FRISCO, Texas – There probably aren't many backs in NFL history who have twice as many rushing titles as he has playoff games.
But that's the situation for Ezekiel Elliott, who is coming off his second NFL rushing crown despite not even suiting up for the regular-season finale last week against the Giants.
But Elliott, who talked to reporters for several minutes on Tuesday this week to begin the new year, wasn't focused so much on winning that rushing title as he was playing Saturday night against the Seahawks.
In fact, with only one other playoff game under his belt, there isn't much for Elliott to draw from in terms of postseason experience.
But he does understand that getting off to a good start should be the biggest key.
"I think two years ago, with that playoff loss we had, the offense came out slow and didn't have a great start," said Elliott, recalling the 2016 Divisional loss to Green Bay, who jumped out to a 21-3 lead. "It's important for us to come out hot and ready to go."
And if anyone should be ready, it would be Elliott, who was purposely held out of last Sunday's win over the Giants to rest. Zeke has 381 touches this year, including a franchise-record 77 catches, the most ever in a season by a Cowboys running back.
But he said he was thankful for the time off, especially knowing what is likely ahead of him.
"Going into these playoffs, I know I'm going to probably have the heaviest workload I've had all season," Elliott said. "It's great getting fresh and ready going into the last stretch of the season and ready for whatever they throw at me."
And judging by the results, that wouldn't be a bad decision for the Cowboys to keep feeding the ball to Zeke.
In the six losses this year, Elliott is averaging 19.5 touches, which is a combination of both rushing attempts and receptions. However, in the nine victories (excluding last week's game in New York in which Zeke didn't play), Elliott is averaging 28.2 touches. In an overtime win over the Eagles last month, Elliott had 40 touches, including a career-high 12 receptions.
Success or not, Elliott knows that getting to the postseason means it is time to crank up the intensity.
"It's hard to make the playoffs in the NFL. It makes the moment every more important," Elliott said. "I live for these moments. I love it. I can't wait to compete on Saturday night. I think this team is ready.
"In the playoffs, you have to make sure we come out early in the game and set the tone and gain some momentum. You have to make every possession count and every play count."