- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys set a franchise record with an embarrassing nine rushing attempts in their 27-23 victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. The Cowboys gained just 36 yards.
Starting running back DeMarco Murray, returning to the starting lineup after missing the previous two games with a sprained knee, had four carries for 31 yards.
"Yeah, yeah -- but hey, we won, and we were effective in the passing game," Murray said.
The Vikings played an aggressive defense by bringing a safety closer to the line of scrimmage, and Dallas wanted to attack with the passing game. With a safety closer to the line of scrimmage, quarterback Tony Romo checked out of several run plays to pass.
According to ESPN's Stats & Information, the Cowboys have dropped back to pass an NFL-high 87 percent of the time.
The Cowboys' 51 pass attempts marked the sixth time since 2006 that a team won despite dropping back at least 80 percent of the time.
"You'd certainly like to have more balance than that, obviously," coach Jason Garrett said. "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."
Murray had a 27-yard gain and converted a third-and-1 with a 6-yard gain. But the run game had three negative-yardage runs from the running backs, and in the second half the running backs had minus-1 yard overall. Romo did scramble for 8 yards on a third-down play.
Romo finished the game with 20 consecutive pass attempts, including plays negated by penalties.
"A few times they got us," Romo said of the Vikings. "We had called a few more runs, but it was difficult with the way their defense is predicated on that, showing you a safety down or a blitz look and then, boom, getting out. It makes it difficult if you have a couple of that stuff called."