By Shawn Lealos

The Dallas Cowboys just opened the 2014 season with their best record since 2007 by winning their sixth game in a row with a win over the New York Giants, 31-21. The win gave Dallas the best record in the NFL at 6-1 and continued to show the improvement of the Cowboys in the NFL this season. Here is a look at the Dallas Cowboys team grades for week seven of the NFL season.

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DeMarco Murray did something in this game that no other player in NFL history has ever done. Murray finished the game with 138 rushing yards and a touchdown, making him the only NFL player to ever open a season with seven consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Jim Brown opened the 1958 NFL season with six consecutive 100-yard rushing games and Murray has now passed that legendary running back in the record books.

Murray ran the ball 28 times in the game and has now ran for 923 yards on 187 carries. He also has seven touchdowns so far in this record breaking season.

It wasn’t just the DeMarco Murray show, though. The New York Giants kept things close early on and it wasn’t until the second half that Dallas finally started to pull away. Tony Romo did throw one interception in the game, but finished with 279 passing yards with an impressive 17-of-23 attempts (73.9 percent). He also tossed three touchdowns in the game.

It was also a breakout game for tight end Gavin Escobar. Over his two year NFL career, Escobar had never recorded two receptions in one game. Against the New York Giants, Escobar caught three passes for two touchdowns on 65 yards. It was what Dallas had been waiting to see from the tight end since drafting him in the second round in 2013.

It was also a monster game for Dez Bryant, who finished with nine receptions for 151 yards. Terrance Williams added a touchdown reception as well on his one reception.

Grade: A


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Without Victor Cruz, who fell last week to a season ending knee injury, it looked like the Cowboys would dominate this game. Things weren’t that easy. Eli Manning threw three touchdowns and no interceptions on a 21-for-33 day. Tight end Larry Donnell led the Giants with seven receptions for 90 yards while rookie Odell Beckham Jr. caught two touchdown passes on his four receptions. One positive is that Dallas limited the Giants two main running backs to 80 yards on 24 carries.

However, this defense also caused tight end Donnell to fumble two balls, both in the fourth quarter. Dallas had taken a 21-14 lead in the third quarter and the Giants hoped to tie the game up again as they started their first possession of the fourth quarter. On the fifth play of the drive, Donnell caught a first down pass but Barry Church stripped the ball and Justin Durant recovered the fumble. Four plays later, DeMarco Murray scored a rushing touchdown to put Dallas up by two touchdowns.

With Dallas up by 10 points with under one minute remaining in the game, Justin Durant forced the second Donnell fumble that Henry Melton recovered to put the game away. Dallas was not bulletproof in this game on defense, but they were good enough to beat the Giants. Church and Durant led the team with eight tackles each, but Dallas never once sacked Eli Manning.

Grade: A-

Special Teams

A scary moment happened in this game. Dan Bailey kicked an extra point in the third quarter and got his leg rolled onto. He limped off the field and worked on his leg on the sidelines. However, he came out and kicked a deep, long kickoff on the next play and proved to be fine. On the game, Bailey kicked four extra points and hit a 49 yard field goal.

Chris Jones had four punts in the game for an average of 46.3 yards with one inside the 20. However, the special teams coverage struggled. Michael Cox returned three kicks for an average of 29 yards a return. Odell Beckham Jr. returned two punts for a 10.5 yard average. On the other side, Dwayne Harris only averaged three yards on his two punt returns with no kick returns in the game for Dallas.

Grade: B

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Shawn S. Lealos is a freelance writer who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He writes for a variety of national publications and has over 15 years of sports journalism experience. Follow Shawn on Twitter @sslealos.