IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys traveled to play the Giants after their bye week in 2013, and DeMarco Murray began to spring board toward a Pro Bowl selection. With Pro Bowl honors seemingly secured in 2014, it's intriguing to think what Murray might accomplish during the final six weeks this year.
On Monday, as he dished up an early Thanksgiving meal at The Salvation Army, Murray said he's ready to dish out more of the hard running that's made him the NFL rushing leader through 11 weeks.
"I'm ready. I'm ready to go," he said. "Like I said before, whatever they ask me to do, I'm going to do it times 10. It's going to be an exciting next couple weeks for us."
That would be a sight to see, considering what Murray has already accomplished this season. With 244 carries, 1,233 yards and seven touchdowns through 10 games, he's sitting on the best single season of his career with six games left to play.
"Whenever you can finish the first half of the season like we did and come off the bye week at 7-3 – we've got a lot of positive things going for us," Murray said. "We've got to continue to work during the week, we've had a lot of great practices and that's why we've had a lot of success on Sundays."
Thinking back to 2013, it was the Week 12 win at New York when Murray began his turn toward this kind of production. He carried just 14 times for 86 yards in that game, but it set off a six-week tear where Murray averaged 18 carriers and 95.5 yards per week.
Those numbers have shot up considerably in 2014. Through the first two-thirds of the season he is averaging 24 carries and 123 yards per game, best in both categories by a fairly large margin.
Common logic says the Cowboys' upcoming slate should only bolster those numbers. Dallas plays four of its final six games on the road, and all of those road trips will likely involve harsh winter climates – New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. It seems like a safe bet the elements will call for a steady ground game.
"In this part of the year, you know it's cold, the weather, so I think the running is going to be a little bit more of a factor," Murray said. "It's good – we've got a strong offensive line, we've got some backs who can run and also we've got a lot of guys on the edge who can go up and get the ball. It's going to be huge for us."
The timing of the Cowboys' bye week also has to be huge in that regard. Murray was quick to point out that he has yet to feel fatigued this season, but the fact remains: he has tallied at least 23 total touches in all 10 games this season. He has managed 25 or more touches in eight of those games, and he's gone for 30 or more touches on three occasions.
With statistics like that, the importance of a weekend away from the game can't be understated.
"After 10 weeks of playing ball, it's huge," Murray said. "Obviously, guys feel good, but there's nothing like having a couple days off to get rejuvenated and refreshed and refocused to go. We're excited about this next week."