The Greatest Rushing Game in Team History?

When Cowboys fans think of the greatest rushing game in team history, most probably remember Tony Dorsett’s 206 yards against the Eagles in 1977 or Emmitt Smith’s 237 yards against the Eagles in 1993.

Of course, DeMarco Murray yesterday shattered Smith’s all-time record as well as Dorsett’s rookie record. Those three are the only players in team history to surpass 200 rushing yards in a game.

Murray also made history with a 91-yard touchdown run, which was the second longest after Dorsett’s 99 yarder in 1982.

As far as team rushing, the highest total came on December 6, 1981, when the Cowboys had 354 rushing yards on 66 total carries in a 37-13 win over the Baltimore Colts. Dorsett led the team with 175 yards on 30 carries, while James Jones and Ron Springs added 86 and 40 respectively.

On Sunday, Dallas finished with 294 rushing yards, which was the fourth highest total ever. The Cowboys have surpassed 275 rushing yards just nine times, and the last time it happened was 1982. Here is the list:

Rushing
Rk Tm Year Date Opp W# G# Day Result OT Att Yds ? Y/A TD
1 DAL 1981 1981-12-06 @ BAL 14 14 Sun W 37-13 66 354 5.36 3
2 DAL 1978 1978-11-12 @ GNB 11 11 Sun W 42-14 58 313 5.40 4
3 DAL 1982 1982-11-25 CLE 4 4 Thu W 31-14 52 299 5.75 2
4 DAL 2011 2011-10-23 STL 7 6 Sun W 34-7 34 294 8.65 2
5 DAL 1978 1978-11-23 WAS 13 13 Thu W 37-10 54 289 5.35 3
6 DAL 1973 1973-11-18 PHI 10 10 Sun W 31-10 40 286 7.15 2
7 DAL 1979 1979-10-07 @ MIN 6 6 Sun W 36-20 46 279 6.07 4
8 DAL 1978 1978-09-04 BAL 1 1 Mon W 38-0 45 278 6.18 1
9 DAL 1970 1970-12-06 WAS 12 12 Sun W 34-0 48 276 5.75 3
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/24/2011.

Additionally, the team has averaged 8.0 yards per rushing attempt only three times. The 8.65 yards per attempt against the Rams missed the team’s record of 8.66 set against the Giants in 2009.

Rushing
Rk Tm Year Date Opp W# G# Day Result OT Att Yds Y/A ? TD
1 DAL 2009 2009-09-20 NYG 2 2 Sun L 31-33 29 251 8.66 3
2 DAL 2011 2011-10-23 STL 7 6 Sun W 34-7 34 294 8.65 2
3 DAL 1999 1999-11-08 @ MIN 9 8 Mon L 17-27 24 205 8.54 2
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/24/2011.

Overall, no, I don’t think that Sunday was the greatest rushing game of all time, but it was an exceptional performance. The performance is even more noteworthy given that the team had previously averaged just 84.8 yards per game in the first five games with an average of just 3.39 yards per attempt.


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