SEATTLE – The Seattle Seahawks have a prideful defense with a championship pedigree, and clearly they were well aware Ezekiel Elliott's NFL debut was Thursday night's preseason game at CenturyLink Field.
You might say the Legion of Boom had some enthusiastic words for the Cowboys' dynamic rookie running back in between carries.
"Just the rookie talk," Elliott said. "They thought they had to welcome me in because I'm a rookie, so they were giving me all that rookie talk. But I had to let them know I belong here."
Elliott answered Seattle's veterans in more ways than one. He jawed back a little, and he delivered some runs that made him the fourth overall pick in April's draft.
In two series as the starting running back, Elliott carried the ball seven times for 48 yards (6.9-yard average) and picked up three first downs on the Cowboys' first touchdown drive in the first quarter of their 27-17 loss.
He displayed a blend of power and quickness, capturing the edge on a nine-yard run to the right sideline, then a play later lowering his shoulder and finishing a tough 13-yard gain into Seattle territory.
In that middle of that drive, Elliott also drew a personal foul penalty on Chancellor when the Seahawks' Pro Bowl safety hit him late following an incomplete pass from Dak Prescott.
"I don't know what that was," Elliott said. "That was a little dirty. But it was whatever."
The Cowboys got the ball at the Seattle 34-yard line and reached the end zone two plays later on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jason Witten.
Elliott exited the game after about a dozen snaps, right in line with how much head coach Jason Garrett expected to play the rookie after he missed the first two preseason games with a sore hamstring that sidelined him for most of training camp.
"He needed to play, and play consecutive plays," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. "The whole idea is that – we were going to limit his carries since it was his first game. But we wanted him to be able to sustain a good portion of a lengthy drive, and he was able to do that."
Elliott credited the Cowboys offensive line he called "the best O-Line in America" earlier in the week.
"I can only think of one run where someone tackled me that wasn't in the second level," he said. "When you're running on safeties all day it makes your job real easy."[embeddedad0]
The Cowboys drafted Elliott as a prospect who could play three downs and contribute as a runner, receiver and pass protector. He didn't catch a pass Thursday, but he did make an impressive block on Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright on the third play from scrimmage, clearing a path for Tony Romo before landed hard on his back and left the game on a Cliff Avril sack.
"We got kind of a complicated blitz there on the third play, and he came across and picked it up," Linehan said. "Rookies miss that a lot. He's making good progress there."
Elliott's workload for next week's preseason finale is uncertain, but he felt Thursday was a good start.
"It felt great to be out there," he said. "I've been waiting so long to put the pads back on and go against a different team."