LANDOVER, Md. – Ezekiel Elliott delivered his third straight 100-yard rushing performance in Sunday's 33-19 win over the Washington Redskins at FedExField.
The Cowboys' running game looked as powerful as it's been since Elliott won the NFL rushing title as a rookie last season.
Will he remain on the field to sustain that momentum?
As the Cowboys (4-3) return home following a critical division victory, eyes now turn to the latest domino in Elliott's ongoing NFL suspension case: Monday's court hearing in New York that will determine whether the second-year running back gets a preliminary injunction blocking his six-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy.
Elliott told reporters he'll be in New York for the hearing. An injunction would pave the way for him to continue playing for the foreseeable future. No injunction would pave the way for Elliott's suspension to be reinstated – again.
Earlier this month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated the injunction Elliott secured in September. However, a New York district judge granted Elliott a temporary restraining order that once again blocked his suspension until the Oct. 30 hearing on the injunction. Elliott told reporters Sunday that he and his legal team are confident in their argument.
"We need him," Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said Sunday. "But what is important is that he gets a fair shake."
Elliott's suspension, first handed down in August, concluded the league's year-long investigation into July 2016 domestic violence allegations against him by a former girlfriend. Elliott has adamantly denied those allegations, and in September 2016, the Columbus (Ohio) City Attorney's Office announced that he would not face charges. A player can still face punishment from the league under its personal conduct policy even if he is cleared of legal charges, however.
Though not involved in the legal process, Jones and the Cowboys have expressed support for Elliott throughout this process as he has played in each of the first seven games.
"I've said before, the ownership, the coaching staff, my teammates, they've played a big role of just allowing me to focus on this game and focus on what I need to be for this team," Elliott said. I thank them for that."
Focus certainly wasn't an issue for Elliott against Washington – even though his day started with a turnover in rainy conditions.
The Redskins knocked the ball loose from Elliott on the first play from scrimmage and took over at the Cowboys' 29-yard line, leading to a field goal.
"We say we you've got that ball in your hands, that's the team," Elliott said. "So, you've got to protect it."
The All-Pro back didn't fumble on the rest of his 33 total carries. He gained a season-high 150 yards and scored two touchdowns. As the rain intensified, he said he could barely hold onto the ball with two hands late in the game as the offense attempted to run out the clock.
Over the past three games, Elliott has averaged 137.7 rushing yards. In the first four games, he averaged 69.3.
Clearly, Elliott and the Cowboys' talented offensive line are finding a rhythm.
"They did a great job controlling that line of scrimmage," he said.
The Cowboys certainly hope Elliott will be eligible to continue running behind them after Monday's critical appeals hearing.