The NFC East is tightening up as we get down to the end of the season. The Dallas Cowboys find themselves right in the middle of things with a 6-6 record and 1 game out of first place behind the struggling New York Giants. The Cowboys 38-33 win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday is turning out to be one of the most important wins of the year for the Cowboys since the Giants lost a close battle to the surging Washington Redskins 17-16 Monday night.
As the week started the Cowboys injury report looked like a lineup in a M.A.S.H unit. It seemed like all of the key offensive players had something wrong; from running back DeMarco Murrays' sore foot all the way down to wide receiver Miles Austins sore butt. As Sunday neared though it would be clear that everyone that was able to walk would play.
With the return of running back DeMarco Murray; the Cowboys offense looked looked like the “Win Now” offense that started the season off. With Murray returning not only did he create balance for the offense; but his presence alone slowed down the Eagles pass rush enough to give quarterback Tony Romo enough time to find open play-makers down the field behind a struggling offensive line.
Coming back from a foot injury that has kept him on the bench most of the season; Murray took on a nice work load running the ball 23 times for 83 yards and 1 touchdown. He also caught 4 passes for 19 yards as he provided Romo that dump threat when he was scrambling. The 83 yards Murray had was 15 yards less than the Cowboys had as a team (98 yards) the previous 2 weeks.
Quarterback Tony Romo seemed to find comfort running the offense for the first time in a while with Murray back. Romo completed 22-27 passes for 303 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also managed to stay on his feet more only getting sacked twice and knocked down 6 other times. With more games Murray plays the knock downs and sacks will continue to become less and less even behind a pieced together offensive line.
The banged up Cowboys receivers also found pressure taken off them with Murray back. It was a good thing too. Star wide out Miles Austin left the game early Thanksgiving Day against the Redskins with a sore hip; and his wing man Dez Bryant has also been feeling the effects of the grueling season. Austin caught both balls thrown his way for 46 yards and 1 touchdown while Bryant caught all 6 of his targets for 98 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jason Witten was the top target for Romo grabbing all 6 balls thrown his way for 108 yards.
The Cowboys could not have asked for a better time to get their key offensive players back with the playoffs right around the corner. Look for the NFC East to be decided on December 30th 2012 in the nations capital when the Cowboys take on the Redskins in their regular season finally. The Giants also play the Eagles at the same time in New York so their will be no waiting to see what happens afterwards; all the marbles will be on the table at the same time.