Rabid Reaction: Our series of knee-jerk-styled, emotional overreactions from Ben Rogers of 103.3 FM ESPN's Ben and Skin Show. He's known to get way too excited over even the slightest of developments with the teams he grew up with in the DFW. Proceed with caution ...
Although this has been one of the most psychologically tumultuous seasons the Cowboys fan base has ever endured, the arrival of DeMarco Murray and an easy-breezy stretch in the schedule has the Metroplex dreaming about a magical winter.
Suffering chronic, emotional whiplash while high stepping from one polar extreme to the other has been a lot like riding 50-foot storm waves in a one-oar dingy for Cowboys fans. But firm ground and stable footing are in the forecast. There is reason to believe that the current good vibes could actually be sustainable this time.
Dark clouds are quickly disappearing as the Detroit debacle falls further and further back in the rearview mirror, and beautiful, invigorating sunlight is now shining a bright, natural spotlight directly on the following three games of the Cowboys' win-friendly schedule.
Don't fall for the banana-in-the-tailpipe cliches that every game is a tough game in the NFL or that you can throw records out the door with divisional rivalries. The ensuing three weeks essentially represent automatic win/bye weeks for the Cowboys.
At (3-6) Washington = WIN
Home vs. (2-7) Miami = WIN
At (3-6) Arizona = WIN
Going into the final four games of the season, the Dallas Cowboys' record will be 8-4.
Curse those lofty expectations as jinx bait if you’d like. Hide your Ouija board. Consult your favorite warlock. Make a black cat reverse moonwalk beneath a tiny ladder. Do whatever you need to in order to absorb that truth without overly spooking your superstitious side. But that is official real talk, sports friend.
This is not the same team it was before the remarkable emergence of Murray. The Cowboys offense now features a certified rush monster capable of gobbling up defenses in giant bites. He runs with patience, power, explosiveness and vision. If the block is there, he’ll wait for it and take advantage. If the block isn’t there, he’ll reverse field and improvise heroically.
Murray is a legitimate 20+ carry-per-week workhorse who forces the defense to respect the run. The balance he brings to the table makes Tony Romo considerably more dangerous. If you’re not sure, go back and watch Laurent Robinson’s 58-yard touchdown against Buffalo. It didn’t even take a play-action fake to tie the Bills' secondary in knots. It merely took a run formation with Murray lurking in the backfield to shake an NFL defense to its core and turn that drive into a one-play score.
Murray also rolls clock. He moves chains and keeps his defense fresh on the sideline. He protects leads and keeps the opposing offense ice cold on their sideline. By effectively utilizing the run threat, Romo is able to make plays early in games and build leads.
If the formula reminds you of the '90s Cowboys, it should. Although this year’s team more closely resembles the shaky rollercoaster of the last several years than the dominant steamroller of the '90s, Jason Garrett could be on the verge of deploying the same magical offensive recipe for winning that Dallas used to collect a handful of rings in the '90s.
If the Cowboys are truly going to do something special this season, they need to take advantage of the generous gift the scheduling gods have placed at their feet. With Murray on board, they appear equipped to do just that.
The Ben and Skin Show airs weekdays from 9 a.m.-noon on 103.3 FM, ESPN in Dallas-Fort Worth. Follow Ben on Twitter: @BenRogers