Nobody’s stopped Ezekiel Elliott this season.
Neither did a minor car accident on Wednesday that made Dallas Cowboys coach Jason Garrett’s heart skip a beat.
“I guess it did, but I quickly learned it was just a fender-bender and it wasn’t (serious),” Garrett said during a midday Wednesday conference call. “I don’t think it was a mile from our facility. We talked to him soon after that and he probably was here 20 minutes after the accident.”
Elliott will be the runaway winner of NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors. He rushed for a league-high 1,631 yards, averaged 5.1 yards per carry and scored a total of 16 touchdowns. That includes a 157-yard day against the Packers in Week 6. Elliott carried the ball 28 times in that game. That wasn’t quite a typical day at the office for the rampaging rookie, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary, either.
In Elliott’s first 14 games, he averaged 22.1 carries and had at least 20 carries in 12 of those games. Even after carrying just 12 times against Detroit in Week 16 and getting the day off in the meaningless regular-season finale against Philadelphia, Elliott finished the season with a league-high 322 carries. That was the 10th-most carries by a rookie in NFL history.
Just like the car accident, the workload hardly slowed him down. If there was a “rookie wall,” Elliott ran it over just like he’s done with so many defenders. In Week 14 against the Giants, Elliott rushed for 107 yards. In Week 15 against the Buccaneers, he rushed for a season-high 159 yards and averaged 6.9 yards per carry. In Week 16, he rushed for 80 yards and averaged 6.7 yards per carry against Detroit.
After getting a season-low 12 carries against Detroit, being inactive for the finale against the Eagles and then getting a first-round bye, Elliott will be in peak condition for Sunday’s rematch against the Packers.
“I think it was important for him,” Garreett said. “He’s a young guy. He handled the workload really well, but any time you get a chance to give your guys a chance to freshen up a little bit, I think it helps you.”
Elliott saw the benefit of the bye week, too.
“I think the bye was helpful for all of us,” he said in his conference call. “We had a lot of guys banged up and injured. It seems like everyone is back this week. So, I think today was probably the best (practice) that we’ve had all year. We look really fresh, really energized and really ready to come out and play Sunday.”
Bill Huber is publisher of PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PackerReport.