Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott Responds to Being Benched for Fumbling Issues: ‘I want to say I’m sorry’
Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott Responds to Being Benched for Fumbling Issues
There he was, the $90 million running back relegated defenseless on the sideline, forced to watch his $675,000 understudy take figurative food off his proverbial plate. It may have gone unnoticed to the untrained eye that Dallas Cowboys star Ezekiel Elliott was benched in the second quarter of Monday’s 38-10 loss to Arizona, sat down by head coach Mike McCarthy after coughing up his second fumble of the game — the continuance of a disturbing pattern for the three-time Pro Bowler.
ARLINGTON, Texas — Even after the Cowboys’ 38-10 loss to the Cardinals had mercifully ended, Ezekiel Elliott was still fumbling.
At this late hour, it wasn’t the ball. The Cowboys’ three-time Pro Bowl running back was now fumbling to find the right words to explain his turnover trend. “I can’t really—even—um—I don’t know why,” Elliott said after losing two fumbles in one day for the first time in his career and now four total this season.
Elliott settled on an apology.
“I want to say I’m sorry,” he said, “and this one’s on me. I need to be better for this team.”
Elliott knew the Cowboys were relying on him to elevate his game after quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending compound fracture and dislocation of his right ankle last week. Instead, he and replacement quarterback Andy Dalton combined for four turnovers to increase the 2-4 Cowboys’ total to a league-high 15.
“We’re the worst in the league taking care of the football,” head coach Mike McCarthy said. “It’s frustrating.”
Elliott’s woes came first and, as he’d later say, “killed our momentum.” The Cowboys’ defense had posted its best first quarter of the season, holding an opponent scoreless in that stretch for the first time all season.
But the Cowboys offense mustered no points in the first quarter, either. And with 2:44 to play in the first, Dalton shoveled a short pass up the middle to Elliott as the Cardinals defense closed in on the pocket. Cardinals safety Budda Baker wrapped Elliott, who was carrying the ball loosely, just below the waist. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips recovered the fumble.
Arizona’s offense then ripped off an 11-play drive, capped by a 6-yard Christian Kirk touchdown on a jet sweep.
“We’ve been putting our defense in bad situations,” Dalton said. “When you do that, you’re going to make it hard on yourself to win these games.”
The Cowboys offense returned to the field, now in a 7-0 hole.
On the second snap of the drive, Elliott pushed up the middle with a carry only to find himself wrapped up by Phillips, whose arm knocked the ball loose again. Cornerback Byron Murphy recovered, setting up a 49-yard field on which the Cardinals would score their second touchdown. Elliott took the hand the ball escaped from and angrily slapped the side of his helmet.