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Zeke Focused On Playoff Chase, Not 1,000 Yards


FRISCO, Texas – Ezekiel Elliott sounds ready to finish the season strong.

The veteran running back is not listed on Wednesday's injury report after returning from a calf injury last Sunday to rush for a season-best 105 yards in the Cowboys' 37-17 win over the Eagles.

"I'm feeling good. I felt good after Sunday," he said. "I'd probably say Sunday I probably felt the freshest I've felt since that first Philly game (Nov. 1)."

With 937 yards through 14 starts, Elliott needs 63 yards in Sunday's regular-season finale against the Giants to reach 1,000 – a notable milestone for NFL running backs.

Elliott would join Hall of Famers Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett as the only Cowboys players with four 1,000-yard rushing seasons in their first five NFL seasons.

That's special company. But Elliott is more focused on trying to stay in the postseason chase. If the Cowboys (6-9) beat the Giants on the road Sunday, and if first-place Washington loses to the Eagles, the NFC East title would belong to Dallas.

"To get 1,000 yards, it would mean a lot. I'm not really worried about it. I want to win this football game and get a shot in the playoffs," he said. "But I mean, getting 1,000 yards in this league, it's not easy. It's definitely not easy. And it is an accomplishment, but it's not really something I'm focused on."

It's been a challenging season for Elliott and the entire offense. Starting quarterback Dak Prescott suffered a season-ending ankle injury in mid-October against the Giants. Injuries have forced the offensive line to field over 10 different starting combinations. Elliott has battled through hamstring and calf injuries, but he's also blamed himself for a career-high four lost fumbles.

The only time Elliott has missed 1,000 yards was 2017, when he missed six games due to NFL suspension. Reaching 1,000 this year, despite the above-mentioned adversity, would be significant to him.

But Elliott is about team goals first. He has said for weeks that the Cowboys still had playoff hope before this recent three-game win streak.

"It just definitely means a lot," he said. "It shows the type of men we have in this locker room just for us not to give up when everyone else counted us out and put ourselves in position to still have a shot at winning the NFC East."

The Cowboys will not finish the season with a winning record, but if they find a way to become division champs Sunday night, Elliott says records won't matter.

"A win is a win no matter how you get there. A win is a win," he said. "So if we win the division at 7-9, it's the same as winning it at 14-2. You're going to the playoffs with a 0-0 record. Winning the division, it doesn't matter what your record is. If you win it, you win it."

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