It started off as a thing of beauty. DeMarco Murray rushed for 52 yards on six carries in the Cowboys’ 12-play, 75-yard opening drive, gashing the Chicago Bears.
It looked to be a Murray kind of night against the Bears’ 32nd-ranked rush defense.
But then, it wasn’t.
“I thought we ran it well,” Murray said. “[Tyler] Clutts did a good job blocking. The O-line did a good job. Everyone was on the same page. We were just clicking.”
Murray rushed for 99 yards on 13 carries in the first half. He finished with 18 carries for 146 yards before being pulled with the first team after the game got out of hand.
The Cowboys abandoned the run after their defense couldn’t stop the Bears’ offense, and they fell behind 24-14 at halftime.
“We didn’t do a good job making any stops on defense,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “They were good on third down keeping drives alive. That limited our opportunities on offense. I thought we did some good things on offense, but it became one of those games we had to match serve every time. We weren’t able to do that, and the game got out of hand.”
The Cowboys signed Clutts last week, the first time all season they have had a fullback on their roster. Murray said he liked running behind a fullback.
It was Murray’s second 100-yard game this season and the sixth of his career. It also his first 100-yard game ever on natural grass.
“We ran the ball great,” receiver Dez Bryant said. “That’s what we focused on. We thought we could kill them there.”
But in the end, it didn’t matter. The Cowboys lost despite 198 rushing yards on 28 carries.
“We had opportunities to make plays in the run game, but we have to be balanced,” Cowboys running backs coach Gary Brown said. “So once we got in certain situations, we’ve got to put the ball up. You’ve got to do what’s best for the football team.
“At the end of the day, it’s about getting the win. If you run it 50 times but you lose it really doesn’t matter.”