Cowboys, DeMarco Ground Out Win At Tennessee

NASHVILLE - On DeMarco Murray's third touch of the game at Tennessee, he fumbled. 'That was the third carry of about 30 carries you're going to have today,' coach Jason Garrett barked at his Pro Bowl runner. 'So hold onto the damn ball!' Murray did that, keying a 26-10 Cowboys win.

The Dallas Cowboys trampled the Tennessee Titans 26-10 Sunday afternoon at LP Field, with fourth-year running back DeMarco Murray shouldering the load with his 29 carries for 167 yards and a touchdown.

There was an imperfection in there as Dallas evened its record at 1-1; Murray fumbled on his third carry of the game, his second giveaway in as many weeks in contrast with his sure-handed reputation.

"That was the third carry of about 30 carries you're going to have today," coach Jason Garrett barked at his Pro Bowl runner once Murray returned dejectedly to the sideline. "So hold onto the damn ball!"

Garrett's staff also did its part, largely avoiding cuteness and instead letting its offensive line bully the Titans' talented front. Last week, Dallas had two short-yardage situations inside the opponent's five-yard line, didn't run, and suffered a Week 1 home loss to the Niners. This week, Dallas wisely called Murray's number on an early-game first-and-goal at the Titans three-yard line. The 2011 third-round draft pick moved around the scrum, and stretched forward to break the plane of the goal-line with an outstretched football. The touchdown and Dan Bailey extra point gave Dallas a 10-0 lead that set the game's tone.

"We had a good day running the football, and all the credit goes to the blocking of the offensive line, the tight ends and the receivers," Murray told CowboysHQ. "It's a pleasure running behind them."

On that scoring drive, set up at the Tennessee 40 thanks to a Barry Church interception, Murray carried the ball all four times and averaged 10.25 yards per carry.

"That," said receiver Dez Bryant, who himself was good for 10 catches, 103 yards and a TD, "was (DeMarco) going 'beast-mode."

Murray's 29 carries were the most of his career. Not surprisingly, the Cowboys are 13-1 when Murray carries the ball 20 or more times in a game' the only loss coming last week. The 169 rushing yards is the third-most in Murray's career. His top two rushing performances of 175 and 253 yards came against the St. Louis Rams, who Dallas faces next week in Edward Jones Dome. In total, Dallas ran the ball 43 times for 220 yards.

"We talk about it a lot," said tight end Jason Witten. "But we're committed to the run. And I think it's a compliment to your football team when your star quarterback (Tony Romo) can be a secondary option."

And a real compliment when a coaching staff can hand off to its ground game ... and DeMarco Murray holds onto the damn ball."

Listen here to Mike Fisher's interview with DeMarco Murray postgame:

Dan Bailey had impressive game at Tennessee. He went 4/4 on field goals of 48, 44, 51, and 48. His 4/4 on grass at LP Field ties his 4/4 in Bank of America Stadium in 2012 against the Carolina Panthers. The Oklahoma State product has not missed a field goal sine Week 4 last year in San Diego. Coincidentally, that was the last time he also missed on grass. ... Church's pick, along with Rolando McClain's spectacular interception off a Henry Melton tip, highlighted a first-rare defensive effort. ... As we publish this, we are boarding the Cowboys team charter flight. We'll have much more exclusive game coverage for you all night and morning!

THE FINAL WORD: "This is how you wanna play. I think we wore those guys down." -Garrett.

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