This is the first installment in ESPN Dallas' five-part series on things that went wrong for the Dallas Cowboys in 2011.
No. 5. DeMarco Murray breaks his ankle
Murray transformed the Cowboys’ season in many ways because he brought a balance to Jason Garrett’s playcalling. He was the workhorse, getting at least 20 carries in five games of a seven-game span.
Murray suffered the injury on Dec. 11 against the New York Giants when defensive end Dave Tollefsen landed on Murray while making a tackle.
Without Murray, the Cowboys had to rely on Felix Jones to be the main running back. He did a decent job, but he suffered a hamstring strain at Tampa Bay in which he had his first set of back-to-back 20-carry games.
Many will point to Murray’s franchise-record 239-yard outing against St. Louis as his best game, but it actually might have been his 73-yard game at Washington on 25 tough carries where he proved his mettle.
Jones is just not built to be an every-down back. Murray, whose rehab is on schedule following surgery, is.
The Cowboys missed the rookie greatly down the stretch.