Todd Archer, ESPN Staff Writer 318d

Cowboys hope last season's run-game success vs. Packers is omen this season

FRISCO, Texas – When the Dallas Cowboys met the Green Bay Packers in the regular season in 2016, Ezekiel Elliott ran for a career-high 157 yards on 28 carries.

In the playoff rematch last January, Elliott ran for 125 yards on 22 carries.

As the Cowboys look to find answers to a running game that has not met expectations, perhaps sifting through last year’s meeting against the Packers will help the Cowboys prepare for Sunday’s meeting with the Packers.

“Just go back and see what worked last year, just see what plays we ran last year that were successful and see what we’re running this year and just revisit the film, see what I did well and try to build on that,” Elliott said.

Through four games, Elliott is ninth in the league in rushing with 277 yards on 76 carries. He opened the season with 104 yards against the New York Giants and has 80 and 85 yards in the last two games.

Through four games a year ago, Elliott had 412 yards on 94 carries.

“We’re taking a little bit longer to progress this year,” Elliott said. “I really don’t think it’s a bad thing. You ought to be hitting your stride mid to late season than peaking early. As long as you hit your peak, it really doesn’t matter how long it takes you. We could lose six games in this league and still go to the playoffs and as long as you’re hitting your stride at the right time then you’re good. There’s no panic in this locker room at all.”

Going into the regular-season meeting last year, the Packers were allowing fewer than 2 yards per carry. They have the 19th-ranked defense this year, giving up 111 yards a game on the ground, but they have not allowed a 100-yard rusher through four weeks.

“We’ve been making strides, but we still have a long ways to go,” Elliott said. “We haven’t played up to our capability just everywhere. Just a work in progress. We’ve got to keep working. We’ve got to keep grinding.”

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