Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, left, can’t come down with a fourth down pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter Sunday during a 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com
Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, left, can’t come down with a fourth down pass in the end zone in the fourth quarter Sunday during a 42-17 loss to the Denver Broncos. Max Faulkner mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Dallas Cowboys

NFL legends level sharp criticism at Cowboys’ stars

By Stefan Stevenson

sstevenson@star-telegram.com

September 18, 2017 1:57 AM

As if the debilitating loss the Dallas Cowboys suffered in Denver on Sunday wasn’t enough, they’re also getting roasted by the some of the game’s biggest names with local ties.

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.

Chief of among the sniping pundits? Former Cowboy Deion Sanders and TCU legend LaDainian Tomlinson on the NFL Network.

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.

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.

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“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.

When you look at Ezekiel Elliott's fantasy points today. pic.twitter.com/nijJyzvhe0

— ESPN FantasyFauxball (@ESPNFauxball) September 18, 2017

“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.”

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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