The VRR: Dallas Cowboys Still Lead League in Rushing

Yes, Marion Barber missed last night's game against the Panthers. And Felix Jones' injury has been confirmed as a sprained PCL. Still, the Dallas Cowboys again lead the league in rushing with an average of 193.7 yards a game. The next best rushing offense is New Orleans, which averages 170.7 yards per game.

This helps the Cowboys rank third in overall offense.

This offensive line and these running backs have done something the Cowboys have not done for 30 years.

After rushing for 251 yards last week, the Dallas Cowboys rushed for 212 yards Monday night to mark the first time the club had back-to-back 200-plus yard rushing games since 1979 (at Minnesota, Oct. 7 and vs. Los Angeles, Oct. 14). It marked the fifth time in club history Dallas has accomplished that feat.

More VRR after the jump.

ESPN Dallas', Tim MacMahon, interviews the guys in front of Big D's "smashmouth" rushing attack: the offensive linemen.

"We've got a lot of confidence in the guys who are back there," (Leonard) Davis said. "It's almost like we don't even really pay attention to who's back there. We just know when the play is called that we're going to be efficient running the ball. We didn't change our game plan at all. We just kept doing what we do. We've got three guys that can share the load."

"It can be any one of those three guys," Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode said. "It doesn't make a difference. They're all great backs. We just want to do the best job we can to make sure they see what we see and can get to the next level. "We as a group take pride in it. We just try to make sure we stay on our blocks. We try to give our guys some daylight, and we have fun watching them run downfield."

Tashard Choice came in to save the day for the Cowboys after Felix went down. Even though he produced 118 total yards from scrimmage, Choice feels he could have done better.

"I missed a lot of runs," Choice said. "I played OK. I know I can do better. I’m going to go back to the drawing board. If I’ve got to roll next week again, man, I’m going to try to have a way better game."

Choice cut outside instead of inside, saying he saw middle linebacker Jon Beason cutting inside. Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was able to prevent the touchdown, and the Cowboys ended up settling for a field goal.

"I dipped in, because I thought he was coming downhill, so I wanted to get outside," Choice said. "There are some plays I wish I had back, but it’s cool."

After achieving victory without turning the ball over, some of the criticism on Tony Romo may quiet down this week.

"I am much tougher on myself than any of you guys ever will be," Romo told the media. "I have goals I hope to achieve as an individual and collectively as a group. I get frustrated and disappointed when I don't live up to what my standard is. That's why I come back with a purpose to improve. My sole focus this week was to understand why I did certain things and not make those mistakes again. "Sometimes you have to go through the growing pains to get there."

A little bit of Razorback action showed a little bit of success.

The Cowboys showed their Razorback formation in the second quarter with Tashard Choice taking the direct snap and handing off to Felix Jones, who helped make the formation popular at Arkansas with Darren McFadden. Jones' 3-yard gain was negated by a holding penalty on tight end Martellus Bennett.

Choice ran the wildcat again in the third quarter. This time he faked a handoff to Jones and gained a first down on a 10-yard run to Carolina's 25.

If Dallas does sit Felix next week at Denver, MBIII should be ready to go.

Marion Barber said he was good last week, and he didn't play Monday night. Coach Wade Phillips said after the game that Barber's quadriceps is close, which means he'll probably be return to return this week. The Cowboys could pull ex-Jaguar Chauncey Washington up from the practice squad. They signed him last week.

The defense moved up from 30th to 26th in the league, as they now have allowed 382.7 yards per game. The passing defense now ranks 27th (268 ypg) overall, while the rushing defense is 17th (114.7 ypg) in the NFL. Holding Carolina to just seven points helped raise this unit to 17th overall, now allowing 20.3 points per game.

T-New joked about the play that broke the Panthers' backs.

"The quarterback just threw it right to me," Newman said. "It was a lucky play on my part. I think Igor (Olshansky) would've caught that and scored."

Steve Smith gave Newman some props.

"He did a good job . . . Terence did a good job all day," said Smith, who took full responsibility for the final touchdown for adjusting the route although Jake Delhomme had already thrown the slant. "Jake was expecting me to cross his face. I should've crossed. I guessed the route and I shouldn't have. They had a very good game plan and they stuck to it. On that play, I was very impatient. (Newman) was playing Cover Two and he was taking the inside away."

Before the missed 40-yard field goal last night, kicker Nick Folk had made 16 straight.

Folk was two field goals from tying Richie Cunningham (18 in 1997) for the third-longest streak in team history. Chris Boniol holds the team records for the longest field-goal streaks at 27 (1996) and 26 (1995-96).

Folk added to his club record of 104-consecutive PATs by knocking through his one try last night. His kicking buddy David Buehler added three more touchbacks in the game to give him seven on the season.

Todd Archer breaks down the Cowboys' penalties (9 for 80 yards) against the Panthers.

In case you missed the game or just want to watch Dallas win again, here is the highlight vid link from NFLN.

The Cowboys' 5th-round draft choice DeAngelo Smith was released by the Chicago Bears today.

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