ARLINGTON, Texas – The ground DeMarco Murray was tearing up in his demolition of the Saints' defense is actually hallowed, as it turns out.
Murray plowed over New Orleans 24 times for 149 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-17 win against the Saints. That's impressive enough on its own, but even more impressive considering it was his fourth-straight game with 100 rushing yards and a rushing touchdown to open the season.
"I think he is better than a good back, I think he is a great back," said Tony Romo of Murray.
History would give credence to that assessment. The only other NFL players to accomplish that feat were Jim Brown, O.J. Simpson and Emmitt Smith – a trio of Hall of Famers and three of the game's best-ever running backs.
True to his style, Murray didn't have much to say on the milestone, preferring to put the praise on his offensive line.
"I'm just out there to do whatever I can to help the team," he said. "There's a lot of things I'm worried about. Obviously got to give credit to the offensive line for what they were able to accomplish up front, but that's definitely not something I'm thinking about."
There are other honors for Murray to ignore than just that. His league-leading 534 yards through four games is the second-best start in Cowboys franchise history, only behind Smith's 543 yards in 1995. That start has been too much for the rest of the NFL, as well. His nearest competitor in the rushing race, Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, sits 156 yards behind him with 378.
Maybe most importantly for the Cowboys, this game saw Murray snap his four-game fumbling streak, as Dallas did not turn the ball over in the win.
"He runs downhill, he's got great vision, he breaks tackles, he makes people miss, he finishes runs," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett. "Our tight ends are contributing, our receivers are contributing. Everybody's a part of it. Our scheme has been good."
That scheme has been difficult for opposing defenses to deal with through the first month of the season. Murray is averaging 5.4 yards per carry on his 99 touches so far this year, as teams have been unable to account for both the running game and the Cowboys' receiving targets, like Dez Bryant.
"You're able to see everybody's true skill set when you have complementary guys around you," Romo said. "We haven't always had that ability. You can take Dez away, but it's hard to take Dez away when you have a [embedded_ad]
really good player on the other side. You can take Dez away, but you're probably going to get a lot of yards in the run game."
Bryant, for his part, didn't seem to mind. The Cowboys' Pro Bowl wideout finished with a relatively quiet 44 yards on three receptions, though he did deliver the game-clinching touchdown – but he wasn't complaining.
"When I got the opportunity to score, I did," he said. "I told you DeMarco Murray was going to go beast mode. It's because of him."