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Dak and Zeke report: Zeke’s 150 yards rushing key win at Washington

In Zeke’s last game before his six-game suspension likely kicks in, his running is critical in rain-soaked win over Washington.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys won the game in Washington 33-19. In a rain-soaked and penalty-marred affair, just over half of the offense’s 307 yards were provided by Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 150 yards on 33 carries, and caught one of two targets for four yards.

Unfortunately for Dallas, on Monday night, a judge in New York denied Zeke’s motion for a preliminary injunction to allow him to continue playing while he challenges the NFL’s six-game suspension as fundamentally unfair. He will have one day to appeal, but there is almost no chance for a reversal by the Second Circuit. Zeke will likely be out, and the Cowboys will have to carry on without him for six critical weeks.

In an uncharacteristic mistake, Zeke fumbled on his first carry, then spent the rest of the evening making up for it. Dak Prescott started the game nine for ten for 105 yards, only to cool off to the tune of five for 12 for 38 yards. In his defense, the rain was fairly light early but grew steadily worse as the game wore on. A number of offensive holding penalties also negated positive plays and put Dallas in down-and-distance holes where they didn’t want to take chances on deep throws. But Dak should have been better. Still, he didn’t turn the ball over, which couldn’t be said of his opponent Kirk Cousins, who fumbled and was intercepted by Byron Jones on a pick-six that iced the game.

Here are the numbers.

Dak Prescott

1 NYG W19-3 24 39 62% 268 7.08 1 0 90.55 69.6 3 24 0 1 5
2 At DEN L42-17 30 50 60% 238 3.42 2 2 68.6 35.1 3 24 0 2 10
3 At AZ W28-17 13 18 72% 183 11.26 2 0 141.7 85.7 3 16 1 1 9
4 LAR L35-30 20 36 56% 252 7 3 1 93.8 78.2 3 25 0 2 1
5 GB L35-31 25 36 69% 251 7.02 3 1 105.2 96.6 4 37 1 1 6
6 At SF W40-10 16 25 64% 234 11.76 3 0 134 79.7 4 26 1 0 0
7 At WASH W33-19 14 22 64% 143 5.75 0 0 82.2 38 3 16 0 2 5
Total 4W-3L 142 226 63% 1569 6.94 14 4 96.6 75.7 23 168 3 9 36

Before the rain became too intense, Dak was hot. After Zeke fumbled on the game’s first carry and Washington kicked a field goal, Dallas got the ball back on its 25. Despite a false start on Tyron Smith, Dak marched the Cowboys to a touchdown in five plays.

  • 16-yard waggle play to Jason Witten.
  • 18-yard pass to Geoff Swaim.
  • 8 yards to Zeke up the middle.
  • 25-yards to Terrance Williams.
  • 13 yards to Zeke up the middle for the TD.

All the plays were either to Zeke, or off play-action to Zeke, but Dak looked sharp.

On the next drive, despite a Jonathan Cooper holding call and a four-yard sack, Dak led Dallas down to Washington’s four-yard line. But on the play that put them at the four, a bubble screen to Dez Bryant that went for 23 yards, Jason Witten was called for holding, wiping it out. Dak completed a short pass afterwards to put Dallas into field goal range, but Mike Nugent missed from 49 yards, and Dallas remained behind 10-7.

Dak had no more passes in the first half. The Cowboys took the lead after Tyrone Crawford blocked a field goal and Orlando Scandrick returned it 84 yards to the Washington two, where Zeke punched it in on two carries. Dak’s first half rating was 110.4.

In the second half, the Cowboys had short fields on its first two possessions based off Washington fumbles. That led to two field goals. The next two drives were longer - 48 and 44 yards - and also led to field goals. They were mostly Zeke-led drives, with an occasional short pass from Dak mixed in to move the chains.

Dez Bryant was the leading receiver, with four catches on six targets for 39 yards. Terrance Williams was two for three for 36 yards. Jason Witten was three for five for 31 yards. Geoff Swaim caught one pass for 16 yards. Cole Beasley was two for three for eight yards before being knocked out with a concussion. Ryan Switzer caught one pass for seven yards, and Zeke caught one for four yards. Brice Butler was shut out again on one attempt.

Ezekiel Elliott

1 NYG W19-3 24 105 4.4 5 36 7.2 0 0
2 At DEN L42-17 9 8 0.9 4 14 3.5 0 0
3 At AZ W28-17 22 80 3.6 3 14 4.7 1 0
4 LAR L35-30 21 85 4 4 54 13.5 2 0
5 GB L35-31 29 116 4 1 16 16 0 0
6 At SF W40-10 26 147 5.7 1 72 72 3 0
7 At WASH W33-19 33 150 4.5 1 4 4 2 1
Total 4W-3L 164 691 4.2 18 206 11.4 8 1

Zeke was a workhorse, and the biggest difference in the game. His 33 carries was the highest of his career, and his yards rushing was the third-highest of his career. Despite an eight-yard clunker game in Denver, Zeke pushed himself to third in NFL in rushing with one fewer game than the two players ahead of him, Le’Veon Bell and Kareem Hunt.

Zeke’s longest run of the evening was 14 yards, but that’s because a 26-yard touchdown run right after a Washington fumble was negated by a holding call on Tyron Smith. At the end of the game, after Washington cut the Dallas lead to seven, it was Zeke, Zeke, Zeke, Zeke, Dez, Zeke, Zeke, Prescott, punt, leaving Washington less than a minute from their 12-yard line to try to drive the field in a pouring rain.

For those who think Alfred Morris, Rod Smith, and an unused Darren McFadden can carry the load for Zeke the next six weeks, I think they are sorely mistaken. But we’re all going to find out.

My grades:

  • Dak: C. Yardage was the second lowest of his career in a full game. ANY/A was the worst since the Denver fiasco. He had no TDs passing or rushing. He started hot, but wasn’t sharp as the rain became more intense. The only reason his score isn’t worse is because he didn’t turn the ball over, managed a win, and could have had better numbers if his teammates hadn’t been flagged so many times.
  • Zeke: A. He carried the offense for Dallas throughout the game. Even on the second drive, when he wasn’t running over Washington, play-action fakes to him set up Dak for down-the-field throws. He also finished off Washington in the four-minute offense, helping Dallas get two first downs to bleed Washington of its timeouts and the two-minute warning. He would have scored an A+ but for his first fumble of the year.

Barring an unforeseen court reversal, Zeke won’t be playing for Dallas the next six weeks, so there won’t be a Dak and Zeke report during that time. I'm also going to take a leave of absence from writing for Blogging The Boys. See you soon.

Dak and Zeke report - final numbers from 2016

Dak and Zeke report - week 1 victory over Giants

Dak and Zeke report - week 2 loss at Denver

Dak and Zeke report - week 3 win at Arizona

Dak and Zeke report - week 4 loss to the LA Rams

Dak and Zeke report - week 5 loss to the Packers

Dak and Zeke report - week 6 win over the 49ers

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