Found September 22, 2013 on Football and Futbol:

Entering their Week 3 match up with the St. Louis Rams, the Dallas Cowboys were engulfed, both in and by criticism. For the second year in a row, the team had opened the season with an impressive statement, only to give it all away the following week to a team flying under the radar. Last year it was the Seattle Seahawks; this year the Kansas City Chiefs. So what were the primary keys to righting the ship against St. Louis? The defense had to dominate, and Demarco Murray had to keep the offense balanced with a strong performance. And boy did they ever. Murray exploded from the blocks with 46 rushing yards on a Cowboys opening drive that resulted in a Dez Bryant touchdown catch. The team never looked back. By halftime the star back had tallied 98 rushing yards and helped Dallas mount a 17 point lead. Murray gashed the Rams defense all day, running hard and finding open space where he’s at his best. By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, the third year back out of Oklahoma had already run for a staggering 175 yards, compared to the 111 he’d totaled in the first two games. The effort was good enough to mark the second best game of his career, the best, of course, being his 253 against the Rams in 2011. A lopsided score allowed Murray to call it a day early but it was the way he controlled the clock that allowed the defense to pin its ears back and get after Sam Bradford. Speaking of the defense, the unit was absolutely phenomenal. Though criticized for a lackluster performance the week before, defensive coaches Rod Marinelli and Monte Kiffin had their guys ready to play. Dallas swarmed the Rams all game, wreaking havoc against an offensive line that, entering the game, had yet to allow a single sack over their previous 4 games. Dallas tagged them for 6. Even more impressive was how balanced the attack was. Demarcus Ware recorded two sacks, becoming the Cowboys all time sack leader, and several of his teammates joined in on the party. Jason Hatcher, George Selvie, Kyle Wilber and Orlando Scandrick all sacked Bradford and stunted a hapless Rams offense that recorded only 1 first down and 18 yards in the opening half. Yes, you read correctly. St. Louis gained only 18 total yards in the first half. That’s dominance. The defense also forced a fumble after allowing a big play over the middle early in the third quarter when Justin Durant stripped Austin Pettis at midfield. That gives the team a total of 7 now for the season, a far cry from the 16 they scrapped up last year. The game was a refreshing sight for Cowboy fans who still fondly remember the Doomsday defense of the 90s dynasty. And while it’s far too early to suggest this defense can mirror its Hall-of-Fame level predecessors, it was nice to be reminded of what a dominating team performance can look like. For more Cowboys news and updates, follow me on Twitter @DarreckWKirby


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