There is something not quite right with Ezekiel Elliott in 2020. It might be that the league's two-time rushing champ is in his head and overthinking while carrying the ball -- commonly referred to as the "yips" -- or the simpler explanation could be his beloved sleeves are creating a problem when it comes to holding onto the ball. Usually one of the more sure-handed ball carriers in the entire league, Elliott fumbled twice in the first half against the Arizona Cardinals, crippling the Dallas Cowboys and helping Kyler Murray blast off to a 14-0 lead.
It was Elliott's fourth and fifth fumble of the young 2020 season, and he's lost four of the five, continuing an overall rash of giveaways by the Cowboys. For perspective, Elliott had just three fumbles in 16 games last season. He's nearly doubled that total in just six games in 2020.
"It hurts," Elliott said two weeks ago, following the Week 4 loss to the Cleveland Browns. "I look at myself as a leader for this team, and I look at myself as someone who's supposed to help pick the team up when we get down and not be the cause of falling behind."
He vowed to clean up the errors.
"I can't give up the ball anymore," the All-Pro said.
Spoiler: He has, in fact, not cleaned it up, and his frustration is beginning to boil over visibly.
"It's not acceptable and it's something I gotta figure out," he said after the Cardinals shellacking of the Cowboys, via Jon Machota of The Athletic. "I don't know. I need to figure something out. ... I want to say I'm sorry.
"This one is on me. I have to be better for this team."
Elliott's woes in the category aren't exclusive to him though, and that's put the already struggling Cowboys defense in an even tighter vice on a weekly basis. Opponents have now scored a league-high 84 points after taking the ball away from Dallas, and Mike McCarthy's bunch has not only been poor at taking the ball back from the opposition, but they've only scored a league-worst three points themselves off of takeaways. It's a recipe for disaster and a key reason they're now 2-4 on the season despite having the No. 1 offense in the league -- albeit also the sloppiest when it comes to taking care of the ball.
Through six weeks of football, the Cowboys are -12 in turnovers, and they show no sign of improvement. Until they do, and that means Elliott chipping in to help keep the ball in the hands of the offense going forward, figuring out how to win games will continue to be a tough road to hoe in Dallas.