team you want to beat, especially on your home turf. So it’s a disappointing loss in many ways.”
Washington sits at 3-4 and its playoff hopes look grim as it sits behind the Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, who have the best record in the NFL. The Redskins will have a chance to rebound against the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday.