Ezekiel Elliott only played 10 snaps for the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. But he got plenty of action.
Eight of those 10 snaps saw Elliott either run the ball or catch it out of the backfield. Elliott finished with 18 rushing yards on six carries, and had six receiving yards on two receptions. The Cowboys’ offense had a total of 12 snaps on their opening series.
Darren McFadden replaced Elliott for the second series.
Elliott, 22, is facing a six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, stemming from domestic violence allegations made against him in July 2016. Elliott is appealing the suspension and it will be heard on Tuesday in New York. Harold Henderson is serving as the arbitrator.
Elliott didn’t face any legal charges for the alleged incidents when the Columbus, Ohio city prosecutor’s office declined to pursue charges because of “inconsistent” information from the victim. But the NFL,which has a lower burden of proof, felt it had enough evidence of three instances where Elliott used physical force.
Elliott strongly disagrees with the league’s stance and is hopeful to get it overturned. He could pursue other legal action if Henderson doesn’t reduce it or overturn it to his liking. Owner Jerry Jones hasn’t commented much on the suspension and is in a wait-and-see mode with how the appeals process goes.
The Cowboys have been preparing as though Elliott will be ready to go Week 1, but feel confident about their running back depth should Elliott miss games. McFadden and Alfred Morris are the primary backups.
But there’s no question Elliott is expected to play a critical role in the Cowboys’ offense. Saturday showcased that with the ball going his way in 80 percent of the snaps he played.
The Cowboys opened the game with three straight carries to Elliott, who picked up 10 yards for a first down. Elliott is also expected to become a bigger part of the passing game, and that was evident when Dak Prescott went his way twice.
The only two plays that didn’t go Elliott’s way when he was in were a run by Prescott and a 10-yard pass from Prescott to tight end Jason Witten.
Elliott is the reigning NFL rushing champ after posting 1,631 yards as a rookie. He carried it 322 times and scored 15 touchdowns.