Murray raced into the record books in just his sixth game with the Dallas Cowboys, rushing for 253 yards in a victory over St. Louis last Sunday. His performance was the ninth-best in NFL history, and left many wondering DeMarco Who?
Not the Eagles.
They were on a bye, so some players and coaches saw Murray run all over the Rams on television. The rest got a heavy dose of No. 29 on film this week.
“He broke a lot of tackles, he’s fast, elusive,” defensive coordinator Juan Castillo said Thursday. “I mean, in the Rams game, he looked special.”
Murray, a third-round pick, was the Cowboys‘ third-string back behind Felix Jones and Tashard Choice just a week ago. Choice started against the Rams because Jones was injured. Then Murray ran 91 yards for a touchdown on his first carry, so he kept getting the ball.
“Well I don’t think it came out of the blue,” linebacker Jamar Chaney said. “They have a pretty good team over there and a lot of talented running backs. Their running backs aren’t low-draft picks. Those guys, they expect to come in and do those types of things. And I guess he started off slow, but I guess he’s stepping up now. He’s really fast and he’s a guy that can make good decisions and find the right hole to go through.”
Murray’s spectacular effort came against a Rams defense that already was ranked last in the NFL at stopping the run. The Eagles aren’t that much better. They improved to 23rd against the run after holding the Redskins to 42 yards on the ground in a 20-13 win in Week 6. Before that game, the Eagles were third-worst against the run.
“He’s a hard runner. You saw it last week with what he did,” defensive tackle Mike Patterson said. “He’s an explosive guy, and he doesn’t just go down, he keeps his feet moving and runners like that, those are tough guys to take down. So you have to give him credit. He did a pretty good job when he came out.”
Keenan Clayton, a backup linebacker and special teams player, played with Murray at Oklahoma. He joked that he might give some of his defensive teammates material to use against Murray for on-field trash-talking.
“Between the lines, we’re not friends,” said Clayton, who spent time with Murray during Philadelphia’s week off. “Before and after the game, we are friends. I’ve known him four years now. His style changed. He was more of a scat back then. Now he’s a heavier guy with some speed. He’ll run away from you and make you miss, but he’ll run over you, too.”
No Cowboy ever had more yards rushing in a game than Murray did last week. Not Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett. Not NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith. Not Herschel Walker.
That’s quite impressive, especially for a guy who had 25 carries before his breakout game.
“Well, he reminds me of a good running back,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said. “He’s a little different cut than a lot of guys who were as tall, and kind of high-cut, long legs, but he sure did a nice job. He did a nice job at Oklahoma. Probably the only reason he didn’t shatter all of the records there was he was banged up a little bit.