Murray deals with forgotten run game

December, 17, 2013
12/17/13
5:00
PM ET
The morning after the Cowboys' two-interception fourth quarter and the questions about the disappearance of the running game, DeMarco Murray visited a children's hospital.

[+] EnlargeDeMarco Murray
AP Photo/Tim SharpHe may not say anything, but you can't blame DeMarco Murray if he's seething over the Cowboys' forgotten running game.
Sporting a beard that Santa would love, the Cowboys' running back visited Scottish Rite Hospital for Children to sign autographs, pose for pictures and visit patients.

The visits gave Murray a pause from the reality of his world: He's frustrated. He's angry. He's everything that would indicate he's mad.

Murray won't admit this and declined to speak to reporters after the Cowboys' 37-36 loss Sunday to the Green Bay Packers. Despite talking briefly to the media Monday morning, he didn't talk football.

But you could tell in his face that he's not happy. If he played Santa, he would be a grumpy Santa.

"Yeah, yeah. You think about [Sunday] and you are mad about that, and then as soon as you step here, you totally forget about it," he said. "It's the last thing that crosses your mind. Just knowing what these kids are going through on a daily basis, how much fight they have, just makes you look up to them."

Dez Bryant walked to the locker room before the game ended to hide his tears, frustrated at how the Cowboys lost, Murray probably wanted to go somewhere, too. He rushed 18 times for 134 yards. He caught four passes for 19 yards and was targeted seven times. He produced wonderfully for the Cowboys.

It got lost. Or it got forgotten.

The Cowboys ran the ball just seven times in the second half despite holding a lead they treated like weeds in the front lawn. The Cowboys played -- or rather called a game -- not to lose.

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Murray wants to win and prove something to people -- maybe at Valley Ranch, maybe outside of Valley Ranch.

In the fourth quarter after the Cowboys saw their lead dwindle to 29-24, Murray carried the ball just twice. Dallas pushed the lead to 36-24 but with the defense falling apart allowed another score to return the advantage to five, Murray carried the ball just one more time.

That's right, just one more time.

He was supposed to get a carry on a second and 6, but quarterback Tony Romo didn't like the defensive look and changed the play as if it were the second quarter instead of the fourth, when the clock needed to be chewed up. Instead of Murray running into seven or eight defenders, he watched as the quarterback threw an interception on a quick pass.

Murray stormed off the field and took off his helmet screaming.

That's the only outward expression Murray showed Sunday that leads one to believe he didn't like the decision or its result. When the game was over, Murray didn't storm the locker room; he causally walked out the back door and declined to talk about what just happened.

Does Murray have a right to be upset?

He's battled perceptions that he's not durable enough to play. He's missed two games this season with a sprained knee, increasing discussions that he can't survive a 16-game season.

Murray may not play 16 games a season, but he's on the verge of reaching 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Murray needs just 23 rushing yards, an amount he should get in Landover, Md., on Sunday afternoon against the Redskins, to become the first Cowboys running back to reach 1,000 since Julius Jones did it in 2006.

Murray should be upset. He's turned into a fighter, someone whom Bryant wants on his side.

If the Cowboys are going to do anything this season -- and they have two games remaining to do so -- Murray needs the ball more often.
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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