Who knew a third year cast away from the Carolina Panthers could make such an important impact to the Dallas Cowboys’ running game this year? But making an impact is the basic job description for a fullback. And the Cowboys’ surely struggled without their fullback, Tony Fiammetta, on Sunday.
Fiammetta, who was dealing with an illness last week, was ruled out for Sunday’s narrow overtime victory against the Washington Redskins. Dallas tried to fill his position with TE John Phillips, but clearly that didn’t work well. DeMarco Murray ran for just 73 yards on 25 carries. That’s an average of only 2.9 yards a carry, Murray’s worst per carry average in a game so far this year.
It’s no coincidence that our running game drastically improves when Fiammetta is in the game. In his six games played this year, the Cowboys have averaged 5.6 yards per carry. When Fiammetta has been absent, the Cowboys only average 3.2 yards per carry. He has been the fullback for both DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones on their biggest days on the ground this year.
Fiammetta was acquired off waivers by the Cowboys back on September 5th. He was subsequently cut three days later to sign WR Laurent Robinson. Fiammetta was then resigned on September 13th. His first game as a Cowboy came on September 18th against the San Francisco 49ers. Fiammetta did miss two earlier games this year with a hamstring injury.
The numbers don’t lie. Fiammetta has a clear and visible impact on the Cowboys’ running game and they need him to stay healthy if they are going to make a serious run in the playoffs. I have to admit, I had my doubts about using a roster spot for him considering it was a fullback mistake that got Tony Romo placed on injured reserve last season. But Fiammetta has more than proven his worth to the team this year. Count me in as a new believer in the fullback position.