GREEN BAY, Wis. – Through their first four games, the Green Bay Packers had allowed an average of 43 rushing yards.
Sunday at Lambeau Field, Ezekiel Elliott had 60 by halftime – and he was just getting started.
Not even the Green Bay Packers' top-ranked run defense could slow the Cowboys' dynamic rookie. Elliott delivered his team-record fourth straight 100-yard rushing performance this season, carrying the ball 28 times for 157 yards in a 30-16 win.
He also set a league record against, on paper, his biggest challenge to date: he's the first rookie in NFL history to rush for at least 130 yards in four straight games.
"I need to thank my offensive line," Elliott said. "Those guys worked their tails off. They make it easy for me."
Just as he did during a decorated college career that led to a top-five draft selection, Elliott's making it look easy, too.
Sunday's key matchup was the Cowboys' leading run game against Green Bay's nearly unprecedented early-season run defense. Only one team since 1933 had allowed fewer yards than the Packers (171) through the first four games of a season.
Elliott nearly matched that total by himself. The Cowboys collectively gained 191 yards on 33 carries, including a 26-yard Lucky Whitehead run that set up a crucial touchdown just before halftime on a remarkable 97-yard, 33-second drive. It was the first 20-yard run Green Bay had yielded all season.
The Cowboys built a commanding 16-point lead early in the fourth quarter and Elliott helped run out the clock with 10 carries for 64 yards over those final 15 minutes. On the second drive of the fourth, leading 27-16, his game-best 29-yard run forced the Packers to start using up their timeouts.
"We're a physical team," Elliott said. "A lot of teams, they're not going to want to feel that physical presence for all four quarters. We're not going to back down. They know we're going to come out and run the ball no matter what front they bring."
Elliott's 703 rushing yards are the most by a Cowboys rookie in his first six games, and it's the second-most in league history: Eric Dickerson posted 787 on his way to the NFL single-season rookie rushing record.
Elliott has said before that he's focused on wins, not a record – and the Cowboys have won five straight due in large part to the offense's ability to control the line of scrimmage.
"They're a good defense. Their front is really good," tight end Jason Witten said. "But our offensive line, and give Zeke a lot of credit, too – he runs really hard, he sees those holes and hits them – but those guys understand the challenge week in and week out. You can't say enough great things about them."