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Dallas Cowboys News & Notes: Ground Game New Identity For Cowboys?

Digging into the details after the epic comeback win.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Dallas Cowboys build on momentum? - ESPN Dallas

The Cowboys have won the third game of the season for twelve seasons now, but have had problems winning the next game. It is going to be a challenge with the New Orleans Saints coming to town, but the team is showing a bit of character, as promised by the head coach.

In a league where a win is a win is a win, the Cowboys don't have to apologize for how they got the win, but how they got the win can potentially live in their memory banks as the season goes on.

Jason Garrett promised one thing when he addressed fans at the team's kickoff luncheon in August: they would fight.

Spagnola: Had To See This Comeback To Believe It

Mickey brings up the alternatives about the Cowboys that most of us are wondering about. Hope the second one is true.

Either the Cowboys are winning on borrowed time or this is developing into a mighty resilient group that lets little bother them, no matter the amount of adversity since this is the largest deficit the franchise has erased to win a game in regulation, the other two times overcoming club-high 21-point deficits needing overtime to win.

Tony Romo: 'Everything was firing' for me in victory -

Dallas needs their franchise quarterback to come up with more performances like the one he had against the Rams, especially the way he was playing after he threw the pick 6.

Romo's 116.8 passer rating Sunday was his highest since the Week 5 shootout against the Broncos last season. Using his legs to get out of trouble, he started taking chances down the field for the first time this season.

Strong Ground Game Changing Offensive Identity

Although Tony Romo is important, this season the strategy is clearly to make sure it is not all on his shoulders. And a lot of credit goes to the new offensive play-caller.

A lot of that is a credit to new play-caller Scott Linehan. Despite trailing by 21 points and never leading in the first half, the Cowboys still finished the game with six more rushing attempts than passes.

"I just think his patience and persistence running the football was an important part of it," said head coach Jason Garrett. We wanted to stay downhill at them and they made a lot of good plays defending our run. There were tackles for loss. There were zero gains. There were 1-yard gains. But I thought just keep hammering away, keep chipping away at it. I thought the adjustments that we made in the running game as the game went on were good to give us some chances to make some big plays out in space."

Dallas Cowboys, DeMarco Murray aim to correct running back’s recent fumbling problem | Dallas Morning News

The only real negative in the rushing game has been the three fumbles the formerly sure-handed running back has had.

Murray, who had lost only three fumbles in 37 games entering this season, is determined to correct the ball-security problems he's experienced in 2014.

"I got to get it fixed and I will get it fixed," he said.

5 Plays that shaped the Cowboys' 34-31 win - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

A lot of attention has been paid to the two interceptions late that had so much to do with the Cowboys winning the game, but don't forget the first takeaway that Dallas got courtesy of Henry Melton.

The Rams were going for the kill as they should have, and a first down would've allowed St. Louis to end the first half with no worse than a field goal attempt. Instead, center Scott Wells snapped the ball as though quarterback Austin Davis was under center instead of the shotgun. Melton's recovery led to a field goal in the final seconds on the first half, giving the Cowboys hope -- the most important element of any comeback.

Risk vs. Reward: 5 Takeaways from the Cowboys' Win5 Points Blue

This might have not gotten your attention during the game, but it was a somewhat amazing play by Fredbeard.

With 7 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, running back DeMarco Murray ran down the left sideline for a 44 yard gain. Good play, right? But the really impressive part was the fact that - 40 yards down the field - the lead blocker was center Travis Frederick. Seriously?

Henry Melton has hamstring strain - Dallas Cowboys Blog - ESPN Dallas

Just when it was looking like the curse might be over . . .

Melton suffered a hamstring injury in the second half of Sunday's win against the St. Louis Rams. He was able to remain in the game but was spotted on the bench during the game with his leg wrapped tightly. Melton missed the final three preseason games with a groin injury.

Jerry Jones optimistic Dallas Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer can make ’14 debut against Saints | Dallas Morning News

With Melton hurting, it sure would be good to get Spencer back on the field. Of course, while the owner may be hopeful, don't look for a lot of sunshine from the always evasive head coach.

"Hopefully Spencer will get some snaps next week," Jones said.

But head coach Jason Garrett was noncommittal when asked whether Spencer, who was limited last week, would be available Sunday.

Sacks Not Piling Up For Front Four In Three Games

While the defense has been better than most of us thought, the pass rush has had its issues.

The quarterback pressures continue to pile up, but the Cowboys' defensive line is responsible for just one of the defense's three sacks through three games to start the year.

"I think they've done some good things and there's some things that we've got to get better at - both in defending the run and getting after the quarterback," said head coach Jason Garrett. "I think each of those guys has shown flashes of being somebody who can impact the game in a real positive way, be a factor in the games... At other times, it hasn't been as good."

Could Dallas Cowboys cornerback Morris Claiborne be benched in favor of former undrafted player? | Dallas Morning News

Even though he sealed the win with his interception, there is still speculation that Claiborne could sit to let Sterling Moore on the field.

On Sunday, Claiborne was targeted seven times and allowed five receptions for 108 yards and two touchdowns, according to He was responsible for surrendering the Rams' two longest completions and missed a tackle on St. Louis' most productive running play. The passer rating against him was 113.7.

Scout's Eye: Smith's Dominance; Other Rams Notes

This story is one that I am really following with interest - at least partly because I may have been so wrong about the guy.

Before the season I had been very critical of the play of Nick Hayden and felt that Hayden was just a bridge to the next defensive tackle on the roster. I was exploring ways to replace Hayden as soon as possible. What Hayden might lack in beauty as a player he has more than made up for it with his hustle and ability to stand at the point of attack and take on blocks. There were plays in this game where Hayden was doing exactly what he needed to be doing scheme-wise, but his teammates around him were not holding up their end of the deal.

Follow me @TomRyleBTB

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