Ezekiel Elliott needed to be the stabilizing force for a Dallas Cowboys offense playing without Dak Prescott for the first time. Instead, the star running back fumbled the game away.
The 38-10 blowout loss to Arizona on Monday night wasn’t solely on Elliott, but the running back’s two lost fumbles changed the complexion of the contest, as the Cards turned those turnovers into two TDs.
In six games, Elliott has fumbled five times, losing four. It’s become an issue that Zeke is hell-bent on correcting. There is no one fix to cure his ills, however.
“I just think I need to not put myself in vulnerable situations. I’ve just got to lock in and focus,” Elliott said, via ESPN. “I don’t think there’s a specific answer. All I can do is give myself, watch as much film as I can, gather as much information as I can and try to use that to help me. But I don’t think there’s an exact answer on how to fix these fumble problems I’ve had this year.”
Elliott’s 101 rushing attempts places him sixth among all backs in the NFL. His three lost fumbles on rushes (not counting the one after a reception) equal the amount of the rest of the top ten combined.
Zeke lost just five fumbles in his first four seasons before this year’s deluge. The four botches this season have led directly to 28 points for Cowboys’ opponents.
“I mean, he’s been carrying the football probably his whole life, so his instinct and awareness, I would definitely classify him as very high in that category of all the running backs I’ve been around in my career,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “But I think what’s most important of this tough moment we’re going through with our turnover ratio is to recognize the importance he places on himself. … He knows how to carry the football, he understands the points of pressure and we have video of everything we do.
“At the end of the day, it’s the focus. We have to get it done. I don’t know how many different ways I can continue to talk about it. We all understand the impact it’s had on the outcome and path in games we’ve been involved in. So we need to take care of the football, and we need to start winning these turnover battles week in and week out.”
Even outside the fumbles, Elliott is experiencing a career-worst in most metrics. The Pro Bowl back is averaging career lows in touches per game (22.2), scrimmage yards per game (102.8), yards per touch (4.6), carries per game (16.8), and rush yards per game (68.8). His 4.1 yards per carry mark is the second-lowest in his career to date.