The Dallas Cowboys are struggling with injuries again. They lost defensive end DeMarcus Ware for 3-4 and have lost running back DeMarco Murray for at least Week 7 with a sprained MCL. That injury usually costs players 2-4 weeks, so it could be longer than just next week.
That means the Cowboys won’t be able to balance their offense with the run game like they would hope for. In the win against the Redskins, Murray carried the ball 7 times for 29 yards before exiting the game. Joseph Randle added 11 carries for 17 yards and Phillip Tanner carried the ball once for 2 yards.
Looking at the season as a whole you can see how much the Cowboys, not exactly strong, run game depends on Murray. He has 91 carries for 428 yards. The rest of the running backs on the roster have a combined 23 carries for 58 yards. That includes 7 carries for 38 yards from Lance Dunbar, who is dealing with his own hamstring and didn’t play on Sunday.
Without a real threat at running back the Cowboys might rely heavily on the pass making them very one-dimensional heading into a match up against the Philadelphia Eagles. If they weren’t already. Pass heavy games mean incompletions, which means stopped clocks. By not being able to run and take time off the clock the Eagles offense could get more time on the field to use their hurry up offense.
For example, in Sunday’s game against the Bucs, the Eagles ran 65 plays in a little over 26 minutes. Tampa Bay by comparison called 66 plays in nearly 34 minutes, 8 minutes more than the Eagles had on offense and they called 21 run plays.
In the Eagles win against the Giants in Week 5, they called 77 plays in a little over 32 minutes and Foles wasn’t nearly as effective as he was last week. The Cowboys by comparison have called 104 plays in the last two weeks and not led in time of possession in either game. The Eagles have called 132 plays in that same two game span.
It looks like the Eagles’ offense will run the Cowboys defense ragged and wear them down tiring them out quickly, unless Romo and the Cowboys can get first downs. That could require another near-flawless game from Romo, like his performance against the Broncos.
The good news for the Cowboys is that they’re used to it. The Cowboys have given up 70-plus plays in three straight games. But do you think the Cowboys defense can handle that kind of pressure again?