FRISCO, Texas – Most of the players had the same reaction when asked about the uniqueness of playing in an empty stadium last week.
For the most part, it didn't seem to be a big distraction. But apparently, Ezekiel Elliott didn't share those same thoughts.
The Cowboys running back arguably had the best day of any player on the roster, but he did admit it was a strange atmosphere, especially someone who feeds off the energy of the crowd.
Zeke, who called the entire game at SoFi Stadium "weird," said the lack of noise might have even helped get him into the end zone.
"On my first touchdown …I think because it was so quiet, a lot of those guys didn't even know I had the ball – like, they didn't even know the play was still going," Elliott said. "It's just weird. When you see a big play pop off, you're so used to hearing the crowd roar or something, but it's just weird. When you have a long play, you're like 'Wait a minute, was there a flag or something?' Because there's no noise. So it's going to take some getting used to."
On that exact play, Elliott was able to avoid at least four Rams defenders en route to the end zone.
"We had vertical routes to that side, and everyone ran with that speed and left me to check down wide open. When I got the ball, I really was just going to attack the sideline," Zeke explained. "So I started running up the sidelines to attack the sidelines, then I saw that a couple of players were over pursuing a little bit, so I slammed on the brakes, made a couple of guys miss and finished in the end zone."
Whether or not the empty stadium helped or hurt the Cowboys throughout the game, that won't be the case on Sunday. AT&T Stadium will have at least a few fans in the stands, enough to probably make a noticeable difference this week.
"It was really strange playing with no fans. I think it will be an advantage just because you will get some crowd noise, but I'm not really sure how many fans we'll get to have," Zeke said. "I don't know if it will be enough to make that much of a difference. But it was definitely weird kind of being out there and just kind of having stale air. In that environment, especially when they're not playing any crowd noise, you really got to bring your own juice, you got to create your own energy. You can't rely on the crowd to kind of feed that to you, so you just have to know mentally that you're going to have to create your own juice going into the game."
Elliott certainly provided plenty of juice for the offense, rushing for 96 yards with a touchdown to go along with 31 receiving yards and another touchdown.
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