ARLINGTON, Texas – Jason Garrett had a decision to make. Not that he had to think long.
Facing fourth-and-1 from the Philadelphia Eagles' 19-yard line in overtime Sunday, the Cowboys' head coach decided to put the ball in Ezekiel Elliott's hands.
"We feel like our runner is the best runner in the league," Garrett said. "Guys came off the ball and move them, and Zeke did the rest of it."
Elliott cut left and stretched for the necessary yard. Three plays later, quarterback Dak Prescott found receiver Amari Cooper in the end zone to beat the Eagles, 29-23, at AT&T Stadium.
Garrett could have opted for a field goal try on fourth down, but per overtime rules, Philadelphia would have gotten a chance to tie or win the game. Only a touchdown on the opening drive would end it.
So, Garrett went to Elliott.
What's the 23-year-old's mindset in those situations?
"Give me the rock," he told reporters post-game.
Elliott delivered once again Sunday with a career-high 40 touches on offense: 28 carries for 113 yards and 12 catches out of 13 targets for 79 yards. He credited the offensive line for continuing to create lanes for him.
He missed a handful of plays early in the fourth quarter with what he described as a stinger after colliding with an Eagles defender during a 14-yard reception. The officiating crew penalized Elliott 15 yards for lowering his head to initiate contact, but he got the worst of the exchange, briefly losing feeling in his arm, he said.
"By the time I was back in, it was good," he said.
Elliott looked refreshed by the 10-day break since the Cowboys' last game against New Orleans. He'd gotten 74 touches (72 carries and 2 catches) in the previous three games over an 11-day span.
The Cowboys (8-5) needed a heavy workload from him again Sunday to get their fifth straight win and move closer to the NFC East title.
"I'll do anything for these guys," he said. "These guys inspire me the way they fight, and I'm going to go out there and fight for them."