BALTIMORE – No team has rushed for more yards in a game against the Ravens than the Cowboys did Sunday in a losing effort.
Dallas, which entered the game ranked 29th in the league, used a medley of running backs to total 227 yards on 42 carries. The last time the Cowboys rushed for that many yards was Oct. 23, 2011, when they ran for 294 yards against St. Louis.
"We stayed after it," said head coach Jason Garrett. "We ran it inside, we ran it outside, we got some stuff off of the run game that I thought was positive for us. We kept the ball for a long time. Those are all good things. We have to build on those things going forward."
DeMarco Murray got going early in Baltimore, with 72 of his 93 yards coming in the first quarter. He rushed 14 times before spraining his foot, forcing Felix Jones into his first extended look of the season. Jones looked rejuvenated, rushing 18 times for 92 yards, scoring his first touchdown since last season's opener against the Jets.
Dallas had never rushed for more than 20 yards twice in the game this season. Murray and Jones accomplished that feat in the first quarter.
Jones entered after Murray took a 28-yard run down the sideline to set the Cowboys up at Baltimore's 12-yard line. After a 10-yard penalty, Jones dashed 22 yards for the game's first touchdown.
The Cowboys averaged 5.4 yards per carry, running the ball right at the Baltimore defense the same way Kansas City did a week prior.
"That's a good front," said tight end Jason Witten. "But we felt like that's the mentality we had to have after Kansas City rushed 52 times. I thought our backs did a good job of letting the blocks set themselves up and then hitting it. It really controlled the game for us."
Head coach Jason Garrett watched the Chiefs triumphantly run the ball against the Ravens, and he duplicated their success. The Cowboys established their rushing game, running more times than they had in any game since Dec. 15, 2010, when they ran 46 times against the Colts.
Garrett knew the Cowboys had to establish the ground game after watching Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles rush for 140 yards against Baltimore.
"We want to run the football. There's no question about that," Garrett said. "Having played the quarterback position in the NFL, I understand the importance of running the ball. It makes the quarterback's job so much easier, and everyone's job so much easier. We just ran it well, probably for the first time since the Giants game."
Even the third and fourth string running backs contributed after Murray left the game and Jones went to the locker room to deal with cramps,
Phillip Tanner ran nine times for 31 yards, and Lance Dunbar looked elusive on his first carry as a Cowboy, taking an 11-yard gain to the Ravens' 10-yard line in the fourth quarter. Dunbar was pulled up from the practice squad to contribute on special teams, but he knew he had to be prepared offensively once Murray and Jones went out.
"I had to get myself ready," Dunbar said. "This is my chance. This is my moment. I finally got my chance, and I think I made the best of my opportunity."
Tanner and Dunbar were the only running backs used when the Cowboys cut the Ravens' lead to one point with a 34-yard field goal on their first drive of the fourth quarter.
"It was just go in and do the things [Felix] and DeMarco would expect us to do," Tanner said. "We go into practice every day as a group, compete as a group, work hard as a group. So we go out and play well as a group."