The 42-17 egg the Cowboys laid against Broncos elicited some sharp criticism for some of the team’s biggest stars from a couple of NFL legends.
The two biggest targets? Receiver Dez Bryant and running back Ezekiel Elliott. Neither had particularly good games, especially Elliott, who rushed for a career-low 8 yards on nine carries. Bryant had seven receptions for 59 yards and a touchdown but dropped some big passes.
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Sanders considers Bryant one of the NFL’s top receivers but questioned his struggles against the best cornerbacks, including the Broncos’ Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib.
“When Dez plays against a dog, Dez has to hunt. And the last few times Dez has gone against a real, pure, dominant corner, they haven’t gotten the ball to him or he hasn’t made his catches, or he hasn’t had productivity,” said Sanders, before comparing Bryant to the best receivers in the game. “You don’t see this with Antonio Brown. You don’t see this with Julio [Jones]. He has to win the 1-on-1’s and he and Dak [Prescott] have to get on the same page.”
The most stinging criticism was directed at Elliott. Tomlinson accused him of quitting on his team.
“First, his attitude on the sideline. Clearly, he didn’t have any communication with his teammates,” Tomlinson said, referring to television shots that showed Elliott standing alone on the Cowboys’ sideline. “But also, he didn’t want to talk to his teammates. Some times when things are going wrong, as a leader of that team, as a captain, you have to step up and rally the troops. You have to go to the offensive line and say, ‘I know it’s tough but let’s keep battling, let’s keep fighting.’”
Tomlinson credited the Broncos’ defense and how physical they were with the Cowboys’ offensive line.
“Zeke, to his credit, didn’t have any room today. He was running, getting hit in the backfield,” he said. “I didn’t like the way he quit today. I didn’t like that. He absolutely quit on his team today.”