Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott on fumbles: 'I can't give up the ball anymore'
The Dallas Cowboys offense put up outrageous, league-leading figures through four weeks. It also is tied for a league-high in another category: turnovers.
The Cowboys’ nine giveaways through four games sit tied for the most in the NFL — unsurprisingly, fellow disappointing NFC East rival Philadelphia joins them with nine. With a defense that has only generated two takeaways, Mike McCarthy’s team has the worst turnover differential in the NFL at -7.
The two biggest culprits have been quarterback Dak Prescott (three INTs, three fumbles) and Ezekiel Elliott (two lost fumbles). When a unit’s two best players are giving the ball away frequently, a 1-3 record shouldn’t be a surprise.
“I can’t give up the ball anymore,” Elliott said bluntly Wednesday, via the team’s official website.
Zeke has fumbled three times, with the Cowboys losing two. It’s uncharacteristic of the Pro Bowl runner, after he had three total fumbles all of last season and 15 over his first four seasons entering 2020.
Elliott’s fumbles the past two weeks have helped contribute to deficits that got the offense out of sync.
“It hurts,” Elliott said. “I look at myself as a leader for this team. And I look at myself as someone who’s supposed to help pick the team up when we get down and not be the cause of falling behind.”
Elliott’s fumble in Sunday 49-38 loss to Cleveland came one possession after Prescott was sacked and fumbled. The two botches led to 14 points for the Browns as the Cowboys got down 31-14 at halftime.
“The fumble in Cleveland, I think once I rolled over and my butt was on his head I kind of eased up and that gave him the opportunity to take the ball out,” Elliott recalled. “I just got to focus and work on it in practice and make sure I’m keeping that ball tight.”
Getting down big early has led to an unbalanced Cowboys offense. Elliott has fewer than 100 rush yards in all four games this season, the first time that’s happened in his career. The RB currently has career-lows in carries per game (17.5), rushing yards per game (68.3) and yards per carry (3.9).
The Cowboys have led for a grand total of seven of their 313 offensive snaps in 2020, the lowest percentage in the NFL.
“We’re turning the ball over, giving them short fields, and putting them in position to go score and get leads on us,” Elliott said. “We’ve just got to take care of the ball early in the game.”
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