Dallas coach Bill Parcells has been successful throughout his coaching career with a run-first, ball-control offensive style. However, until last week, the Cowboys did not have much of a running game to speak of.
George had a season-high 31 carries for 99 yards to help Dallas snap a three-game losing streak with a 31-21 victory over the Detroit Lions last Sunday.
“I think that’s what (Parcells) wants our offense to be,” Dallas quarterback Vinny Testaverde said Monday. “He was leaning toward more of what he did last year in how he coached and how he called plays because of the success this team had last year.”
For only the second time this season, Dallas held the ball longer than its opponent. The difference was significant, with the Cowboys on offense for nearly 39 minutes, a season best, while scoring more than 21 points for the first time.
The Cowboys had a season-high 41 runs—11 more than any other game—with a season-low 24 passes. It was only the second time they ran the ball more than throwing it this season.
“I’m hopeful that we can keep more balance in our attack. Basically, I’d like to do that,” Parcells said.
“If you tell me you can hold the ball 38 minutes and something every week, I’d be happy to try to do that, I really would. Most of the time when you do that, it does result in more points.”
Of the 13 wins the Cowboys have in 1 1/2 seasons under Parcells, all but one were games in which they had an advantage in time of possession. All 10 wins last season came when they had at least 30 running plays.
George averaged just 12 carries in the first six games before breaking out against the Lions.
“I just figured that I had to be patient, to wait my time and be ready when the opportunity presented itself,” George said. “My goal is just to win and win the best way possible, whether you throw it 50 times or run it 50 times.”
George will get his share of carries on Sunday against the Bengals’ porous run defense. Cincinnati is giving up a league-high 155.4 yards per game on the ground.
George has run for 1,182 yards and 11 TDs against the Bengals in 13 career games. Only Jacksonville has yielded more yards and touchdowns to George during his nine-year career.
The Bengals have taken a step back this season after nearly making the playoffs in 2003.
A 27-20 loss in Tennessee last Sunday left Cincinnati in last place in the AFC North.
“We didn’t play with poise,” Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Monday.
The NFL’s worst run defense was at it again last Sunday, giving up 163 yards. A unit already missing middle linebacker Nate Webster struggled mightily in its first game without lineman Tony Williams, out for the season with a broken ankle.
“It’s hard when you have a lot of new personnel because you’ve got a lot of new guys getting looks,” Bengals defensive end Duane Clemons said. “The loss of Tony Williams—I can’t even tell you how much that hurts us. But we try to make the best of the situation.”
Instead of building momentum off of their 23-10 victory over Denver on Monday night, the Bengals reverted to their previous form in Tennessee. They committed 10 penalties, had no running game, no run defense and no explanation why they fell apart with their season potentially on the line.
“What poise means is making plays and doing your job under stress, under duress,” Lewis said. “And I think that’s the disappointing thing of our football team.”