Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott is taking blame for the Cowboys blowout loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Monday Night Football, and while there were a number of issues for the Cowboys on both sides of the ball, Elliott’s costly fumbles stand out.
Elliott is also brushing aside any excuse for the team’s performance being the loss of quarterback Dak Prescott for the season.
“I don’t think we can use that as an excuse,” Elliott said, according to ESPN’s Todd Archer.
Elliott rushed for 49 yards on 12 carries and caught a team-high eight passes for only 31 yards, but his fumbles on back-to-back drives in the first half changed the game.
“I mean, when you’re fumbling every game obviously teams are going to lock in on it and go for it even more,” Elliott said. “That’s even more of a reason I need to figure it out, man. I don’t want to keep talking about it, but I’ve got to figure out a way to figure it out.”
The Cowboys put in Tony Pollard as running back following Elliott’s second fumble, but Elliott would return to the game after eight snaps.
“Every player that plays in this league, no different on our football team, if you don’t take care of the football, it does affect your opportunities,” Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said. “Tony got an opportunity, and I thought he did some really good things with his opportunities.”
“I’m giving the ball away,” Elliott said. “I wasn’t helping my team. I think they did the right thing and gave some of those reps to [Pollard], but I can’t do that. I have to be a guy this team can lean on, especially at times like right now with so many of our starters hurt and not playing. So it’s not acceptable, and I need to figure it out.”
Elliott said that he does focus on keeping the ball tight in practice, and it is something that the team works on during drills in practice regularly.
“I just got to have a short memory,” Elliott said. “I’ve got to get that behind me and play some good ball and get on a roll.”
“At the end of the day, Zeke is our bell cow, and we need to get it right,” McCarthy said. “He’s part of the plan. He’s going to be part of the success. We have to get it right. We have to take care of the football, and that’s for everybody that touches the football on our team.”