Landover — In sloppy conditions, when controlling the ball was at a premium, the Cowboys leaned heavily on running back Zeke Elliott in their 33-19 victory over Washington.
Now the Cowboys and their fanbase wait to see if the dominating performance will be his last for quite some time.
Elliott ran for a season-high 150 yards on a career-high 33 carries. And when the game was on the line, Elliott had the ball in his hands.
“When we were trying to run the time out I barely could hold on to the ball even with two hands,” said Elliott. “We always talk about when you've got that ball in your hands that's the team, and so you've got to protect it.”
The reliance on Elliott again showed the massive impact he has on this team's chances for success.
But now, his circumstance shifts 180 degrees. Instead of being the one in control, Elliott returns to the courtroom Monday where he says he really has no say.
“I mean it's really out of my hands," he said. "There's nothing more I can control, just trust my legal team, trust that they're going to do their job and make sure I'm on the field next week."
Instead of returning to Dallas with his teammates, Elliott will go to Manhattan to appear in front of a judge at the U.S. district court for the Southern District of New York. Judge Katherine Polk Failla will hold a hearing Monday afternoon to determine if he'll be granted a preliminary injunction that would presumably allow him to play the remainder of the season.
"I think we're confident," said Elliott. "We're confident in our argument. We're confident we'll be on the field for the rest of the year."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones doubled down on his claim that his second-year star is innocent, saying, "Zeke has in no way by any standard in this country done anything wrong, he's done nothing wrong."
The NFL and Roger Goodell suspended Elliott for six games in August, saying he used physical force against a former girlfriend. Elliott says the findings are incorrect.
An arbitrator upheld the suspension and now Elliott's legal team says the arbitration process lacked fundamental fairness.
Jones also criticized the way the NFL is imposing discipline in cases like this.
Jerry Jones says the NFL doesn't have a system in place for cases like Zeke's and, "we're trying to make one up in a few short months." pic.twitter.com/V58uz8gaKg— Joe Trahan (@JoeTrahan) October 30, 2017
"We don't have the system in place for this and we're trying to make one up in a few short months and it's got too many ways to not be fair to a person like Zeke," said Jones.
Meanwhile, the proceedings in Judge Failla's court should bring some clarity on Elliott's playing status, for the remainder the 2017 season, at least.
We'll deal with it and go on, but yeah it'll be beneficial I guess to say we'll know if you have him or not," said quarterback Dak Prescott, "and we can get it all out the way."
Elliott and the Cowboys looking for a courtroom victory that would be as significant as any on the field this season.