NFL World Reacts to Ezekiel Elliott’s Resurrection Against Steelers

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The Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots faced off on Thursday Night Football in Week 14. The Patriots, who entered the game at 2-10, defeated the Steelers, who entered at 7-5, 21-18.

The Patriots struggled from injuries heading into the game, with starting running back Rhamondre Stevenson out due to a high ankle sprain. In his wake, Ezekiel Elliott started and handled business. His performance didn’t go unnoticed by the NFL world.

Ezekiel Elliott’s Resurgence Sparks NFL World

Elliott came into the game with 112 carries for 429 yards and two touchdowns. On Thursday night, he added 22 attempts for 68 yards. Additionally, he caught seven passes for 72 yards and a touchdown. In total, Zeke had 29 touches for 140 yards and a touchdown.

The game was the first time since Week 4 of the 2021 season that Elliott totaled 140 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. He last did it against the Carolina Panthers when he had 20 carries for 143 yards and a touchdown.

“I’m glad I’m able to show you guys I’ve still got it,” said Elliott immediately following the action. He also made a touchdown-saving tackle in the third quarter of the game. “Just gotta go get that guy. Go make that tackle,” he said.

“Need him re-signed this off-season,” said one NFL fan on X (formerly known as Twitter). The only other player on the Patriots with a carry was quarterback Bailey Zappe, who had three rushes for 13 yards.

This was Elliott’s first start of the 2023 NFL season. His last start came with the Dallas Cowboys in 2022, when he started 14 games. “Ezekiel Elliott, can you please stay in Foxboro forever,” said another NFL fan.

Elliott is on just a one-year deal with New England. The contract, which was signed in August, is worth $3 million. It included a $600,000 signing bonus and $1.1 million guaranteed.

According to Next Gen Stats, Elliott gained 24 yards after the catch over expected in Week 14, which is his most in a game over the last six seasons. He played on 90.9% of the Patriots’ offensive snaps, the second-highest playtime percentage by a Patriots RB in the Next Gen Stats era.

“So good. I feel really good,” said Elliott, who touched the ball the most he has all season. “This probably is the best I’ve felt this late in a season.”

The win snapped the Patriots’ five-game losing streak. For the Steelers, this is their second loss in a row to a team with only two wins. They are the first team over .500 in NFL history to lose consecutive games — both to teams at least eight games under .500.

New England’s defense has been strong all season, but the offense hasn’t. This was just the second time all season the Patriots scored 21 or more points. “It was definitely nice to finally give ’em some help,” said Elliott in reference to the defense.

In fantasy football, Elliott put up 27 points in points-per-reception leagues. “Well, I made the right decision to play Ezekiel Elliott tonight,” said an NFL fan.

MORE: Patriots Fantasy Fallout — Can Bailey Zappe Save Ezekiel Elliott?

His season-high prior to Thursday Night Football was 13.2 points in Week 13 against the Los Angeles Chargers. In that game, he rushed for 52 yards on 17 carries and had five receptions for 40 yards.

“We needed him to step up and carry the mail today, and he did,” said Bill Belichick about Ezekiel Elliott. “That was a pro performance today.”

Want to predict the rest of the 2023 season with our FREE NFL Playoff Predictor? Looking for the most up-to-date NFL standings? What about a breakdown of team depth charts or the NFL schedule? Pro Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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