Dunbar rushed for a team-high 105 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown burst in the third quarter of a 30-13 victory over the Miami Dolphins. Dunbar (5-foot-8, 191 pounds), who missed the team’s first two pre-season games with a hamstring injury, also mixed in a 27-yard punt return and a tackle on kickoff coverage. He averaged 7.0 yards per rush (15 carries, 105 yards).
Dunbar’s touchdown marked the longest run from scrimmage by a Cowboys’ back during the pre-season. His performance drew post-game praise from coach Jason Garrett, who acknowledged that several performances in Wednesday’s game “probably made us rethink some things” in regard to the makeup of the team’s 53-man roster.
Asked about landing a spot on the Cowboys’ roster, Dunbar said: “I think I did enough. But I think I could have done better. I could have made more tackles on special teams … it was an alright performance.”
But Dunbar said “it meant a lot” to top the 100-yard mark in a game he viewed as an all-or-nothing evaluation opportunity after missing the brunt of training camp with the hamstring injury.
“I think I did pretty good,” Dunbar said. “They’ll evaluate, and we’ll see what happens soon.”
Garrett called Dunbar’s performance one of the bright spots in Wednesday’s contest.
“I thought Dunbar ran the ball really well. He showed his lateral quickness, his ability to burst through a hole and, obviously, make big runs,” Garrett said. “And he’s a tough guy. He’s not afraid to stick it up in there, either. We’ve felt really good about Dunbar all through the off-season and through training camp. He just hasn’t had a chance to play because he got banged up.”
Dunbar is competing with incumbent Phillip Tanner, who carried nine times for 48 yards and a TD, to be the team’s third running back.
“We like our backup running backs,” Garrett said. “Phillip Tanner has done a really nice job since he’s been here, both as an offensive player and also on special teams.”
_ Jimmy Burch