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October 02, 2012

Cowboys' ground game stagnant again, with too many minus-yardage plays

Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray had five minus-yardage runs in tonight’s 34-18 loss to the Bears, all in the first three quarters. He had seven in last week’s 16-10 victory over Tampa Bay, giving him 12 in two games.

Murray had only 14 minus-yardage runs in 13 games last season.

Murray also fumbled in the first quarter and dropped a pitchout from Romo in the second. The second fumble was credited to Romo, who also threw five interceptions, tying a career high.

But the bottom line is that the Cowboys’ ground game, which has managed just one rushing touchdown in four games this season , is stuck in neutral. Dallas rushed for only 41 yards (2.9 per carry), although the bigger issue – in the minds of some – was the five turnovers, all on interceptions by quarterback Tony Romo.

“You can’t turn the ball over. That’s No. 1,” Cook said. “I don’t think the running game is necessarily the issue at this point. We need to take care of the football and the rest of it will take care of itself.”

Coach Jason Garrett did acknowledge some concerns about the team’s inability to run the ball consistently behind its rebuilt offensive line.

“They play good run defense,” Garrett said. “There’s a commitment at the line of scrimmage. When you play them, we have to continue to try to be persistent with the run game … to play a little bit downhill at them. At the same time, you’re going to make you miles in the passing game and we were able to do that.”

_ Jimmy Burch

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