In 2018, Ezekiel Elliott will reach the magic number for running backs: 2,000 yards rushing.
Ezekiel Elliott took the league by storm in 2016 when he led the NFL in rushing and helped lead the Dallas Cowboys to the playoffs. He did not put up quite the same numbers in 2017 but that was mostly due to him not playing a full season. Now, this upcoming season, playing with no strings attached, and two years of experience, a big season can be expected.
Only seven running backs in the history of the NFL have rushed for 2,000 yards in a season.
O.J. Simpson was the first back to rush for 2,000 yards when he accomplished this in 1973 as a member of the Buffalo Bills. He managed to rush for 2,003 yards in only 14 games since the NFL still had a 14 Game season.
Eric Dickerson holds the record for rush yards in a season when he rushed for 2,105 yards in 1984. Dickerson was the first running back to rush for 2,000 yards in a 16 game schedule when NFL converted to in 1978.
Legendary Lions running back Barry Sanders joined the 2,000-yard club in 1997 when he rushed for 2,053 yards.
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The year after Sanders did it, Terrell Davis rushed for 2,008 yards when he put the Broncos on his back en route to a Super Bowl victory.
Jamal Lewis rushed for 2,066 yards in 2003. During that season, Lewis set the record for rush yards in a game with 295.
In 2009, Chris Johnson rushed for 2,006 yards for the Titans. It was just his second season in the NFL. This feat earned him the nickname “CJ2K.”
The most recent back to do it was Adrian Peterson in 2012 and he accomplished it in Fairy Tale fashion. In December of 2011, Peterson tore his ACL and MCL in a game against the Washington Redskins. He managed to be back on the field to open the 2012 season. The rest was history as he went on to rush for 2,097 yards.
Ezekiel Elliott will be a man on a mission for the Dallas Cowboys this season.
Whether Ezekiel Elliott deserved to be suspended or not can be debated all day long. Although, he served the six-game suspension anyway. Now just a blip of the past, Elliott can come back with a vengeance. Similar to Tom Brady in 2016, Elliott is going to do everything he can to prove that not even the NFL itself can stop him. This mindset is half the battle towards 2,000 yards.
Ezekiel Elliott’s statistics show that he is capable of getting to 2,000 rushing yards. To reach 2,000 yards rushing in 16 games, Elliott would have to rush for at least 125 rush yards a game.
Elliott has been given a heavy workload during his first two years with the Dallas Cowboys. During his rookie season, he was receiving 21.5 rushing attempts per game. Last season, that number went up to 24.2 attempts per game. With 25+ carries a game, Elliott should be able to put up massive yards with how dominant he is.
In 2016, Elliott was averaging 5.1 yards per carry. In 2017, he only averaged 4.1 yards per carry. A full yard lower than the year before however that can mostly be contributed to the 6 game suspension he served.
Playing 15 out of 16 games, Elliott was able to rush for 1,631 yards and capture the rushing title in 2016.
In only 10 games in 2017, Elliott still almost reached 1,000 rushing yards when he had 983 rushing yards.