CHICAGO – Monday night was supposed to be DeMarco Murray's time to shine, if his first possession was any indication.
Murray toted the rock six times for 52 yards in an efficient, time-consuming opening drive against the Bears. The gameplan seemed obvious: let Murray soften up a shaky Chicago defense – the big plays, such as Dez Bryant's two-yard touchdown to start the scoring, would follow.
"We ran the ball well. That's what we focused on, and we thought we could kill them there," Bryant said.
It certainly looked like a smart strategy. Murray averaged 8.1 yards per carry on the way to 146 yards on the night. Of course, it didn't end up mattering in the Bears' 45-28 demolition of the Cowboys.
"It's the NFL, and you know you're not going to be able to run up and down the field like that all day," said running backs coach Gary Brown. "We felt good about the plan. Coach Callahan put a great plan together – we've just got to execute."
Chicago's success on offense had plenty to do with that. In the early going of the game, when the Cowboys were tied or trailing by just one score, Murray carried the ball 13 times for 99 yards.
Following the halftime break, he carried the ball five times.
"They gave us a lot of problems – they're a good offensive team," said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. "We suffered because of it, and they took us out of our offense. That's the story of the game."
Some of that was due to a strong performance from Joseph Randle, who added nine carries for 53 yards – including a garbage time touchdown.
A bigger part of that was probably the Bears' offense, which amassed 36:44 of possession and 69 total plays to help keep the Cowboys off the field.
Chicago's control of the game allowed Dallas to run the ball just twice in the third quarter. The Cowboys fed it to both Randle and Murray a combined six times on their first possession of the fourth quarter – a drive which led to a touchdown. But by that point, they already trailed 42-14. [embedded_ad]
"They certainly took us out of our plan, offensively, that was working good for us," Jones said. "The fact that we couldn't get them stopped made us change what we were doing offensively."
Brown said he was pleased with his backs' performances overall. But he added that stats don't ultimately amount to much without a result.
"At the end of the day it's about getting the win," he said. "If you run it 50 times but you lose, it really doesn't matter. We've got to put points on the board."