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Sunday, December 22, 2013
Cowboys give DeMarco Murray a chance

By Calvin Watkins

LANDOVER, Md. -- All DeMarco Murray wanted was a chance.

Just give the man a chance to finish the ball game. Just give the man a chance to help you win a game, especially if he’s playing well.

The Cowboys awoke out of their season-long slumber with Murray and gave him an opportunity to help them win, not in the second quarter, but the fourth quarter when it counts.

DeMarco Murray
Dallas running back DeMarco Murray carries the ball into the end zone for the winning touchdown against Washington.
Murray rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries with one touchdown in the Cowboys’ thrilling 24-23 victory against the Washington Redskins on Sunday.

It was Murray showing what patience means when he was stopped on a third-and-goal from the one for a nine-yard loss late in the fourth quarter.

And after a timeout, Murray made himself helpful. He chipped a defender, helping tackle Doug Free, to give quarterback Tony Romo some time.

Murray snuck into the flat and caught a pass with his back to the end zone and he spun around and stepped in for the go-ahead score. It was Murray’s first receiving touchdown of his career.

After the score, you saw was a hockey scrum breaking out in the corner of the end zone with yellow flags being thrown and Murray yelling at somebody without a helmet.

When Murray got to the sidelines, a warm embrace with Dez Bryant occurred. It was like two brothers happy for one another.

Murray was finally given the chance he was waiting for. He’s not one to complain about his touches or when he gets them.

He calmly just wants to get the ball, like everybody else.

“I wanted to stay on the field and I was fortunate (they) kept me on the field,” Murray said. “It was a good play by Romo and a good call by Bill.”

Bill is Bill Callahan, the play-caller whose own play calls are questioned on a regular basis around here. He doesn’t run Murray enough or use him in the right situations.

On the third-down play, the Cowboys tried to use Murray by running off tackle, but guard Ronald Leary was pushed into the backfield. Murray attempted to take the play across the line of scrimmage but was dropped for the loss.

It seemed the season was coming to an end after Murray’s loss.

“My first instinct is to try and make a play, but after looking at it I should have kinda of ate it there,” Murray said. “But as a competitor you’re always trying to make a play, and you got to move on.”

It didn’t make sense to rush Murray off the outside where there was a chance he could get pushed out of bounds and stop the clock. Callahan should have used Murray up the gut where the Cowboys seemed to have success.

Faced with their season on the line, Murray made the biggest catch and score. It was in the same end zone where Roy Williams caught a dramatic pass from Romo that should have beaten the Redskins back in 2010, only to see a holding call negate the play.

There were no holding calls here on Sunday.

Just smiles and a relief Murray is getting his chance to help this team.

“It was huge, it was huge, man,” Bryant said. “We talk about these kinds of moments all the time, then when it happens it makes you feel good, and it makes you emotional, and it brings you together and tighter.”

The Cowboys need to stick with Murray as they head into their play-in game with the Philadelphia Eagles next Sunday at AT&T Stadium. If the Cowboys are down a score or even two with some time, Murray needs his touches. It takes pressure off the passing game that’s hazy with Romo’s back/foot problems, a disappearing Miles Austin and a shaky play-caller.

When Murray gets 20-or-more carries, the Cowboys are 11-0. His 1,073 marks the first time since 2006, the Cowboys have had a 1,000-yard rusher. He’s got nine touchdowns this season, the most since Marion Barber had 10 in 2007.

You might not like Murray’s measured running style that doesn’t display speed, but quickness. He did bang out a 43-yard run, the second longest play of the game.

Yet, if the Cowboys want to win the NFC East next week, everything starts with Murray.