LANDOVER, Md. - Never.
That was Ezekiel Elliott's quick and blunt answer when asked to recall the last time he had fumbled twice in a game.
"It hasn't happened," Elliott said. "But that's on me. You can't lose the football."
Elliott actually only lost the ball once of his two second-half fumbles, but eventually lost his spot in the running back rotation. The Cowboys immediately replaced him with veteran Alfred Morris, who carried the ball the rest of the way, including the game-winning touchdown.
It was also Morris who took the carries on the Cowboys' final drive when they tried to run out the clock.
"He deserved it, he definitely deserved it," Elliott said of his veteran teammate closing out of the game. "We all go to work together and make each other better. We make each other better. I was glad to see him get in there."
But make no mistake, Elliott wasn't happy about the circumstances that put Morris in the game in the closer-role.
Asked to assess his performance, which included a career-high 83 rushing yards on 21 attempts, and his second touchdown in two weeks, Elliott said there wasn't a lot of good things to discuss.
"When you fumble twice, it's not good," he said. "The ball is the team. Got to protect it. That's on me."
Head coach Jason Garrett might have made the call to replace Elliott in the fourth quarter, but after the game, he made sure to point out the positives from the rookie's second career game.
"I thought he did a good job of running the football as the game wore on," Garrett said. "I thought he ran hard. He ran tough – a lot of dirty runs. Obviously you have to protect the football. That's Line 1 in football, and certainly Line 1 for a running back. He'll learn from the experiences."
It's unlikely the Cowboys will make any lineup changes for the starting position, but Morris could start getting more carries.
"The fumbles are disappointing but I know I'll learn from this and get better," Elliott said. "I'm going to come back this week and make sure I keep improving, and make sure that doesn't happen again."