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[padding top="0" bottom="0" right="5%" left="5%"][dropcap]D[/dropcap]ENVER -- The Denver Broncos have had moments this season when their defense has shown frustration after games, but things reached a boiling point Sunday night. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also seemed fine with the rookie rusher's celebration. When asked if he would hop into the kettle again, Elliott said it was a one-time gesture. According to NFL.com, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak had to break up a locker-room shouting match between defensive backs and offensive linemen that escalated when he asked if anyone would like to address the team after a 16-3 loss to the New England Patriots.[/padding]
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ezekiel Elliott won't soon forget his franchise-record-setting 13th rushing touchdown of his rookie season.The Dallas Cowboys running back celebrated by jumping into one.
"I mean it's just sitting there right in the end zone, you know. It's the perfect celebration," Elliot said after the game. "They're one of our biggest partners so I had to show them a little bit of love."
Elliott's score broke Tony Dorsett's team record for most touchdown runs by a rookie in Dallas history. The 2-yard run on third-and-goal gave the Cowboys a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.
[/padding][caption id="attachment_455" align="alignnone" width="1200"] After jumping into the Salvation Army kettle for his post-touchdown celebration against the Buccaneers, Cowboys rusher Ezekiel Elliott said he simply wanted to show the charitable group 'a little bit of love.' Tom Pennington/Getty Images[/caption]
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If the Cowboys were upset, they didn't show it. Management allowed the penalty to be shown on the center-hung digital board before the ensuing kickoff. When asked if he would hop into the kettle again, Elliott said it was a one-time gesture.
I'm going to match whatever they fine me and donate it to the Salvation Army.Elliott said.
They were made even happier after the Buccaneers' next drive started at their 22 and the Dallas defense forced the Bucs into a three-and-out. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also seemed fine with the rookie rusher's celebration.
"I think the Salvation Army should give him the highest award," Jones said after the game. "My dream would be for the NFL to really fine me a lot of money and I'll take them to the Supreme Court and we'll get the Salvation Army more attention than anybody can get them. So let's go."
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant didn't see an issue with the celebration, saying "Why not let it be legal? We're just having fun. Let's not make it the No Fun League."
No, [Cowboys coach Jason Garrett] wasn't happy about it with the penalty for special teams," Elliott said. "Him or the special teams coach wasn't happy, so I can't keep making them mad. Garrett explained his reasoning for dampening the celebratory mood.
"Well, he shouldn't have done it. I thought it was creative, but he shouldn't have done it. You know that's how the league is going to rule on those things," Garrett said.
"You have to understand what's legal and what's not legal. You can jump into the stands in Green Bay but you can't jump into a Salvation Army bucket in Dallas. You've got to be careful about snow angels. All of these different things that we do. So we have to be more mindful of that. I've got to coach that better."
Multiple team sources told ESPN Sunday night there has been at least one other occasion in recent weeks this season when the Broncos defensive backs and the team's offensive linemen have exchanged words after a game. [/padding]
"Everybody's frustrated," Broncos cornerback Chris Harris Jr. told ESPN. "We feel like we played almost good enough defense to win that game, I don't know if [we] ever kept Brady under 16 points and we did that today. That's what makes you sick, when we come out and play stout like we did today, we could play a little bit better and get some turnovers. ... But they didn't really have to take many chances, they didn't really have to throw the ball down the field too much."
Well, he shouldn't have done it. I thought it was creative, but he shouldn't have done it. You know that's how the league is going to rule on those things.Garrett
A smattering of the Broncos' defensive players also called the number of plays they've played in recent games "our quota'' when the play count nears 80, a high number for any defense. The Broncos' defense has played at least 76 snaps in four of the past seven games, including 81 plays in Jacksonville earlier this month.[caption id="attachment_456" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Since Gus Bradley took over in 2013[/caption]
The locker-room conflict came after the playoff hopes for the Broncos (8-6) dimmed with the loss to the Patriots (12-2). With two games left to play -- against division rivals Kansas City (10-4) and Oakland (11-3) -- Denver must win out and will still need help to make the postseason with a wild-card berth.
This was supposed to be the season that the Jaguars had a legitimate chance to win the AFC South, which is the worst division in the NFLBlake Bortles
"When our defense is out there, they're an emotional group, and they hold themselves to a high standard," said Okung, a 2012 Pro Bowler who signed with the Broncos in March after six seasons with the Seattle Seahawks. "As an offense, we need to do the same. So, I think [their frustration] is warranted. We've got to be better.""I definitely understand their frustration," Okung told NFL.com of the Broncos' defensive backs. "They played well enough to win, and they held that team to 16 points, which a lot of teams don't do. We're an emotional team; that's what makes us so good. To me, that's part of who we are.
Savage had not taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game in more than two years. He said he was prepared to come into the game, saying, "I wouldn't be suited up if I wasn't mentally ready to go out there. That's what this team deserves. They deserve someone to go in there and perform. And when they called my name, that's what I tried to do."[caption id="attachment_458" align="alignnone" width="1200"] Bengals running back Jeremy Hill attempted to rip a Steelers Terrible Towel while celebrating a touchdown on Sunday. John Grieshop/Getty Images[/caption]
Osweiler said regardless of the decision that is made about who will start on Sunday, he will prepare this week like he will be the starter.
Mark's competitive, man, as am I," Hightower said. "It's a tough situation, especially when you start getting down there to that goal line. As a running back, your eyes are lightin' up, man. You see the end zone and you want to get in there. So I understand his frustration.