September 23, 2013

DeMarco Murray’s 175-yard performance gives the Cowboys a much-needed rush

Murray also says he wasn’t aware of the criticism of Dallas’ run game after the Week 2 loss in Kansas City.

DeMarco Murray stood on the sideline at the end of Sunday’s game, baseball cap on his head, a smile on his face.

He was feeling just as good Monday, a day after rushing for 175 yards.

“You never know how the game is going to play out,” Murray said. “You always wish for the best, but you obviously never know. Whenever we run the ball like that, and those guys [in the offensive line] are able to come off the ball instead of coming off their heels protecting, it’s a good day for us.”

Murray passed on talking after the game Sunday, but he spoke for six minutes Monday. He failed to explain his silence in postgame interviews, but he did allow that he heard none of the criticism last week.

In the first two games, the Cowboys had 124 rushing yards and averaged only 3.2 yards per rush. They called 91 passes and 39 rushes in going 1-1 to start the season.

“I wasn’t aware of anything, whether it was positive or negative,” Murray said. “I don’t read into it too much. All I’m doing is trying to work hard, and whatever they ask me to do, I’m trying to do it. I’m sure those guys [offensive line] aren’t worried about anything either. We’re out here, playing football, having fun, at the same time trying to win games.”

Against the Rams, the Cowboys opened with a run and ended with a run. They called 34 runs and 24 passes as 193 of their 396 total yards came on the ground.

It was the most rushing yards the Cowboys have had since 227 against the Ravens last October.

“It’s not always easy around the league to come out and say, ‘We’re going to run the ball, and we’re going to rush for 150 yards in the first half,’” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said Monday. “It’s unrealistic to think that. You have to be persistent with it. You have to keep banging away. … You have to be persistent with it and keep attacking that way. It helps the offensive line. It helps the quarterback. It helps the receivers. It just helps everybody. I thought [Sunday] was a good example of that.

“Bill [Callahan] did a great job calling the game. He was persistent throughout the game. There were some opportunities in the passing game that we took full advantage of it as a result of the success we had running it. I thought it was just a positive mix for us.”

It was the best day for Murray since his career-best 253 yards against the Rams as a rookie in 2011 in his first extended playing time. He had a career-best 26 carries and averaged 6.7 yards per rush Sunday.

The Cowboys had not had an individual 100-yard rusher since the 2012 season opener against the Giants when Murray rushed for 131 yards on 20 carries.

Murray received a game ball for his performance as the Cowboys moved from 26th in the league in rushing to 15th.

“I just think in general we need to run the ball better, and he’s the guy running it,” Garrett said. “I think everybody needed that kind of game. The offensive linemen needed that kind of game, our offense in general, and certainly he’s beneficiary of it as the guy who has the ball in his hands.”

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