Gi­ants know Prescott, El­liott a big chal­lenge

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Schuyler Dixon

frisco, texas» Ezekiel El­liott called him­self av­er­age af­ter the New York Gi­ants held him to less than 3 yards per carry in a loss in his NFL de­but with Dal­las.

The rookie run­ning back hasn’t had to de­scribe him­self that way since the 20-19 loss in Week 1. The Cow­boys haven’t lost, ei­ther.

“It was def­i­nitely frus­trat­ing, be­cause it was not how I imag­ined it,” said El­liott, who gets another shot at the Gi­ants as Dal­las (11-1) chases a fran­chise-record 12th straight win and the NFC East ti­tle Sun­day night. “But I think it def­i­nitely helped shape me into the player I am to­day and put a chip on my shoul­der early this sea­son to go out there and get things right.”

Fel­low rookie Dak Prescott also de­buted as the re­place­ment for the in­jured Tony Romo. He left an im­pres­sion with the Gi­ants (8-4) de­spite the loss, which ended when the clock ran out with Dal­las scram­bling to get into po­si­tion for a field goal af­ter re­ceiver Ter­rance Wil­liams didn’t get out of bounds on a com­ple­tion.

Three months later, New York doesn’t ex­actly seem sur­prised that Prescott has led the Cow­boys to a com­fort­able divi­sion lead with a strong chance to se­cure home-field ad­van­tage through­out the NFC play­offs.

Af­ter ad­mit­tedly fo­cus­ing on El­liott and forc­ing a new quar­ter­back to beat them, the Gi­ants re­al­ize it might not be quite as easy to keep El­liott some­where around the sea­son low of 51 yards he had in the first meet­ing, while pre­vent­ing big plays down­field from Prescott.

The Gi­ants will be with­out pass rusher Ja­son Pierre-Paul, who could miss the rest of the sea­son af­ter surgery for a sports her­nia. But the Cow­boys don’t ex­pect the ap­proach to change.

“They’ve had good rush­ers there for 60 years,” Dal­las coach Ja­son Gar­rett said.

The Gi­ants will still have their eyes on El­liott, the NFL’s lead­ing rusher with 1,285 yards.

“You re­ally don’t change much week to week, no mat­ter the op­po­nent,” de­fen­sive tackle Da­mon Har­ri­son said. “It is still the same thing for the de­fen­sive line: stop the run, set the edge, build the wall. But when you play a back like Ezekiel, then you have to do some mi­nor tweaks in your as­sign­ments.”

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