With so much of the blame usually being put on quarterback Tony Romo, we may overlook the continued struggles of the Dallas Cowboys‘ running game. Last year the Cowboys managed a paltry five rushing touchdowns and this season they are on pace to run for just eight. For Dallas, running the ball has become a huge problem.
To put their rushing woes into perspective, Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin ran for four touchdowns alone last week and there are 20 players in the league who have four rushing touchdowns, tying the number the Cowboys have as a team. Heck, three of them are quarterbacks. Dallas ranks 28th in the NFL in rushing yards per game at only 83.4 yards, so there is no “running” around it, the Cowboys have some sad rushing numbers.
It’s hard enough to win in the NFL when one part of your offense isn’t clicking but it is damn near impossible when both of your ways to attack a defense are struggling. We all know the passing game has yet to hit its stride and it’s no different with the run game. When you can’t gain a yard on 3rd and 1 because your offensive line can’t get a push for the running back, you are in trouble.
When you don’t trust the running game enough to try a running play on three straight plays with one yard to go, you know it’s a problem. Even Jason Garrett knows there’s an issue because when the Cowboys failed to get a first down when they had a 2nd and 1 yard to go in the game two weeks ago Garrett said the running game wasn’t going anywhere, so he felt the need to continue to pass the ball.
Please don’t try to tell yourselves it’s just because DeMarco Murray is out either because he only had one touchdown and was averaging just 66 yards a game when he was healthy. If you do the math, that comes out to just over 1,000 yards and three touchdowns for the year. Those numbers are not good enough for the Cowboys offense to be successful.
Tony Romo thrives off of the play action pass, in fact he’s among the top five in the league off of the play action fake but it’s hard for Jason Garrett to call it when the defense doesn’t believe you can beat them with the run. Watch a Houston Texans game and see how well the play action fake works for Matt Schaub.
We all want the Cowboys offense to take off but that won’t happen until their running game gets moving, which will open up some downfield passing for Tony Romo. Without the run game, Garrett will continue to call short passing routes to supplement the run game and we all know how well that’s been working.
The Cowboys need the running game to get going or the offensive woes will continue.
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