Cowboys Find The Running Game Once Again

able to set up the pass, with the run. And when they needed to chew up yards and clock, they ran the ball effectively, too.

It's amazing what two good backs can do.

Barber gets 23 carries for 84 yards, and Jones gets a career-high 96 yards on just 10 carries - and yes if you're scoring at home, that would be 10 more carries than he received a week ago against Washington.

"I wasn't concerned about that," Jones said of getting no offensive touches in the loss to the Redskins. "I knew we'd get it going again this week. I was just happy to be a part of it. I know my role is to come in and change it up. I think we did that today."

When it comes to dividing carries, that might just be what the Cowboys had in mind in the first place with these two. OK, so maybe the difference could've been less between the two.

If you're averaging 10 yards a carry in the NFL, you're going to need a few more. But not that much more. A part of what makes Jones a special player is that he isn't asked to do everything that a starting running back does.

He doesn't get many carries between the tackles on third-and-one. He doesn't have to pick up as many blitzing linebackers, although the Cowboys did allow Jones to do more of that than usual.

But if you need to spread out a defense and get your running back to the outside on a fourth-and-four, that's when you use a guy like Jones. That's not a play we've really seen much from the Cowboys in a long, long time.

When have they had a back who could take the pitch and get two yards on fourth down, much less take it to the house and outrun the defensive angles for six? We know Barber isn't that guy. Neither was Julius Jones, or even Emmitt Smith. Really, Tony Dorsett was the last pure speed back that could get around the corner like that.

Now, there's a reason for that. Obviously, those other backs were more every-down players. I'm not really convinced that Felix Jones isn't an every-down back himself. But on this team, this year, he doesn't have to be.

And those wide pitches like that won't work forever. The Cowboys won't be able to just plug Felix into the game on fourth down and let him run wild like that - not without keeping them honest with some inside runs.

Not saying Jones has hit the Reggie Bush or Brian Westbrook level yet, but his style is similar. And both of those players get halfback dives like other every-down backs. So to keep those stretch plays to the outside working, the Cowboys will have to work in a few inside runs, too.

As for Barber, the fantasy owners might not like the fact he didn't get into the end zone, but this was his type of game.

The holes weren't always there, but he kept ramming it in there. There weren't a lot of flashy runs - his longest just 16 yards - but at the end of the day, he finishes with 84. And if we're going to give Owens a lot of credit for opening up things for other receivers and the running game, then we should give Barber some credit for maybe softening up a stingy Bengals defense for a change-of-pace back to come in and run crazy.

The Cowboys got back to running the football this week. They got back in the win column, too.

Whether it's a coincidence or not, it sure seems like a pattern the Cowboys should stick with.

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