Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE
One of my biggest complaints about Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett, even from back when he was just the offensive coordinator, is that he often tries to trick teams with his play-calling instead of just calling the stuff that consistently works. In particular, he never seemed committed to getting the running game going, and it often came back to bite the Cowboys at the end of games.
In a loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6, Garrett appeared to finally throw all those trick plays out and instead rode the running game hard for most of the game. The Cowboys still lost, but it came down to the wire, and more importantly, it showed that they can play winning football on offense that way.
The Cowboys have to wonder if the game would have had a different result had their starting running back, DeMarco Murray, not missed most of the second half with a foot injury. Still, it's hard to argue with a formula that resulted in 227 yards on the ground and helped them put up 29 points.
When the Cowboys can get the running game going like they did today, their wide receivers and tight ends put a lot of pressure on a defense. If the opposing defense has to start putting a safety in the box to help stop the run, that's going to leave a lot of guys with one-on-one coverage.
In the past few years, the Cowboys—and specifically Garrett—never seemed to buy into this concept. It was particularly egregious that they hadn't tried this game plan this year because it's been obvious that their offensive line struggles with pass-blocking.
Now that film can show them that riding the running game is a much more effective strategy, it will be interesting to see if Garrett goes with that the rest of the year or reverts back to his old guru ways.