ARLINGTON, Texas — During DeMarco Murray's rookie season, the Dallas Cowboys scored five rushing touchdowns the entire season.
In the Cowboys' 31-24 win over Oakland on Thursday afternoon at AT&T Stadium, Murray scored three touchdowns in one game.
“Sometimes we're clicking passing more than running and vice versa,” Murray said. “People talk balance and things of that nature. But it's hard to be balanced all the time. Today, though, we were able to be balanced which is ideal.”
In a win in their traditional Thanksgiving Day game, the Cowboys had 30 rushing attempts and 32 Tony Romo passes.
“Anytime you run the ball well it makes things a lot more efficient,” Romo said. “It also gives you a chance to keep their offense off the field.”
Romo threw for 225 yards. The Cowboys ran for 144.
“It was probably one of the better running games we've had all year,” said Dallas coach Jason Garrett. “When you can do that, all of a sudden you're getting some favorable matchups outside in the passing game.”
Murray ran for 63 yards, averaging 3.7 yards a carry, highlighted by touchdown runs of 2, 4 and 7 yards.
Unlike several games in Murray's first two seasons, the Cowboys were able to punch in touchdowns from inside the 5-yard line.
“I thought DeMarco ran the ball very well,” Garrett said. “A number of times it felt from my vantage point the play was bottled up, but he somehow, someway found some creases and made positive plays for us.”
Murray was complemented by Lance Dunbar, who chipped in 82 yards rushing in his first extensive stint this season.
“Having a 1-2 punch with him and Murray allows us to do some different things,” Romo said. “But at the end of the day you still need holes. The guys up front did a heck of a job.”
Garrett said the 5-foot-8, 185-pound Dunbar provides a different look than Murray, a 6-foot, 220-pound third-round pick out of OU three years ago.
“Lance is quick. He's explosive. But he's small,” Garrett said. “Having said that, he's still a physical player. He doesn't get knocked around too much and always seems to fall forward and make some positive plays.”
Murray played down his three-touchdown performance.
“It's just a testament to the offensive line,” Murray said. “Those guys are blocking well, finishing off blocks. Overall we had a great day offensively and we got the W. That's all that matters.”