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Cowboys feel running game was efficient in opener

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys promised they would continue to rely on the running game even without DeMarco Murray as their top tailback.

In Sunday’s 27-26 win against the New York Giants, Tony Romo threw 45 passes, his most in a game since 2013. Last year the most he threw in a game was 41 times in an overtime win against the Houston Texans.

But game situations dictated what looks like a larger-than-expected reliance on the passing game.

The Cowboys closed the first half in a two-minute situation and closed the game with 12 passes on their final two drives to overcome a 10-point deficit with 8:01 to play.

“I thought when we ran the ball it was efficient,” offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. “We’d like to pop a few long runs, but I didn’t think that our running game was a concern at all. There were some things that were there. It was just a weird game.”

Joseph Randle carried 16 times for 65 yards. Darren McFadden had six carries for 16 yards. A Tony Romo kneel-down lost 1 yard.

The Cowboys’ 80 yards on 23 carries on Sunday would have been a season low in 2014. Their lowest total last season was 92 yards on 25 carries in a loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

“We got the dirty yards we needed to win the game,” Randle said.

Randle’s longest run was 15 yards. McFadden’s was 8 yards. In the passing game, the running backs contributed 12 catches for 131 yards, led by Lance Dunbar’s eight catches for 70 yards.

But the Cowboys’ success throughout the season will be dependent on the running game.

“I think we did OK,” center Travis Frederick said. “I would say OK. Until we look at it and see, I know we did have some breakdowns in there and we’ve got to get it cleaned up.”