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Dak & Zeke: Cowboys Rookies Make Their Mark
The Dallas Cowboys won an NFC-best 13 games last season and claimed the NFC East -- going from 'worst-to-first' in the division after a 4-12 record in 2015 -- led by two rookies: quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott.
The Dallas Cowboys are the only team in NFL history to have a rookie pass for 20 touchdowns (Dak Prescott, 23) and a rookie rush for 15 touchdowns (Ezekiel Elliott, 15) in the same season. Dallas is also the only team in NFL history to have a rookie pass for at least 3,500 yards (Prescott, 3,667) and a rookie rush for at least 1,500 yards (Elliott, 1,631) in the same season.
Both Prescott and Elliott were named to the Pro Bowl, marking the first time in franchise history two rookies were selected to the All Star game in the same season.
Prescott tied the NFL rookie record with 13 wins (Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers 2004) and posted a 104.9 passer rating, the highest single-season rating by a rookie quarterback in league history. Prescott had 11 games with a 100+ passer rating, the most ever by a rookie.
Highest Rookie Passer Rating
|Robert Griffin III||2012||WAS||393||258||65.7||3,200||20||5||102.4|
Prescott began his career with 176 pass attempts without an interception, surpassing TOM BRADY (162) for the longest streak to begin a career in NFL history. Prescott finished the season with four interceptions in 459 attempts and his 0.9 interception percentage is the best ever by a rookie quarterback. He completed 311 of 459 attempts for a 67.8 completion percentage, passing Roethlisberger (66.4) for the highest single-season completion percentage by a rookie in NFL history.
In Weeks 9-13 (November 6 to December 1), Prescott had a streak of five consecutive games with at least one touchdown pass and no interceptions, the only rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
"Obviously, I couldn't have done this without Zeke," said Prescott when he was named the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year. "The defense honed in on him which made my job easier. He deserves this award just as much as I do, from his yards, his catches, the way he handled things in the backfield. It was always together as a team. Without Zeke, I don't win this."
Elliott led the NFL with 1,631 rushing yards and became the fifth rookie since the 1970 merger -- and first since EDGERRIN JAMES in 1999 -- to lead the league in rushing. Elliott's 1,631 rushing yards are the third-most in a single season by a rookie, trailing only Pro Football Hall of Famer ERIC DICKERSON (1,808 - 1983 with the Rams) and GEORGE ROGERS (1,674 - 1981 with the Saints).
Elliott had five games with at least 130 rushing yards, tying Dickerson (1983) and MIKE ANDERSON (2000) for the most by a rookie in a single season.
In Weeks 3-6 (September 25 to October 16), Elliott had a streak of four consecutive games with at least 130 rushing yards and is the only rookie in NFL history to accomplish the feat.
Elliott had a 60-yard touchdown run in Week 5 (October 9 vs. Cincinnati) and an 83-yard touchdown reception in Week 10 (November 13 at Pittsburgh). He became the first rookie running back to have a 60+ yard touchdown run and an 80+ yard touchdown catch in a season since Pro Football Hall of Famer GALE SAYERS in 1965.
Elliott finished his rookie season with 1,994 scrimmage yards, the third-highest total by a rookie in a season in NFL history. Only Dickerson (2,212 in 1983) and James (2,139 in 1999) had more.
Most Single-Season Scrimmage Yards By Rookie
|* Playoff team (Source: NFL)|
|Eric Dickerson||LA Rams||1983||1,808||404||2,212|