Cowboys turn to Phillip Tanner as closer

CHARLOTTE – When the season began the Cowboys never felt they would have had to turn to Phillip Tanner as their closer at running back.

It happened Sunday at Carolina with DeMarco Murray out with a sprained foot and Felix Jones on the sideline in the final moments of the fourth quarter with a bruised knee.

“I was just ready for whatever, whenever my number was called,” Tanner said.

Tanner, a Dallas Kimball grad, finished with a career-high 13 carries and 30 yards. He also caught one pass for eight yards. He opened the game as the third-down back but saw more action as the game went along. Jones appeared to suffer a minor neck injury on the second play of the game, but he finished with 44 yards on 15 carries and caught five passes for 30 yards.

The Cowboys handed the ball to Tanner on five of their final six snaps, including the conservative third-and-9 call that was followed by a Dan Bailey field goal. On the Cowboys’ final drive he carried three times for four yards after James Anderson was flagged for a horse-collar penalty on a Tanner run.