One of the biggest mysteries and hottest debates entering this Cowboys’ season was the question of credit. As in, who was most responsible for last year’s record rushing game: DeMarco Murray? Or the offensive line?
After five games I think we have our answer.
With an assist to Dez Bryant.
You can’t award credit to Murray, who is languishing in Philadelphia where he’s not even the leading rusher on his own team (trailing Ryan Matthews). Through five games Murray has 130 yards, good for only 50th in the NFL. After five games with the Cowboys in 2014 he had already amassed 535.
But neither can you raise the victorious hand of Dallas’ offensive line. With both Romo and Bryant out with injuries, the Cowboys have lost three consecutive games and ground to a hideous halt.
I figured Murray was an above-average back that produced a historic season behind the league’s best offensive line. Using that reasoning, I envisioned them pounding the running game in Romo’s absence and staying around .500 with a couple of ugly wins. Nope, I was wrong.
Without Romo’s impromptu playmaking and void of Bryant stretching the field and scaring defenses, the offensive line has deteriorated into just a group of five struggling guys on a losing streak. Since the injuries to their stars, the Cowboys are 1 of 5 on 3rd-and-1. Neither Joseph Randle nor Darren McFadden have established any consistency the last two weeks. With defenses not respecting Brandon Weeden or Dallas’ diminished receivers, the Cowboys haven’t been able to run the ball.
The results? Six three-and-outs in 12 possessions against the Patriots, failing to score an offensive touchdown for the first time in four years. And in the last 10 quarters – since halftime of the Falcons game – the Cowboys have scored only four field goals and two touchdowns.
With Romo, Bryant, Murray and the offensive line last year, the Cowboys averaged 29 points per game and topped 40 three times.
So because everyone should’ve received credit last year, this year nobody is winning the debate.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.