Dallas Cowboys

Eagles back Murray plays winning role in return to Arlington

DeMarco Murray, leaping over Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries Sunday.
DeMarco Murray, leaping over Cowboys safety Jeff Heath, rushed for 83 yards on 18 carries Sunday. Star-Telegram

It didn’t take long for Philadelphia Eagles running back DeMarco Murray to touch the ball Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys.

On the first play, he caught a pass for no gain.

It was a humble beginning that would later lead to impact plays for Murray, who left Dallas in free agency for Philadelphia, in the Eagles’ 33-27 overtime win at AT&T Stadium.

By the time the second quarter rolled around, Murray was asked to carry on fourth-and-1 for Philadelphia’s first score.

After that, the former Oklahoma standout was in on 41 of 73 snaps in regulation, accounting for a typical workload in coach Chip Kelly’s up-tempo offense.

Murray carried 18 times for 83 yards and scored one touchdown while catching six passes for 78 yards.

Obviously, that was a big win for us,” Murray said. “They needed this one and we did as well. I thought we made good adjustments in the second half and put us in good position to make plays.”

Backfield mates Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles accounted for substantial time as well.

Mathews had 11 carries for 67 yards and a score. He spelled Murray after four consecutive touches on Philly’s second-quarter scoring drive.

Murray carried three times on Philadelphia’s game-winning drive in overtime for 23 yards, one a back-breaking run of 20 yards across midfield.

“Coming back here, there’s emotions for everyone, but you’ve got to check them at the door and trust yourself to do what got you here,” Murray said.

By contrast, Dallas running back Darren McFadden carried 27 times for 117 yards.

Murray started the Eagles’ first second-half drive and touched the ball three consecutive times, the last one a 44-yard catch after quarterback Sam Bradford hit him on a route up the right sideline.

As is customary in the offense, Murray came out for the rest of that drive as the Eagles put the pedal down and Mathews scored on a left-side jet sweep.

Rookie impact

Jordan Hicks has the heart of University of Texas fans, but the ire of Cowboys faithful.

It was Hicks who hit Tony Romo in Week 2, when Dallas’ starting quarterback fractured his collarbone. Romo has missed the past six games.

On Sunday night, Hicks started at inside linebacker in place of DeMeco Ryans.

Hicks picked off a Matt Cassel pass and went 67 yards for a touchdown, giving the Eagles a 21-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“I saw it earlier and kind of thought if he was coming out quick, they were probably going to throw it that way,” Hicks said. “I was just trying to stay patient and slow-play it, just read which way they were bringing it. I just saw it and took off.”

Hicks finished with six tackles, one pass defensed and the interception before exiting with a shoulder injury.

Mathews’ move

Wide receiver Jordan Matthews got behind Cowboys defensive back Byron Jones and quarterback Sam Bradford hit the second year pro from Vanderbilt in stride for a 41-yard touchdown catch to seal the Eagles win in overtime.

Matthews leaped over Brandon Carr at the goal line to finish the play.

“Byron played a great game against me. We were battling the entire time,” Matthews said. “He’s been covering the over (route) great all year. I just kind of gave him a move to that over and the outside opened up.

“Right when I caught the ball, I saw daylight. I knew I was Scott Free.”