Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott was one of his team's few bright spots during Sunday's 24-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, but not even 127 rushing yards were enough to stop him from pointing to two important mistakes and shouldering the blame for the defeat.
"I had a poor performance today," Elliott said, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. "Did well in the run game, but overall, I dropped the ball. That loss is on me."
Even while averaging 7.9 yards per carry, the Ohio State product had a 31-yard touchdown reception called back because he stepped out of bounds prior to the catch. He also fumbled in the fourth quarter when the Cowboys were driving.
"I had no idea [I was out of bounds]," Elliott said of the missed touchdown chance. "That's on me. I've got to have better awareness of the sideline. That's it."
Dallas is now 1-2, but it is still just a game out of first place in the NFC East with a 1-0 divisional record in the early going.
Despite his mistakes, Elliott's performance was something of a silver lining with his team's most important football to come. His 7.9 yards per carry and explosiveness were welcome signs after he averaged just 4.6 yards per carry in each of the first two contests. With Jason Witten retired and Dez Bryant no longer on the roster, the Cowboys need Elliott to take the pressure off quarterback Dak Prescott.
If he plays like the version of himself on display Sunday—outside of the fumble and stepping out of bounds—defenses will be forced to pull the safeties and linebackers closer to the line of scrimmage.
That will in turn open up passing lanes for Prescott, who had two interceptions in Sunday's loss and is yet to throw for more than 170 yards in a game this season.
The Cowboys and their fans will surely forgive Elliott for Sunday's mistakes if he continues to run like he did against the Seahawks.