The Dallas Cowboys gave Ezekiel Elliott Week 15 off, and it paid off this past Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Dallas Cowboys faced a do-or-die situation in Week 16 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Had the Cowboys lost, they’d officially be eliminated from the NFC East sweepstakes. That didn’t happen, as Dallas handedly won 37-17, thanks in part to the play of quarterback Andy Dalton, and a fully rejuvenated Ezekiel Elliott following his week off.
On Monday, head coach Mike McCarthy said that giving Elliott Week 15 off to recover from his calf injury “helped him immensely,” which helped him have his grand performance on Sunday.
Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy on RB Ezekiel Elliott (calf): "There's no doubt the week off helped him immensely." Looked fresher in practice. Carried over into game.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) December 28, 2020
Elliott had his best game of the season
Elliott had been playing with a nagging calf injury, and reports indicated that he would be active for Dallas’ Week 15 contest against the San Francisco 49ers. Instead, McCarthy listed Elliott as inactive, making this the first missed game of his five-year career.
During Dallas’ crucial win over the Eagles, Elliott rushed for a season-high 105 yards on 19 carries, while catching four passes from Dalton for 39 yards. In fact, Elliott’s 31-yard run in the fourth quarter was his longest of the season.
Prior to this game, Elliott had struggled to put up his usual numbers as he did in previous seasons. That can be attributed to the fact that Elliott was banged up, relied on more heavily with quarterback Dak Prescott lost for the season and the offensive line was riddled with injuries. It certainly didn’t help that Elliott had turnover issues, as he lost a career-high four fumbles. Things were looking so bleak, that many were calling on the Cowboys to trade him next offseason.
Give major credit to McCarthy for making the conscientious decision to give Elliott a week off for rest and relaxation. It did wonders for the team and Elliott’s confidence. Now, the Cowboys will look to carry this momentum into Week 17, where they face off against the New York Giants. If they win and the Washington Football Team loses to the Eagles, then the Cowboys will be NFC East champions.