Cowboys' run game disappears

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
9:45
AM ET
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The final Dallas Cowboys rushing totals against the Green Bay Packers suggest a solid night of running the football.

DeMarco Murray rushed 18 times for 134 yards and one touchdown. Murray was the only man to carry the ball and when the Cowboys led 26-3 at halftime, it was reasonable to think the team would work time off the clock by running.

Cowboys ran the ball just seven times in the second half and one of the biggest plays of the game occurred when quarterback Tony Romo changed a run play to a pass, leading to an interception in the fourth quarter.

The Cowboys eventually lost the game, 37-36.

Murray, who has rushed for over 100-yards for the second consecutive week, declined comment as he left the locker room.

Following Romo's interception, on a pass to Cole Beasley with 1:22 remaining, Murray snatched his helmet off and screamed as he got to the sidelines.

Explanations regarding the lack of run plays in the second half were left to coach Jason Garrett and Romo. Offensive coordinator/play caller Bill Callahan declined comment after the game.

"At different times in the second half, we probably could have run the ball more," Garrett said. "We're having some success throwing it. We did have a couple drives where we went incomplete and weren't able to convert it on third down, which certainly hurt us. But we wanted to keep running it and maintaining an aggressive mentality throughout the ballgame and we wanted to mix run and pass. We'll go back and evaluate and see how well we did that."

Running the football has become a sore subject with the Cowboys this season. In a 17-16 loss at Kansas City in Week 2, the Cowboys ran the ball just five times in the second half after leading 10-7. The Cowboys ran a franchise-low nine times in a 27-23 victory over Minnesota in Week 9.

After the Minnesota game, Cowboys' officials vowed to re-commit to the run and the team has rushed for over 100 yards in four of the last five weeks. Yet, the lack of runs in the second half, and Romo changing out of a run play has brought more criticism.

"We have options for those really challenging and difficult situations," Garrett said. "[Romo] would be the first one to tell you now that we probably should have run the ball in that situation."

Added DeMarcus Ware: "It's an offensive thing. At the end of the day, you got to be able to run the ball. And they were running the ball really well and they had a pretty good game."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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