Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys line taking poor outing personally, plan bounce back vs. Packers

Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys line taking poor outing personally, plan bounce back vs. Packers

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FRISCO, Texas — Running back Ezekiel Elliott is making no excuses for his poor production in last Sunday's 12-10 loss to the Saints.

Besides, no one wants to hear excuses from a man with a six-year, $90 million contract.

Elliott can buy it all and is owning it all and hopes to bounce back with a strong performance Sunday vs. the Green Bay Packers, whose questionable run defense is a welcomed sight.

The Packers are 26th in the NFL against the run, giving up an average of 142.3 yards per game.

"Some teams have had some good running games against them," Elliott said. "But we've got to go out there and play our football. I'm not really too focused on them, just focused on us and going out there and getting better as a team and getting a W."

The Cowboys didn't play their brand of football against the Saints as the two-time NFL rushing champion had 18 carries on 35 yards, largely due to the worst performance by the Cowboys offensive line in recent memory.

His average of 1.9 yards per carry is the second worst of his career behind the nine carries for 8 yards against the Broncos in 2017 when the Cowboys had to abandon the run game because of an early blowout deficit.

Never has he been so bad with 10 or more carries and the game still in the balance through four quarters than against the Saints.

But Elliott never had a chance against a Saints front that stayed in the backfield all night.

"We didn't execute as well as we need to," Elliott said. "We didn't come out there and start fast. We didn't execute. We didn't establish the line of scrimmage, so we've got in the film room to see what we need to improve on. Now, we've just got to go to work and prepare for Sunday."

Elliott refused to point fingers at his offensive line. But center Travis Frederick and guard Zack Martin acknowledged they got whipped up front for the first time in a long time.

"You are going to have those games," said Frederick, who played at the University of Wisconsin. "It's also a great reminder that we have to be at the top of our game at all times. We can't have those games where we are good but we are not great. We can't be below average. As a group, we have been better than that. We need to be better than that."

Elliott also took ownership of a drive-killing fumble in the second quarter against the Saints that turned into a game-deciding field goal, despite replays showing his elbow was down before the ball came out.

"I mean, I don't really think it matters whether my elbow was down or not," Elliott said. "It's my job not to leave it up to the refs. It's my job to make sure I possess the ball through that play, so there's not even a chance for them to call a fumble. My elbow may or may not have been down, but one thing I can control is holding onto the ball."

Elliott — who lost just four fumbles since his rookie season in 2016, one in every 235 carries — says he has to hold the ball tighter.

Elliott plans to hold the ball tighter and be better against the Packers because history has dictated as much. He has traditionally followed up a bad game with a pretty good one.

And the Packers and their suspect run defense present a prime opportunity for him and the Cowboys offense to continue that trend and make amends for the Saints performance.

"You definitely take it personally, because we didn't expect to go out there and only put up 10 points," Elliott said. "You've got to take it personally, but you've also got to take what you've learned from the game and move on. You can't go out there and do too much. You've just got to go out there and be yourself.

"We're onto a new opponent, a new team this week, and it's a different obstacle, so we've just got to figure out the best way to overcome this one."

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