One of the biggest storylines from the Dallas Cowboys 31-24 victory over the Oakland Raiders yesterday is the fact that the Cowboys could have a threatening 1-2 punch at running back in feature back DeMarco Murray and No .2 RB Lance Dunbar. Murray has been solid all season and punched in three touchdowns on the ground, but Dunbar was actually the more productive back in terms of yardage. He put up an excellent 82 yards on the ground on just 12 carries, and he also caught one pass for 12 yards in the win.
But just as Dunbar was having his breakout performance and potentially cementing himself as a key part of the offense, he suffered a knee injury in the fourth quarter. According to the Dallas Morning News’s Rainer Sabin, Dunbar will need to undergo an MRI today on what is being termed as a hyperextended left knee.
The Cowboys next game in their quest to win the NFC East is a matchup against the Chicago Bears, and a Cowboys win would really separate them from the rest of the pack. The Bears run defense has been notoriously bad this season, mostly due to star linebacker Lance Briggs’s injury. Charles Tillman is also out until the playoffs (if the Bears are able to make it into the postseason), and MLB D.J. Williams was also lost for the season early in the year (though that wasn’t even close to being as impactful of an injury as Briggs’s).
Hopefully Dunbar’s MRI comes clean, and he’s expected to play next week since the Cowboys have a very long week to rest (they don’t play the Bears until Week 14’s Monday Night Football). It will be interesting to see how many carries and even receptions Murray has to split with Dunbar, who has the makings of a valuable change-of-pace back in the Cowboys offense. However, I don’t anticipate Murray losing feature back status any time soon.