Murray Runs Over Titans
The Dallas Cowboys trampled the Tennessee Titans 26-10 Sunday afternoon at LP Field, with fourth-year running back DeMarco Murray shouldering the load with his 29 carries for 167 yards and a touchdown.
There was an imperfection in there as Dallas evened its record at 1-1; Murray fumbled on his third carry of the game, his second giveaway in as many weeks in contrast with his sure-handed reputation.
“That was the third carry of about 30 carries you’re going to have today,” coach Jason Garrett barked at his Pro Bowl runner once Murray returned dejectedly to the sideline. “So hold onto the damn ball!”
Garrett’s staff also did its part, largely avoiding cuteness and instead letting its offensive line bully the Titans’ talented front. Last week, Dallas had two short-yardage situations inside the opponent’s five-yard line, didn’t run, and suffered a Week 1 home loss to the Niners. This week, Dallas wisely called Murray’s number on an early-game first-and-goal at the Titans three-yard line. The 2011 third-round draft pick moved around the scrum, and stretched forward to break the plane of the goal-line with an outstretched football. The touchdown and Dan Bailey extra point gave Dallas a 10-0 lead that set the game’s tone.
“We had a good day running the football, and all the credit goes to the blocking of the offensive line, the tight ends and the receivers,” Murray told me. “It’s a pleasure running behind them.”
On that scoring drive, set up at the Tennessee 40 thanks to a Barry Church interception, Murray carried the ball all four times and averaged 10.25 yards per carry.
“That,” said receiver Dez Bryant, who himself was good for 10 catches, 103 yards and a TD, “was (DeMarco) going ‘beast-mode.”
Murray’s 29 carries were the most of his career. Not surprisingly, the Cowboys are 13-1 when Murray carries the ball 20 or more times in a game’ the only loss coming last week. The 169 rushing yards is the third-most in Murray’s career. His top two rushing performances of 175 and 253 yards came against the St. Louis Rams, who Dallas faces next week in Edward Jones Dome. In total, Dallas ran the ball 43 times for 220 yards.
“We talk about it a lot,” said tight end Jason Witten. “But we’re committed to the run. And I think it’s a compliment to your football team when your star quarterback (Tony Romo) can be a secondary option.”
And a real compliment when a coaching staff can hand off to its ground game … and DeMarco Murray holds onto the damn ball.”