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Cowboys’ Elliott, league’s rushing leader, faces biggest test yet

It took four weeks, but Ezekiel Elliott’s name has risen to the top of the league’s rushing list. It’s exactly what the Cowboys envisioned when they used the fourth overall choice for him.

Run, Zeke, run. See Zeke run.

“He’s done a great job,” quarterback Dak Prescott said. “We just come in each and every day at practice and work our tails off. The way he’s running is a testament to the way he practices.”

Elliott has rushed for 412 yards on 94 carries. He leads Cleveland’s Isaiah Crowell by 18 yards.

“It means a lot,” Elliott said. “But it’s really not that important. We really only just finished Week 4. So many more football games to be played. Just [good] to be kind of off to a good start, to finally get it rolling and getting everything, the ball moving downhill.”

The Cowboys have run the ball 140 times. They have attempted 137 passes.

It harkens back to 2014 when the Cowboys had a nearly perfect 50-50 balance. DeMarco Murray, who led the league in rushing, started the season with eight consecutive 100-yard games. He rushed for 534 yards in the first four games.


We’re not going to change up anything for any particular team. We’re going to go out there and do what we do. Cowboys rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott

“There’s some similarities,” Cowboys offensive guard Zack Martin said. “We definitely don’t want to look back and compare, especially to two years ago. That’s the past. But we’ve done a good job of executing up to this point, and we’ve got a big challenge this weekend.”

The Bengals have not allowed a 100-yard rusher or a rushing touchdown this season. They allowed only one 100-yard rusher last season. Seattle running back Thomas Rawls gained 169 yards on 23 carries on Oct. 11, 2015.

“We’re going to go out there and play Cowboy football,” Elliott said. “We’re not going to change up anything for any particular team. We’re going to go out there and do what we do.”

After rushing for 134 yards on 41 carries in the first two games, Elliott has picked up the pace the past two weeks. He gained 278 yards on 53 carries against the Bears and 49ers.

“It’s getting better and better,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said of Elliott’s decision-making. “We talked about it from the outset, the importance of patience in our running game with all style of runs. It’s all coordinated. There’s timing to it. There are landmarks to it. And you have to be disciplined to those things as the play starts, and then once the play develops, you have to go be a football player, and he’s pretty good at that. No question about that.

“You have to be disciplined to their alignments, the assignments we have on offense, where the initial aiming point of the run is. There’s no question he’s gotten better and better with that, and the pace that he has, getting to the holes has gotten significantly better over the last four games.”


Cowboys vs. Bengals

3:25 p.m., Sunday, KTVT/11

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