The reason why the Dallas Cowboys didn’t run the ball in Sunday night’s 34-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was expected and predictable. However, it’s been the one true flaw of Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett since he took over the team midway through last season. During the loss to the Eagles, Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray averaged 9.25 yards per carry, way more than the 5.16 posted by the Eagles’ LeSean McCoy during his 155-yard romp. However, Garrett’s mistake was only running Murray eight times during the contest.
The Cowboys fell behind the Eagles early in the game and then, like any other team in that situation, continuously passed the ball trying to catch up. However, the Cowboys might have been better off handing the ball to Murray.
If an NFL player averages 4.0 yards per carry, he’s considered elite. Murray’s average was more than double that standard number, yet Garrett continued to put the ball in Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s shaky hands. Again, it’s understandable because every team’s tendency is to pass when behind by more than a couple of touchdowns.
Of course, it didn’t help that the Cowboys’ No. 1 run defense couldn’t stop Eagles running back LeSean McCoy, who tallied 155 yards on 30 carries, including two touchdowns. That overshadowed the 50 yards Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick posted on seven scrambles.
Still, the Cowboys have to realize what the team has in Murray. The kid broke Cowboys Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith’s single-game rushing record last week as a rookie. Any running back that posts 253 yards in one game should never go a game without at least 20 carries for the rest of his healthy and youthful career.
Still, Garrett’s pass-happy tendency was aided by his team’s large deficit and he turned away from the Cowboys’ newfound offensive strength. It’s back to the drawing board for Dallas now as the Cowboys return home to host the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Perhaps Murray will see more than eight carries this week, but that’s just a hunch.
Contact Jeric Griffin on Twitter @JericGriffin