Eventually, the Dallas Cowboys are going to have to slow down DeMarco Murray's workload. Until then, he'll just keep making history.
With 128 rushing yards in the Cowboys' Week 7 victory over the New York Giants, Murray became the first player in NFL history to go over the 100-yard mark in his team's first seven games.
Murray, 26, tied the six-game record Jim Brown set in 1958 during last week's win over the Seattle Seahawks. That the Oklahoma product would break a record so old should come as no surprise given the old-school workload he's being given. Murray came into Sunday with 159 carries, putting him on pace for 424 over a 16-game season—a number that would smash Larry Johnson's single-season record.
Brown talked about Murray breaking his record via Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Field Yates of ESPN puts the number of 100-yard games into perspective:
The workload has become an increasingly loud talking point in Dallas, especially considering Murray's injury history. Coming into 2014, he'd never played in more than eight consecutive games. The Cowboys also experienced firsthand what their offense would look like sans Murray on Sunday, when he left briefly with an ankle injury before returning.
“No. I don’t really hear it,” Murray said of the talk about his carry totals, per Jon Machota of The Dallas Morning News. “I’m just concentrating on doing my job and doing what I can to help this team win. Whatever they ask me to do, like I’ve said since I’ve been here, I’m going to do it to the best of my ability.”
At his current pace, Murray has a chance to challenge Eric Dickerson's all-time rushing record. His pace of 2,093 yards coming into this week would leave him 12 yards shy of matching the mark, which Dickerson set in 1984. Overall, he'd finish with the third-highest total of all time, behind Dickerson and Adrian Peterson's MVP campaign in 2012.
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Murray is already on the MVP shortlist through the first seven weeks, spurring Dallas to a surprising 5-1 start and first-place tie atop the NFC East with the Philadelphia Eagles heading into Sunday's matchup with the Giants. With the Cowboys having shaky defensive talent and an offense with a less-than-stellar clutch reputation, some saw the team as a potential bottom-feeder in the East. Instead, a renewed commitment to the ground spearheaded by Murray and assistant coach Scott Linehan has the Cowboys in a position of control.
Dallas hosts Washington and Arizona before going to Jacksonville prior to its Week 11 bye. The Cowboys should be favored in all three games—possibly by double digits over Washington and the Jaguars.
Of the three, the Cardinals stand out as the likeliest to break Murray's streak. Arizona was third in opposing rushing yards per game coming into Sunday and had the fifth-best run defense DVOA, per Football Outsiders. Both Washington and Jacksonville rank as below-average units, though they are better against the run than pass.
Either way, Murray now stands alone in the record books. The Cowboys, though, will have to hope he can keep standing period if this pace continues.
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