IRVING, Texas – Regardless of the narrative in the buildup to the Rams game,
Sunday’s 26-carry, 175-yard performance against St. Louis might have seemed like a statement game from Murray, given the barrage of questioning after his 25-yard outing against Kansas City. Contrary to that, the Cowboys’ starting running back said he just tunes it out and totes the ball.
“I wasn’t aware of anything, whether it was positive, negative – I don’t read into too much,” Murray said. “All I’m doing is out here is trying to work hard, and whatever they ask me to do I’m trying to do it.”
The Cowboys’ coaches certainly asked plenty of Murray during the win. Thanks to the Rams’ helplessness against him, Murray nearly matched his total number of carries from Weeks 1 and 2 this season. He also upped his yards per game average from 55 to 95 and put himself among the top four rushers in the league.
Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said it was a concerted effort from the get-go to control the line of scrimmage.
“We really challenged our offensive line in that game – it’s a very good defensive front,” Garrett said. “Those defensive ends are fantastic players and the interior tackles are terrific players, we had to be physical and we had to get after them and run block and pass protect against good players.”
The results didn’t take long to show on Sunday. Murray racked up 37 yards on his first four carries with gains of 14, 7, 2 and 14. Two carries later, he doubled that with a 36 yard gainer. Murray couldn’t speak to the coaches’ gameplan, but he said the blocking made it easy.
“I don’t know what the plan was, but like I said before, whenever the offensive line is blocking the way they did, it’s going to be a great day for us,” he said.
It’s fair to say the performance was important for the Cowboys, given the team’s struggle to run the ball in the recent past. Garrett said it was important for the team to establish that tone early in the season – not necessarily for Murray’s confidence, but for the Cowboys’.
“I just think in general we need to run the ball better, and he’s the guy running it,” he said. “I think everybody needed that kind of game – offensive linemen needed that kind of game, our offense in general – and obviously he’s the beneficiary of it as the guy with the ball in his hand.”
Considering his start to the season, Murray’s answer to a similar question was astute. The third-year back has had a decent day, a bad day and a great day – all in the span of three weeks. In the NFL, sometimes that’s just the way it goes.
“You always want to have a good running game going. I don’t know the true answer to that – some days we’re not going to rush for 177 yards, or whatever the total was -- every Sunday,” Murray said. “You’ve just got to find different ways to win the game, and it just so happened that the running game was a little bit more vital this week than it was the past weeks.”