DeMarco Murray wasn’t ready to think about his future and if he’ll wear a Dallas Cowboys uniform again.
He’s set to become a free agent and will garner much interest after setting the Cowboys’ single-season rushing record with 1,845 yards in the regular season.
“I’m not worried about it,” Murray said. “Everything will take care of itself. We’ll see what happens.
“These guys in this locker room, we play to win no matter what contracts or all that other stuff. Doesn’t matter to us.”
Instead, Murray was more disappointed in the Cowboys’ season-ending loss to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. He, like everyone else in the organization, had dreams of playing in this season’s Super Bowl.
But it simply wasn’t meant to be.
Murray did his job, for the most part. He established the run throughout the game, gaining 123 yards on 25 carries. But he also had a costly fumble on the Cowboys’ first offensive series of the second half.
Murray thought he saw nothing but daylight after getting through the hole, but Packers linebacker Julius Peppers made a nice play to strip the ball loose. Green Bay recovered, ending what had the makings of a scoring drive.
“Great play by Peppers,” said Murray, who hadn’t lost a fumble since Week 8 vs. Washington.
“He was washed out and he came back in. Just a good play by him. … I’ve just got to tighten the ball up and secure it.”
Five plays after the miss, the Packers made a field goal.
The Cowboys had a mini-meltdown late in the first half. They went from having a chance to take a 10-point lead into halftime to taking only a four-point lead.
With 34 seconds left in the opening half, Dan Bailey trotted out to attempt a 45-yard field goal. He missed wide right, but a whistle stopped play for a false-start penalty on long snapper L.P. Ladouceur.
On the 50-yard try, Bailey missed wide right again after the Packers lineman Datone Jones deflected the ball.
That miss gave the Packers the ball at their 40 with 29 seconds left, and they got into field-goal range with Mason Crosby connecting on a 40-yarder.
So it went from a possible 17-7 halftime lead to a 14-10 advantage in less than a minute.
“When we had them on their heels, we should have went ahead and bludgeoned them,” defensive end Jeremy Mincey said. “We should’ve went up 21-7 and played some solid defense and won that game.”
The Cowboys would like to keep the coaching staff intact, but it seems likely there will be some change.
Priority No. 1 is getting coach Jason Garrett signed to an extension.
Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli has been linked to joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff in some capacity, and play-caller Scott Linehan has surfaced as a potential head coaching candidate. Offensive coordinator/line coach Bill Callahan is among other assistant coaches in the final year of their contracts.
▪ Safety Barry Church missed time throughout the game nursing a quadriceps injury. Said Church: “I gutted it out. When I tackled [Eddie] Lacy in the fourth quarter on that last drive, I felt it kind of strain and they pulled me out.”
▪ Linebacker Rolando McClain played only the first series before leaving with concussionlike symptoms for the second consecutive week. Said owner Jerry Jones: “We missed 55 out there, a lot today. We missed him a lot. So that was disappointing, right off the bat.”
▪ The Cowboys will have the 27th pick in the NFL Draft in May.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760