When the month of December arrives it’s time to stop worrying about the number of injuries a player may or may not have, or be overly concerned about conserving someone’s energy for later in the year. At this point in the season, it’s time to pull out all of the stops and win as many games as you possibly can to sneak your way into the playoffs. This is exactly what Jason Garrett and his coaching staff did Thursday night as they marched the Dallas Cowboys into Soldier Field to face the desperate and down-on-their-luck Chicago Bears.
For years critics have been all over Garrett for putting too much of the offensive burden on Tony Romo and for not running the ball nearly enough. Well, this year he finally decided to commit to the ground game and these same critics are giving him grief for the massive number of carries DeMarco Murray is on pace to have. Apparently, the criticism was starting to take its toll on Garrett because if you look at the Cowboys’ last five games before their matchup with Chicago, you will see that Murray only carried the ball more than 20 times once in that span, and as a result the team went 2-3 in those games.
Don’t think that this fact went unnoticed by the coaching staff — they went into this game saying that they will make or miss the playoffs by relying heavily on their star players.
Romo is coming off of herniated disk surgery, transverse process fractures and a broken rib. Give him an injection and send him out there! Murray is on pace to have over 400 carries this year; hand him the ball 32 times this game and worry about that next year. Dez Bryant is in a contract year. Feed him early and often and have him show Jerry Jones just how much he is worth.
The Cowboys ran exactly 62 offensive plays Thursday night and 49 of them had either Murray, Bryant or Jason Witten touching the ball. Just think about that for a second. Nearly 80 percent of the snaps involved the team’s best players. 41 of those 49 were all Murray. Shouldn’t it be that way every game?
When the Cowboys rely on their stars, you see the results. This was one of the best performances this team has had in years and this is exactly what it will take if they have any hope of taking the division title away from the Philadelphia Eagles.
So look out Eagles, you may be in for more than you bargained for.
Kelly Anderson is a blogger for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bgipp01 or add him to your network on Google.