Gary Barber/Staff Photographer
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys finally broke their string of narrow finishes. All it took was giving the ball to rookie DeMarco Murray and letting him run over the Rams’ shoddy defense.
In his first extended playing time, Murray ran for a franchise-record 253 yards, including an early 91-yard touchdown that got the Cowboys started toward a 34-7 victory on Sunday.
Murray — a third-round pick bumped up in the rotation because of an injury to starter Felix Jones — topped the best single-game performances by NFL rushing king Emmitt Smith and fellow Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett. It’s also the ninth highest total in NFL history, and the most rushing yards by anyone in the NFL this season.
Murray’s TD was the second-longest in team history, topped only by an NFL-record 99-yarder by Dorsett in January 1983.
As impressive as Murray’s performance was, it came against the Rams, who fell to 0-6 and came in with the NFL’s worst defense against the run, allowing 163 yards per game. There were so many holes that when Murray went out with an injury, fourth-stringer Phillip Tanner finished that drive with 35 yards on four carries, including a 6-yard TD run.
For the local fans, it was a terrific start to a baseball-football doubleheader between teams from Dallas-Fort Worth and St. Louis. Game 4 of the World Series began just down the street less than an hour after this game ended. Josh Hamilton of the Rangers and Lance Berkman of the Cardinals showed up in uniform as honorary captains for the pregame coin toss.
Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, quarterback Tony Romo, and running back DeMarco Murray speak to the media after the teams victory over the St. Louis Rams.
The Boys Are Back comment: It’s nice to see a smiling Jason Garrett and Dallas Cowboy organization after a tough few weeks.
ARLINGTON — Dez Bryant had his best second-half performance of the season during the Cowboys’ 34-7 victory over St. Louis on Sunday.
The second-year playmaker entered the Week 7 matchup with only two second-half grabs for a total of 50 yards. On Sunday, he caught four passes after halftime, totaling 56 yards and a touchdown.
So, what was the reason for the breakout half?
“Better preparation,” Bryant admitted.
Superstition also played a role. After Bryant dropped two catchable balls late in the first half he decided to change things up in the locker room. Bryant shed the white receiver gloves and white cleats and went with his black gloves and black Nike’s for the final two quarters.
Atoning for the early drops also factored into his productive third and fourth quarters.
“I felt like that if my opportunity came again then I’d have to make a play,” he said. “I was (mad) because it should’ve been a touchdown. I put that all on me because I had two opportunities and I let them go to waste.”
After the back-to-back drops, the Cowboys settled for a 30-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining before halftime. Bryant went up to Jason Garrett before the half ended and had a quick message for his head coach.
“I should’ve made those plays,” Bryant told him.
Garrett responded: “OK. OK. You’ll get another chance.”
And he got that chance on third-and-10 with a little over four minutes to play. With the Cowboys sitting at the Rams 20, Tony Romo called Bryant’s number on a go-route that just made it over the covering cornerback’s shoulder and right into Bryant’s waiting arms.
The result was Bryant’s fourth touchdown of the season.
St. Louis Rams vs. Dallas Cowboys highlights:
02:17 – The Cowboys receive a much-needed morale boost with a resounding victory over the St. Louis Rams in Dallas, with some help from rookie RB DeMarco Murray.
Video reposted, courtesy YouTube:
ARLINGTON, Texas — DeMarco Murray’s introduction to Sunday’s game against St. Louis could not have been much better. The rookie running back had the second-longest run in team history with a 91-yard touchdown in the first quarter on the third play from scrimmage.
On first-and-19 from the Dallas 9, Murray took a delay handoff from Tony Romo up the middle and slithered to his right behind blocks from fullback Tony Fiammetta and tight end Jason Witten before turning around safety Quintin Mikell to go untouched to the end zone.
Only Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard touchdown run at Minnesota on Jan. 3, 1983 is longer in team history. Dorsett (Dec. 4, 1977 vs. Philadelphia) and Herschel Walker (Dec. 14, 1986 vs. Philadelphia) had the second-longest runs of 84 yards for touchdowns.
Murray’s touchdown run is also the longest first career touchdown run by an NFL running back since the 1970 merger.
It was the 11th longest play by a rookie in team history, counting punt returns, kickoff returns and interception returns.
The Boys Are Back: After DeMarco Murray’s historic game … look for him the win the NFL’s Player of the Week award.
ARLINGTON, TEXAS — A former University of Oklahoma star flashed his considerable talents Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, and it wasn’t Sam Bradford.
Bradford, the former Sooners Heisman Trophy winner, could only look on in admiration — or was it disgust? — as former OU teammate DeMarco Murray left his cleat marks all over the St. Louis defense.
Murray got his day started with a 91-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and didn’t stop until he had gone well over 200 yards rushing. His 252 yards rushing was a Cowboys single-game record and also a record for a Rams opponent.
On this day, the Cowboys didn’t really need Tony Romo except to hand off. But Romo got into the act as well, throwing a couple of TD passes as the Dallas crushed the hapless Rams 34-7. The Cowboys improved to 3-3; the Rams fell to 0-6.
Veteran A.J. Feeley made his first start since 2007, in place of Bradford who did not suit up because of a high ankle sprain. The Rams couldn’t sustain much of anything on offense, even with the addition of Brandon Lloyd to the receiving corps via last Monday’s trade with Denver.
As for the St. Louis run defense, it made Murray look like the next Emmitt Smith or Tony Dorsett with a mirage of missed tackles and missed gaps.
For the second week in a row, the Rams had their opponent backed up near the shadow of its goal line. And for the second week in a row, they gave up a touchdown of 90 yards-plus. Last week in Green Bay, it was Jordy Nelson racing 93 yards with an Aaron Rodgers pass.
Sunday against Dallas, it was Murray racing 91 yards on a run up the middle for the game’s first touchdown. It was the longest run against the Rams in franchise history and came on a delayed handoff that had the St. Louis defense thinking pass. Defensive tackle Fred Robbins looped to the outside on the play and linebacker Brady Poppinga was blocked at the point of attack, leaving a gaping hole.
Late in first quarter, Cadillac Williams fumbled away a screen pass with the Cowboys taking over at their 38. Despite a sack by James Hall, the Cowboys gobbled up yardage in big chunks in the passing game after the takeaway, with Tony Romo completions of 18 yards to Jason Witten, 34 yards to Dez Bryant, and 17 yards to ex-Ram Laurent Robinson giving them a first-and-goal at the St. Louis 4.
On third-and-goal from the 1, Romo threw to a wide-open Jason Witten for a TD and a 14-0 lead. In what looked like a busted coverage by the Rams, safety Quintin Mikell was left trying to cover two Cowboys in the end zone. Once he left Witten, that’s where Romo threw it.
But the Rams’ offense showed some rare life following the ensuing kickoff, taking over on its 15. The big play came on third-and-3 from the Dallas 46, with Steven Jackson roaring up the middle for a 40-yard gain to the Dallas 6. Operating against the NFL’s top-ranked rush defense, Jackson had only 14 yards on 10 carries until that run. On the next play from scrimmage, Jackson scored on a 6-yard run, running untouched to his right into the end zone.
The Rams got the ball back with a chance to tie before halftime, but a third-down throw by Feeley intended for Brandon Lloyd was intercepted by Dallas corner Mike Jenkins, giving the Cowboys possession on the St. Louis 30 with 3:34 to play in the first half. But Dallas, second-worst in the league in red zone offense ahead of only the Rams, had to settle for a 30-yard field goal by Dan Bailey and a 17-7 halftime lead.
JIM THOMAS | St Louis Post Dispatch | Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011
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KICKOFF at 3:15 … today!
Who’s going to score more points?
The St. Louis Cardinals
(last night, scored 16 points in Game 3 of the World Series)
The St. Louis Rams?
(vs the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboy Stadium today)
The Dallas Cowboy Radio Network has approximately 200 stations around the country! You can listen to pregame, live gameday action with the Dallas Cowboys, and postgame shows. A lot of True Blues watch on TV (or at the game) and listen to the Dallas Cowboy Radio Network’s broadcast team. You’ll hear the ‘voice of the Dallas Cowboys’ Brad Sham … one of, if not, the BEST and most recognized voices in sports radio.
With help from the Cardinals, Spagnuolo along with his wife and all the players on the trip attended Game 3 of the World Series on Saturday night. The team was staying at a hotel a short drive away for their game Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys, whose stadium is a few hundred yards from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
“We would normally have meetings right now,” Spagnuolo said a few minutes before the first pitch just outside Section 317 in the top deck of the ballpark, ‘so this is our meeting for tonight. It worked out good because we have a 3 o’clock game tomorrow, so we have time to do the meetings (in the morning). I thought it would be a good thing for team bonding. … I thought it would be a great experience for the guys. How often are you going to get a chance to go to a World Series game?”
Spagnuolo said he’d been to one World Series game before, in 2004 at Fenway Park when the Cardinals played the Red Sox. Then, Spagnuolo was an assistant with the Philadelphia Eagles who went because he was a native of Massachusetts and didn’t personally know the people involved. But now, because of his friendship with Cardinals manager Tony La Russa, this game feels different.
“This is special,” said Spagnuolo, wearing a red shirt for the occasion. “I’m close friends with Tony. I think the world of their team and what they’ve done this year. I think it’s a great reflection of what you can do when you persevere and hang in there. They fought their way back there, so we’re proud of them.”
And for a Rams team that is off to an 0-5 start, a team that came back from 10½ down is a good role model.
“It’s early yet for us,” Spagnuolo said, ‘so we’ll see what happens.”
TOM TIMMERMANN | St. Louis Post Dispatch | Posted: Sunday, October 23, 2011
Beware of Ware
Dallas OLB DeMarcus Ware has led the NFL in sacks in two of the past three seasons, and already has seven sacks this year. He’s not just the best pass rusher in the league; he might be the best defensive player in the game — period. “I like his aggressiveness,” Rams left tackle Rodger Saffold said. “I think he does a good job of diversifying his rushes. It’s not just all speed and burst.” Ware can line up on the left edge, the right edge, and as Saffold puts it, has been known to drift to other spots as well.
HISTORIC: Honorary Texas Ranger and St Louis Cardinal to join Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams coin toss
Sluggers Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers and Lance Berkman of the St. Louis Cardinals will be down the street a few hours before Game 4 on Sunday taking part in the pregame coin toss for the game between their cities’ NFL teams.
Hamilton will represent the Dallas Cowboys, and Berkman the St. Louis Rams when the referee makes the flip.
Kickoff is at 3:15 p.m. The Rangers are scheduled to take batting practice at 4:15 p.m., and the Cardinals at 5:15 p.m.
PHOTO: Limited edition coin used in the 2011 Super Bowl, hosted by Cowboy Stadium in North Texas.