Murray hopes to build on run game

IRVING, Texas -- On Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys rushed for 144 yards, marking the second consecutive week the team reached over 100 yards this season.

It was a solid outing by starter DeMarco Murray and backup Lance Dunbar.

But late in the fourth quarter, Dunbar suffered a left knee injury and the next day it was determined he would be missed for the rest of the 2013 season because he needed surgery.

Murray is hoping what's left of the run game, Phillip Tanner and Joseph Randle, can build on what's finally been started this season: a run game.

"We got to continue to get our opportunities and run it," Murray said after Friday's practice. "I thought we did well, the offensive line blocked well. I thought we had good chemistry (against Oakland) so we got to continue (it), hopefully that will translate over to this weekend."

Monday night, the Cowboys face the Chicago Bears who have the worst ranked rush defense in the NFL. Opposing offenses are averaging five yards per carry and have scored 15 touchdowns against the Bears run defense.

The Cowboys will head into the game minus the speed of Dunbar, who was just coming along after overcoming nagging injuries and some fumbling issues. The offensive line has developed into something solid especially along the left side of the line where Tyron Smith, at left tackle, is having a Pro Bowl type season.

The Cowboys average 4.73 yards per game when running off Smith's side, the seventh-best numbers in the NFL. Running past left guard Ronald Leary has produced a 8.6 average, tops in the league. And when the team runs toward rookie center Travis Frederick, it's a 5.54 average, No. 2 in the league.

Producing these numbers while good the first three months of the season, need to remain consistent in the final four weeks.

"I think the running game is vital in the beginning of the season, middle of the season, any part you need to have a running game," Murray said. "And it's only going to help at some point and it's only going to help you in the play action and the passing game. So I think it's pretty important at all times."