The Dallas Cowboys sent a message to running back DeMarco Murray by benching him during a 24-18 preseason win against Cincinnati Bengals.
Murray responded but taking out his anger on Cincinnati’s defense.
Dallas had six turnovers against Arizona last week, and when Murray fumbled in the first-quarter, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett replaced his starting running back with Phillip Tanner for the rest of the first half. The Cowboys stressed ball security prior to Saturday’s game, and even though Murray is an offensive leader, his status was not enough to avoid Garrett's punishment.
Murray, who has been injury plagued through his NFL career, was forced to play in the second half with the team’s second teamers. Apparently, an angry Murray is a good one.
Murray proceeded to rush eight times for 45 yards, which included a 7-yard reception from Kyle Orton. The running back broke several tackles before reaching the end zone.
"I'm sure everybody had in mind we would put the emphasis on turnovers after last week, that we would do a little extra if we got a turnover situation," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "He responded just like you would expect. Frankly, he is just a man. He is a man. There is no doubt in my mind when challenged he is going to step up and meet that challenge. He met it competitively. That was expected. I think it inspired the whole team."
Murray was not inspired to conduct media interviews after the game, and declined to speak with reporters. If Murray was still bothered by Garrett's benching, he probably avoided stirring up controversy by walking away.
Even though Murray did not like the message, Garrett and Jones loved the results.