IRVING, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys were missing running back Julius Jones and left tackle Flozell Adams Sunday. Advantage, Cardinals? Hardly.
Rookie running back Marion Barber, a fourth-round draft pick, torched the Cardinals for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the Cowboys' 34-13 victory.
Who is Marion Barber?
In fact, he's such a no-name that at one point Sunday, the public address announcer at Texas Stadium referred to him as Marion Barry, the infamous Washington, D.C., mayor.
To the Cardinals, he must have looked like Tiki Barber. It was the first 100-yard game of Marion Barber's short career and his first trip into an end zone.
Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, who is loath to praise rookies for fear of them getting a big head, downplayed Barber's performance, saying, “he is going to be OK.”
Barber's teammates, however, were more complimentary.
“He knows what he is looking for,” tight end Dan Campbell said. “He knows where the hole is before the hole is there. He has great instincts.”
The Cowboys didn't do anything special to free Barber up. They dominated the line of scrimmage and got most of their yards on simple off-tackle runs.
It didn't take long for Barber to put his stamp on the game. He ran for 38 yards on Dallas' first play then scored on a 28-yard run two plays later.
“I had butterflies everywhere,” Barber said. “But the guys have been helping me out a lot, guiding me through.”
Asked about his rush defense, Cardinals coach Dennis Green said, “We had trouble stopping them, period.”
Dallas quarterback Drew Bledsoe finished 19-of-24 for 220 yards and a touchdown, and the Cowboys compensated for Adams' absence — he was replaced by Torrin Tucker — by keeping a running back or tight end in as an additional blocker.
“I just thought that overall we executed pretty well,” Parcells said.