Encore awaits DeMarco Murray

IRVING, Texas -- The fun thing about DeMarco Murray rushing for a Dallas Cowboys franchise-record 253 yards Sunday is figuring out what he'll do the next time.

Murray had the ninth-best rushing day in league history when he displayed speed and power against the St. Louis Rams at Cowboys Stadium.

Now, it appears Murray will start this Sunday at Philadelphia. He isn't afraid of the moment, which is good, but what he does in those moments remains to be seen.

You could say gaining all those yards against the winless Rams didn't mean anything, but that's unfair to the Cowboys players who opened the holes and to Murray himself.

"Everybody is entitled to their own opinion," Murray said Monday afternoon. "I'm not worried about it. I'm going to continue to work hard. If I rush for 50 yards next week and we win, I'll be happy."

That's what everybody wants to see: How will he play against the Philadelphia Eagles? Was the Rams game a fluke? Is Murray a fluke?

Miles Austin knows something about proving he's no fluke.

In 2009, while replacing an injured Roy Williams, Austin caught 10 passes for a franchise-record 250 yards and two touchdowns. The performance, conducted in an overtime victory at Kansas City, was the first time an NFL player reached 250 receiving yards in his first career start.

The next week, Austin became the Cowboys' full-time starter and had six catches for 171 yards and two touchdowns.

Austin said the key for Murray is staying in the film room and trying to improve, adding that there's nothing wrong with embracing the moment of what you accomplished. He watched some of his best plays of that Kansas City game on YouTube.

"You've just got to keep working hard," Austin said.

Austin is just one example of a player trying to follow up after a record-setting day.

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson has the NFL single-game record with 296 rushing yards, set in 2007. He rushed for just 45 yards on 11 carries the next week.

Hall of Fame running back Tony Dorsett set the Cowboys rookie franchise record in 1977 with 206 yards. The next week, he gained 92 yards on 20 carries.

In 1993, Emmitt Smith, the NFL's all-time leading rusher, set the Cowboys' just-broken record of 237 yards in a single game. The next week, he rushed 24 times for 117 yards. What was so interesting about the next game for Smith was that his performance was overshadowed with the story of former coach Tom Landry being inducted into the Cowboys Ring of Honor that day.

A solid performance can be repeated the next week, but it's not always easy to pull off and is often overlooked.

"Hopefully a performance like that, it instills some confidence in these guys," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "Not that they weren't confident before, but now they've seen it; they've done it. They say, 'OK, I can do this. I've done this before at the college level. Now, I've done it at the NFL level. Let me keep going about it the right way and keep taking advantage of these opportunities going forward.'"

The voice mail on Murray's cellphone is jammed to capacity. He's already heard from Smith and will meet with Dorsett on Tuesday.

Murray, who typically sits in the locker room chatting with teammates, was busy speaking with networks such as ESPN about his efforts. So his appearance near the Cowboys' locker room was brief.

"I'm just blessed and fortunate and happy to be part of this great organization," Murray said. "All my teammates deserve all the credit."

Like Austin, who was a backup before one big game pushed him into the starting lineup, Murray has that chance now.

Felix Jones' ankle injury opened the door for Murray, but he didn't start the Rams game -- veteran backup Tashard Choice did. Choice had just one carry before Murray took over and ended his day with 25 carries.

He's expected to get more Sunday at Philly.

"I really don't care," Murray said about possibly starting. "You are always looking to compete, but at the same time, it's easy to compete when you are winning and have good guys on the team and wish you well and help you as much as Felix and Tashard have helped me."

Calvin Watkins covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com.