ARLINGTON, Texas – Dallas Cowboys rookie DeMarco Murray is the type of running back that gives the Seattle Seahawks fits – a big, physical runner who likes to cut back and who runs through contact.
The former Oklahoma player lived in Seattle’s secondary Sunday, finishing with 139 yards on 22 carries for a 6.3 yards per-carry average.
At 6-foot, 221 pounds, Murray took advantage of a Seattle defense that tended to overpursue and then get exploited for big gains when the explosive runner bounced outside or ran against the grain.
“He’s a cutback guy,” said Seattle safety Earl Thomas, who played against Murray while at Texas. “He’s patient, and he’s turning out to be the star on the Cowboys. He had a good game, but I think we could have held him more than we did today. It was just a lot of misfits, and he found the right hole and stuck with his game plan.”
Added Seahawks coach Pete Carroll: “There were a couple misfits on the run. But more so I felt like we were dripping off of him, and he was getting extra yards cutting back against the grain. He did a very nice job of that, just like he did in the last couple weeks.”
Seattle’s defense came into Sunday’s game allowing only 102.9 rushing yards a contest, 11th overall in the league. But the Seahawks gave up a season-high 163 yards on the ground, allowing a running back to gain at least 100 yards against them for the first time this season.
The last time someone rushed for 100 yards against Seattle was then-rookie Tampa Bay running back LeGarrette Blount, who had 164 yards on 18 carries in the second-to-last regular season game in 2010.
And similar to Murray, Blount is a big back who is hard to bring down.
“He was able to get on the outside of us,” Seattle defensive end Red Bryant said about Murray. “They were actually keeping the linemen tied up on us, and making it where I felt like our linebackers and skilled-position players had to make tackles. And to DeMarco’s credit, he did a great job of stretching our defense.”
Dallas coach Jason Garrett said one of the reasons the Cowboys drafted Murray in the third round in April is they believed he could be an every-down back in the NFL.
“One of the things showing up a lot is he is breaking tackles, and breaking tackles is hard to do in the NFL,” Garrett said. “There are typically pretty good tacklers on the other side of the ball.
“I think he’s making some people miss, but I think he’s also physical at the end of runs and making some plays after contact, which is a really important trait for a runner.”