Cowboy Play Caller Scott Linehan Sticks to His Guns and Runs the Ball

DeMarco Murray

DeMarco Murray

Sunday night was different for the Dallas Cowboys and their fans. And I’m not just referring to the final score where Dallas wins a prime time game 38-17. In this game it was the Saints, not Dallas, that found themselves passing the ball far more than running it. It was if the two teams switched roles this time. What has changed?

Saints QB Drew Brees passed for 340 yards which wasn’t a surprise at all. Thought it may have been more to be honest. But how many times have we seen QB Tony Romo be the one who passes for over 300 yards in a game only to come up on the short end of the final score? Far too often fans may answer. Romo was efficient in this game as he passed for only 262 yards but had 3 TDs with no INTs.

The Cowboys had a very balanced attack as they rushed 28 times (Murray and Randle combined) and Romo passed 29 times. Murray accumulated 149 yards on physical running that seemed to wear down the Saints defense. The Cowboys offensive line pushed people around up front as they seemed to impose their will. “We are running it and you can’t stop it”. It’s not been like that in a long time for the silver and blue.

It made me wonder what exactly has changed this season for Dallas?

They still have the same crazy old owner sitting up there watching the game and calling the shots as GM. No change there. Same head coach who would normally run Murray a few times at the first of the game then abandon it, and turn Romo loose passing the ball every play like a kid in a toy store. Garrett’s inability to manage the clock are well documented as well. None of that different. Even the same often criticized QB who too often finds a way to choke and turn the ball over late. So what changed?

Before the season play calling duties were handed over to Scott Linehan and he talked about staying committed to the run game. Naturally many of us, self included, were not convinced that they would actually stick to the run game. After all, talk is cheap and we had heard all that kind of talk before besides, Linehan did plenty of passing when he was at Detroit.

“Seeing would be believing” and after four games, we have been seeing it. The 2014 Dallas Cowboys are a run team and by gosh it’s working like we all thought it would if they would just do it.

Currently the Cowboys lead the NFL in rushing with 165 yards per game. Only one NFL team has more rush attempts per game and that is the undefeated Bengals. The Cowboys are in the top 3 teams in yards per rush.

This season defenses must respect the run threat and that is opening up the passing lanes for Romo and not allowing teams to pin back their ears and pass rush every play. Passing less but more effectively, if you will. What a concept.

Four games doesn’t complete a season obviously but if Linehan continues to call a balanced attack that commits to the run, the Cowboys will be a tougher team to beat this season than in the recent past.

Stick to your guns Cowboy. Pound the rock!