- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- Want to know how important the return of starting running back DeMarco Murray is to the Cowboys' offense?
The team is 2-0 since his return from a sprained left foot that cost him six games.
There was more emotion over Murray's run, a move to the right side. As he was being tackled, he stretched out and lunged his arm far enough so it could land at the first-down marker. The 6-yard gain came on a third-and-5 from the Bengals 30 with about a minute to play.
After a review of the play, it was ruled Murray had done enough for the first down and the Cowboys sideline erupted with emotion, more than after Bailey's field-goal try went through. Bailey received a half-hug when he made the kick, but there were all kinds of yelling and screaming after Murray's third-down run.
"It was more of a celebration before the kick," defensive end Marcus Spears said. "I've never seen that from a third down pickup."
Murray finished with 53 yards on 21 carries. In the last two games, Murray has carried 44 times, despite coming back from a foot injury.
It proves Murray is healthy, for the first time in more than a month. Garrett trusts him more than any other running back he's had.
"Just trying to get the first down," Murray said. "I knew it was going to be close and I had to extend the ball a few inches and we were able to get it. It was good blocking up front and Dwayne (Harris) made a good block, he was on (Terence Newman)."
In the fourth quarter, the Cowboys scored twice, a Dez Bryant 27-yard reception, and of course Bailey's field goal. Murray gained 29 yards on eight carries in the final quarter.
"Just trying to be relentless and we knew he had a little trouble in the first half, a great defense, they were coming after us," Murray said. "We made some adjustments at halftime (Tony) Romo was able to get us in no-huddle and we finally started making plays, we missed a lot of opportunities in the first half, dropped balls, and not running the ball well on first down got behind the chains and we were able to do a little bit better in the second half."