The Cowboys got running back DeMarco Murray back from a knee injury on Sunday, but the news of his return may not have made it to the offensive play callers.
Murray ran the ball just four times and the Cowboys finished the game with a franchise-record low nine rushing attempts overall in a 27-23 victory over the Vikings. The Cowboys’ lack of desire to run the ball was most glaring in the second half as they ran just twice in several possessions after taking a 20-17 lead over Minnesota and Tony Romo finished the game with 20 straight pass attempts, including plays wiped out by penalties.
“You’d certainly like to have more balance than that, obviously,” coach Jason Garrett said, via ESPNDallas.com. “We’ll keep striving for that. We did run the ball a little bit fairly well early on. DeMarco looked like he was going to have a good day, but as it wore on there were some minus runs that happened that got us behind the sticks a little bit. Hard for us to get into a rhythm.”
This is a particularly extreme spread between run and pass, but an aversion to the run is nothing particularly new for the Cowboys under Garrett. They’ve consistently favored passing over running, with the big difference this time being that their choice didn’t wind up being fodder for criticism after a loss.
The Cowboys may not be sure Murray is the back for their future, but it’s hard to see passing 87 percent of the time working out for them on a regular basis so they might want to give him more of a shot while playing with a lead in the coming weeks.