LANDOVER, Md. – It's safe to say DeMarco Murray got his hands on the ball with the game in the balance this time around – did he ever.
In the span of roughly two minutes Sunday afternoon, Murray took the Cowboys to deep lows, followed by extreme highs in the dramatic 24-23 win against Washington. His ill-fated scramble on third and one from the Redskins' goal line seemed destined to have lost the game – it pushed the Cowboys 10 yards farther away from pay dirt.
"My first instinct was to try and make a play, but after looking at it I should've just eaten it there," Murray said. "As a competitor you're always trying to make a play."
Hopes looked bleak at best, having seen a one-yard distance turn into fourth and 10. But with the season on the line, there was Murray again, falling backward into the end zone with a double-clutched pass from Tony Romo – the eventual game-sealing points.
"I knew where I was on the field. I just knew I had to get another yard or so – try and get the ball in there," Murray said. "As I said, a great decision by Romo. A great job by the offensive line giving him time to throw and make a good decision."
The late-game heroics spawned a mob scene of celebration in the Washington end zone, as Cowboys players rushed to congratulate their feature back. [embedded_ad]
"I was just telling him that's his mentality. I tell him all the time that I love it," said Dez Bryant. "That just sparked, not only me, but it sparked everybody else. You've got guys playing like that – I love it."
Murray had to love it as well, as it was the polar opposite of just one week ago. The Cowboys turned away from their productive tailback in the second-half collapse against Green Bay, giving him just seven carries after halftime.
Offensive coordinator Bill Callahan and Romo called his number 12 times overall in the fateful fourth quarter against Washington – 10 carries and two receptions. All told, he toted the rock 22 times – his second-highest total of the season – for 96 yards and a touchdown. He added 15 yards and the deciding touchdown through the air.
"I thought Bill did a great job of calling the plays, the offensive line did a great job of blocking them up," he said. "They're a really good defense. I think over the last nine games they had only allowed one 100-yard rusher, so we knew it was going to be a dogfight."
He fell just short of the century mark, but it all adds to the torrid pace Murray has been on through the last two months of the season.
In fact, Murray's role in the Cowboys' nine-point comeback was so big, it completely overshadowed the biggest milestone of his career to date. When he reversed field and ripped a 43-yard gain off right tackle in the second quarter, Murray went over 1,000 yards on the season – the first Cowboys back to do so since Julius Jones in 2006.
With one game left to play – against a middling Philadelphia run defense – Murray sits at 1,073 yards on the season. He has run for 614 yards in his last six games. True to form, though, Murray focused on the next game, which will once again decide the division – as the Cowboys' Week 17 matchup has during every year of Murray's career.
"It's a great opportunity to be here. A lot of teams – their season is done right now," he said. "We have the opportunity to win this next one and move on."