A workhorse running back while he was with the Dallas Cowboys last season, DeMarco Murray’s limited action in his Philadelphia Eagles debut caught him off guard.
While coach Chip Kelly said it’s a game-by-game situation, Murray hopes it doesn’t happen again Sunday when he faces the visiting Cowboys, who are moving on without injured star receiver Dez Bryant.
"We’ll see," the two-time Pro Bowler said. "We’ll see what happens this weekend."
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Murray finished with the 17th-most rushing yards in NFL history with 1,845 last season and tied for the seventh-most carries at 392 while leading Dallas to the NFC East title.
The Cowboys, however, chose not to match Philadelphia’s offer of five years and $42 million during free agency. Though he would like to show Dallas that the decision was a mistake, Murray may not get many opportunities after being used sparingly in the opener.
The reigning Offensive Player of the Year carried eight times for nine yards and one touchdown in Monday’s 26-24 loss at Atlanta. Darren Sproles matched him with 12 touches, while Ryan Mathews had six and was stuffed for no gain on a key third-and-1 in the fourth.
"It was a little surprising," Murray said. "But we have a lot of weapons. A lot of individuals need to get the ball. As long as we’re winning, I’m fine with it."
Murray now looks to lead Philadelphia to its first win while denying Dallas a franchise record-tying 10th straight regular-season road victory. The last team to win 10 or more away games in a row was Indianapolis with an 11-game run from 2008-09.
The Cowboys were fourth in the NFC in rushing defense at 103.1 yards per game last season and held the New York Giants to 99 on Sunday.
They also limited Eli Manning to 193 passing yards in a thrilling 27-26 victory and held standout receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to five catches for 44 yards. However, they’ll be without defensive end Randy Gregory after he went down with a sprained right ankle.
Sam Bradford looks to get off to a better start after leading the Eagles to one field goal in seven first-half possessions. He turned things around by going 21 for 25 in the last two quarters.
Jordan Matthews finished with a career-high 10 catches for 102 yards, but also had a pass go through his hands for an interception that sealed the defeat.
"You’re always trying to do what moves the offense," Kelly said. "There are going to be times when we run the ball 60 times and times when we have to pass the ball 60 times. It depends on the game."
Dallas overcame a 10-point deficit with 8:01 remaining and went ahead when Tony Romo hit Jason Witten on an 11-yard touchdown pass with seven seconds left. It was the team’s second fourth-quarter scoring drive after Bryant went down with a broken right foot.
The All-Pro receiver had surgery Monday and is expected to miss at least six weeks. Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley will likely take on more of a role with Bryant out, and the Cowboys traded this week for Brice Butler, a 2013 seventh-round pick by Oakland.
"There will be a receiver who plays in the place of Dez Bryant," coach Jason Garrett said. "You use different personnel groups and you just go play football."
Romo, who threw for 356 yards with three scores and two picks, has completed 61.9 percent of his attempts with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while leading Dallas to nine wins in 15 career starts versus Philadelphia. He played well on the road in this series last season, going 22 of 31 for 265 yards and three TDs in a 38-27 win in Week 15.
He’ll try to take advantage of a secondary that allowed Atlanta’s Julio Jones and Roddy White to team for 225 receiving yards. The Eagles, though, did have a pair of interceptions against Matt Ryan and limited the Falcons to 3.0 yards per carry.
They’ll try to do a similar job against Dallas’ Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden, who combined for 81 yards on 22 carries in their first game as Murray’s replacements.
The Cowboys have won three straight and five of their past six visits to Lincoln Financial Field.