ARLINGTON -- Amazing as it sounds, somehow on Sunday night the Dallas Cowboys apparently forgot about the Ezekiel Elliott.
Then they remembered to call on the rookie running back from Ohio State during their electric 29-23 overtime win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
The AT&T Stadium sellout crowd off 93,103 must have wondered why the Cowboys strayed far away from the running game in favor as a passing attack that wasn’t faring very well. Since the Washington Redskins piled up 230 yards rushing on just 33 carries against Philadelphia just two weeks ago, it was generally assumed that the Cowboys would pound the Eagles with a steady diet of rushes.
But for some reason, the Cowboys didn’t go to Elliott as much as they had in recent weeks.
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However, in the overtime period when the Cowboys won the coin toss, they used Elliott almost extensively and never allowed the Eagles to take possession of the ball. With runs – and receptions -- by Elliott setting the tone, the Cowboys went on to pad their NFC East-leading record to 6-1.
"We're resilient -- one word, resilient,’’ Elliott said. "We're a close group of guys.
"We're not going to let anything come between us. We'll go out there and lay it all on the line for each other.’’
In the overtime session, Elliott laid it all on the line and busted loose for a 12-yard run which got the Cowboys to the Philadelphia 14. He then caught a 9-yard swing pass, giving the Cowboys possession at the Eagle 5-yard line.
From there, Dak Prescott shook off his worst game of his young career to fire a 5-yard TD to a wide open Jason Witten for the game-winning points.
"I'm tired, so tired,’’ Elliott said. "I just kind of wanted to collapse when (Witten) caught it.
"It was great for him to catch the game winner. It's the game he broke the record for the most games played by a Cowboy, so it was a perfect story."
Despite not getting the ball much earl on, Elliott finished the game with 96 yards rushing on 22 carries. He also caught four passes for 52 yards.
Elliott entered the pivotal game against the Philadelphia Eagles as the NFL’s top rusher with 703 yards. That includes going four straight games while rushing for 130 or more yards.
But in the first half against the Eagles, Elliott had just eight rushes for 52 yards. In addition, he rushed just twice for 12 yards in the second quarter, which is unusual considering the impact he’s had on the Cowboys’ season.
Elliott, in fact didn’t get his first rushing attempt of the second quarter until there were nearly just three minutes remaining in the first half.
Elliott would have reached the 130-yard plateau if not for yet another penalty by the sloppy Cowboys. Late in the fourth quarter, Elliott scooted around the left side and darted 63 yards to the Philadelphia 15.
However, the play was wiped out after Travis Frederick was flagged for a holding penalty. But the end result is what Elliott mostly concentrated on.
"They feed off me, I feed off them, the defense feeds off the offense and we feed off them,’’ Elliott said. "That's what happens when you have the chemistry, when the team is close.
"It's just an example of how close we are."
Overall, the Cowboys accumulated 187 yards rushing on 34 carries as they rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun the Eagles. But that rally wouldn’t have been complete if not for the Cowboys finally turning back to Elliott to give them some balance.
"It was a tough, gritty game,’’ Elliott said. "We made a lot of mistakes, we didn't play close to perfect, but all that matters is we got the win.
"I think it feels good to see this team come back from a deficit and get that win.’’
It was the sixth straight win for the Cowboys, who go on the road next week to face the winless Cleveland Browns (0-8).
"We have a lot of momentum and we're rolling right now, so we have to build on that and I think it was good that we had a tough game,’’ Elliott said. "It was good that we didn't have the best game, a perfect game.
"But we got something to go watch film on and work on.’’