Quarterback Tony Romo’s return might have spurred the Cowboys to victory, but it was running back Darren McFadden who closed the game in the 24-14 win against the Miami Dolphins.
McFadden rushed 29 times for 129 yards, including nine carries for 40 yards in the final 6 minutes as the Cowboys controlled the ball and the clock.
It was a strong performance for McFadden coming off a week in which he missed a day of practice with a strained groin, coming off his worst outing of the season. He rushed 17 times for 32 yards against the Tampa Buccaneers last Sunday.
"I just think that we want to come there and run the ball," McFadden said. "That’s what we want to do. We feel like we are a very physical offense. We know we have a very physical offensive line. Those guys did their job today and went out there and blew guys off the ball. It was just a great feeling, man. Like I say, that offensive line, those guys do amazing things up front. I just get behind them, just push forward."
It was the third 100-yard game of the season for McFadden and the fourth game in which he topped 20 carries.
The 29 carries tied for the second most of his career and its second time this season he has matched that number.
More importantly, McFadden continues to take hold of the position after taking over for the now-released Joe Randle five games ago.
McFadden’s 122 carries for 494 yards over the last five games are the most carries he’s ever had in a five-game span in his career.
Considering his problems with injuries and declining play over the last seven years in Oakland, no one pegged McFadden as a work-horse back when he signed with Cowboys a free agent in March. He was looking for a fresh start and they were looking for another body to be part of the team’s running-back-by-committee approach.
But now he is the chairman of the board and continuing to prove them wrong with strong play.
"Darren’s a good football player," coach Jason Garrett said. "He’s demonstrated that over the last stretch where he’s gotten the ball a lot. He’s tough, he’s physical, he loves to play, he’s got a great competitive spirit and our team feeds off of that. It was great to see him at the end of the ball game running downhill and really doing a great job finishing the game for us. Those guys upfront were outstanding, it’s a really good defensive line and our guys came to play today. They controlled the line of scrimmage and I think his demeanor, the approach that he takes, our guys feed off of it upfront."