The Dallas Cowboys won their eighth straight game on Sunday, outlasting the Pittsburgh Steelers, 35-30, at Heinz Field. Ezekiel Elliott put on a show, rushing 21 times for 114 yards and two scores, including the game-winning 32-yard run with nine seconds to go. He also caught two balls for 95 yards, including an 83-yard touchdown catch-and-run – the longest play of his career.
Through nine games, Elliott has rushed 198 times for 1,005 yards (5.1 yards per carry) and nine touchdowns to go with 18 catches for 250 receiving yards and a touchdown. He has been, in short, the best back in football.
“To me, Ezekiel Elliott makes them go,” NFL on FOX analyst Charles Davis said on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones. “Dak Prescott is having a marvelous year, a phenomenal year, a beyond-expectations year. But to me, it all starts with Ezekiel Elliott. That’s why Dak is able to do a lot of the things that he’s able to do – because Zeke breaks people down running the football, getting defenses back on their heels, and that allows him to throw in any situation that’s favorable – much more than him having to throw on third-and-long on just about every possession. That’s why I would make Ezekiel Elliott an early line favorite for MVP of the league right now. I know it drives people crazy for a rookie to do that, but to me, he’s had that kind of impact.”
Prescott, meanwhile, had another efficient game. He finished 22-of-32 for 319 yards and two touchdowns, including a 50-yard bomb to Dez Bryant that put Dallas up 23-18 at the end of the third quarter.
The Cowboys (8-1) now have the best record in football and appear all but assured of a first-round bye.
“Let’s be honest: Who picked Dallas to have this record at this stage right now?” Davis asked. “I don’t think anyone did because we all thought they had too many problems defensively, and once Romo went out with a rookie quarterback, we just didn’t see it. Those two (Prescott and Elliott) have really changed the culture of the Dallas Cowboys and the expectations because now we see them as favorites just about every game.”
Dallas hosts Baltimore (5-4) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.