Can you believe that it has been five years since the Dallas Cowboys drafted Ezekiel Elliott? Time really does fly, and in that half of a decade there have been a whole lot of memories made by Zeke and we thought it would be fun to take a walk down memory lane this week on the Blogging The Boys podcast network. Make sure to subscribe to the network on Apple devices right here or on Spotify right here.
On the latest episode of Jersey Boyz the guys discussed the top five moments from Ezekiel Elliott’s career with the Cowboys to date. Again, there have definitely been some incredible plays made by Zeke, so whittling it down to five isn’t exactly an easy task.
In the spirit of keeping things a mystery of sorts we will lay out the five plays that the guys chose in chronological order as there will likely be some discussion as to which one truly was/is the best. Let’s begin.
Ezekiel Elliott introduces his hurdle to the Chicago Bears
This was extremely early in Zeke’s career with the Cowboys (his third game ever in fact), but it definitely sticks out in the memory bank.
One of the many qualities surrounding Elliott’s career at The Ohio State University was how athletic he was. To this point things had been a bit of a struggle for the Cowboys offensively (things took just a bit to stabilize in 2016) and seeing the running back hurdle a defender put life to the idea that he really was a superstar talent.
We have gone on to see a number of hurdles from Zeke in his career (there may or may not be another one on this list), but there is only one first.
Zeke goes off in several ways against the Pittsburgh Steelers
You can make an argument that this game is the pinnacle of Zeke’s career with the Cowboys so far, and there are obviously two notable moments from the contest against the team’s longtime rivals that stand out.
First off, the Cowboys dialed up a simple screen pass for their running back and let their offensive line take care of the rest. 83 yards to the house never gets old.
This was a crazy game that saw a lot of back and forth between the Cowboys and Steelers and while points were being had they weren’t necessarily always monstrous plays. Considering it was 2nd and 18 there was really only hope that the offense would manage a first down within their own territory let alone score.
While this play is great, the truly memorable one from Elliott in Pittsburgh came in the game’s final moments. Any time you have a walk-off game-winner, it is going to be in the all-time highlight reel.
Gavin Escobar threw the block of his life on this play, but Elliott did the rest. We haven’t seen a lot of real home runs from Zeke over the course of his career (the first one came against the Cincinnati Bengals earlier in this 2016 season), but this one is hard to miss.
Ezekiel Elliott gets really high up against the Eagles
While there have been a number of Ezekiel Elliott hurdles, there is one that sticks out a little bit more in our minds, isn’t there? Zeke hurdling an Eagle on primetime while the Cowboys were on a winning streak is a pretty glorious memory.
Hurdles are amazing any time they happen in the NFL, but this one was particularly impressive. Zeke got UP and did so with relative ease. The only thing that makes this play not the highlight of his career is that he ultimately did not score. Had he gotten into the endzone this play would be difficult to beat.
Aa lot of the greatness of this memory has to do with the run that the team was on at the time. This was still very early into the time after the Cowboys had traded for Amari Cooper and while he didn’t necessarily go off in this game, it was a hectic point for the franchise. Leighton Vander Esch announced himself to the world in this contest if that puts into perspective how long ago it was.
Ezekiel Elliott goes one-on-one with Malcolm Jenkins
A play that isn’t on this list is Ezekiel Elliott going toe-to-toe with Kam Chancellor during the third preseason week of his rookie year (nobody expects a preseason moment on this list). That moment was great because it showed the type of tenacity that Zeke had as a runner.
We have seen this disposition in different ways since that August day five years ago - sometimes via hurdles as noted - but it was particularly prevalent against the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019.
Elliott is not exactly a shy running back, and while he had already introduced himself to his division rivals several times to this point in his career, he had an extra special hello for Malcolm Jenkins on this particular evening.
Unlike the hurdle play in Philadelphia the Cowboys did score here which elevates its status as an all-time play. Zeke plowing through the face of the Eagles defense just before getting in the endzone truly is as good as it gets.
Hopefully there is more of the Elliott that was on display in these moments in the 2021 season for the Cowboys and beyond. The Cowboys are best when all of their players are at the top of their game. Here’s hoping that Zeke finds his form sometime soon.
As noted at the top, we will be doing this same exercise on the Blogging The Boys podcast network on all of our shows this week. On Tuesday myself and Tony Casillas will discuss Amari Cooper.