By: Xavier Warner (@xavierjwarner)
Ezekiel Elliott dominated the Seattle Seahawks to the tune of 169 total yards and continues to show what type of elite talent he truly is. While the final numbers are great, we are going to breakdown what he did in each quarter and how the Cowboys have concentrated their offense to consistently get Zeke the ball no matter (which should be obvious, but… here we are).
8 Total Touches -> 40 Total Yards
6 Rushes -> 27 Yards
2 Targets/2 Catches -> 13 Yards
In the first quarter, Zeke found more than enough room to work behind his offensive line. The 6 carries in the first quarter is a huge indication that the Cowboys weren’t going to shy away from what has worked for them for the last 3 seasons and specifically the last 6 games of the season. Since Amari Cooper arrived, the Cowboys have been more dynamic on the offensive side of the ball… and for good reason. Amari brings back what the Cowboys had when Dez Bryant and Jason Witten were in the fold: The ability to give Zeke space to run (as if he needed any with how dominant he has been).
This start stood out to me as one of my biggest takeaways as the dedication to Zeke is what really can drive this team to new heights. While keeping Zeke at the forefront will undoubtedly make you more of a competitive team, it also allows other players to flourish at a more consistent rate; yes I’m looking at you Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Blake Jarwin.
8 Total Touches -> 77 Total Yards
6 Rushes -> 58 Yards
2 Targets/2 Catches -> 19 Yards
In the second quarter, Zeke repeated his touch total from the quarter before but almost doubled the yardage output in relation. That speaks volumes for me when breaking down this game. The second quarter was a really important one for the Cowboys as it saw them start to get into a groove with the flow of the game and really utilize their playbook in creative ways (as creative as Linehan can actually get).
The moment of the second quarter was Zeke’s scamper up the right side of the field. Zeke uses a simple jump cut and a short burst of acceleration create the necessary space he needed to scoot up the sides for the first down on 3&1. This play symbolized what a great game Zeke was truly having in this Wild Card matchup and they were going to need every ounce of him to finish this game off.
6 Total Touches -> 17 Yards
6 Rushes -> 17 Yards
1 Target/0 Catches -> 0 Yards
This was by far Zeke’s worst quarter during this entire game. His touches were only 2 off from the previous two quarters but his yards were off by a great deal. He only accumulated 17 yards in this quarter on 6 rushes; this simply does not get it done. Only targeted once in the passing game (ball thrown directly in the turf by Dak in their own end zone) doesn’t lead to Zeke being able to use his excellent elusiveness to make please has to be at the forefront of issues throughout the play calling throughout this quarter.
The Cowboys scored a whopping 0 points in this quarter, while the Seahawks scored 8 to take the lead heading into the 4th quarter. Zeke not providing more value was one of the main reasons that this quarter ended so poorly for The Cowboys. But the 4th quarter was a different story…
8 Total Touches -> 35 Total Yards
8 Rushes -> 35 Yards (1 TD)
0 Targets/0 Catches -> 0 Yards
The final quarter and Zeke got back to what he does and finished off the Seahawks for good. He rushed 8 times for 35 yards and scored a touchdown from about 3 yards away was how he topped it all off. Nothing truly spectacular in this quarter but Zeke, continuing to fall forward at every opportunity and tire out that Seattle front 7 time and time again.
Ezekiel Elliott finished with the following stat line:
This was an overall solid and efficient day for one of the best running backs in football. Even though I am an Eagles fan, Zeke continues to impress me each and every week, without fail.
Next week we will study another offensive player that stood out for their performance in the Divisional Round! See you all then!