Rookie running back DeMarco Murray has seemingly come back to earth after rushing for 601 yards in his first four games as a starter. He has just 198 the past three games to combined, including just 38 on 12 carries against the Cardinals.
One reason is that Murray has played the last three games without fullback Tony Fiammetta who has been sidelined with an unknown illness. Fiammetta is a bulldozing lead blocker. His replacements the past three weeks tight end John Phillips and fullback Shaun Chapas aren't at the same level.
But what's also true, according to coach Jason Garrett, is the Cowboys have played three straight teams who play eight and nine men in the box to stop run, making it harder to get the ground game going.
That was certainly the case Sunday against the Cardinals who used a lot of run blitzes to slow down Murray.
“Well, the style of defenses that we’ve played the last few weeks typically are geared to stopping the run," Garrett said. "They like to have an eighth guy down around the line of scrimmage. They like to run blitz a lot. And it’s really been each of the last three opponents. So, what we’ve found you have to do is you have to find a way to run the ball in those situations anyway, and you have to throw the ball well enough to hopefully chase them out of that defense. At different times yesterday and over the past few weeks we’ve been able to do that, and at other times we haven’t been quite as good. We’ve just got to get better. We’ve got to keep working to be able to do that and create the balance that we need on offense.”
Clarence E. Hill Jr.