Can Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray realistically join the 2,000 yard rushing club without QB Tony Romo throwing the football?
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For the first time in 2014, Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray was held under 100 yards – ending his record-setting streak of games with over 100 yards to start a season at 8. But missing out on that 100-yard mark also had another important effect for Murray: dropping his season rushing average to 125.9 – just barely enough to reach the threshold for a 2,000 yard season. One more game below 100 yards for Murray and his quest to become the first Cowboy to reach the legendary mark may fall just short.
The reason for Murray’s slide is clearly the change at QB. With Tony Romo injured, Brandon Weeden simply cannot pick up the slack enough to keep defenses from stacking the box against him. The difference between Murray and recent 2,000 yard RBs like Adrian Peterson and Chris Johnson is that they were so fast and so explosive that even without a great QB and defenses stacking the box they could still average over 125 yards per game.
Not to disrespect Murray, but until he proves that he can remain a dominant force even without an elite QB, his chances of reaching 2,000 yards this year may decline.
Here are the top five candidates for NFL MVP heading into Week 10:
DeMarco Murray – Even if he can’t reach 2,000 yards, the fact that he is the NFL’s leader in just about every yardage category will probably give him the title – as long as the Cowboys secure a playoff spot.
Tom Brady – After beating Peyton Manning, Brady and the Patriots are clearly flying high. Whether they can maintain that momentum into a 1st-round bye with this roster will likely determine if Brady runs away with the award this year.
Peyton Manning – Despite the loss Manning still hasn’t had a game where he has thrown fewer than 2 TDs. And with 24 TDs so far, he has the highest TD/pass ratio in the NFL. A first-round bye and perhaps another 50+ TD season would cement Manning’s 6th MVP award.
Andrew Luck – With 3,085 passing yards after only 9 games this season, Luck is poised to break Peyton Manning’s single-season passing record. And a 3rd-straight division title coupled with a 1st-round bye (if they can beat the Patriots) would go a long way to cementing his MVP status.
J.J. Watt – If the Texans make the playoffs after going 2-14 in 2013 Watt will undoubtedly receive the lion’s share of the credit. His dominance in just about every position Houston chooses to place him in rivals some of the best players in NFL.