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Ezekiel Elliott on Dallas debut: 'I think I was average'

Ezekiel Elliott took a handoff left on Sunday, found an opening off-tackle right, burst through the hole and dove toward the goal line. Touchdown, Dallas Cowboys.

Other than that moment, Elliott feels like he wasn't much of a factor in the Cowboys' 20-19 loss to the New York Giants.

Elliott finished with 51 yards and that touchdown on 20 carries. His longest carry of the day was also that score, which went for eight yards. It wasn't reminiscient of the broken tackles and long runs that made him a star at Ohio State, and the fourth-overall pick in the 2016 draft.

But even after Dallas watched its lead slip away and failed to complete a last-ditch comeback, the onus doesn't fall strictly on Elliott. He was a sweetheart selection for Offensive Rookie of the Year after considering the offensive line behind which he will run. Fifty-one yards won't put that award on his mantle. New York's front seven was no slouch on Sunday, though, stymying Elliott (and at times, Alfred Morris) for much of the afternoon.

Add in the fact it was Dak Prescott's first start, and a Giants defense that might end up being better than expected -- it sure did its job late in the fourth Sunday -- and the conclusion is that it was an all-around odd game. Low-scoring, back-and-forth affairs tend to feel like that. And when Terrance Williams' fateful decision to stay in bounds produced its inevitable result, it left everyone in Dallas feeling a bit shortchanged, Elliott included. Fortunately for them, it's only Week 1.

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