Tony Romo returned to the lineup on Sunday and helped spark the Dallas Cowboys to a 31-17 win over Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium in London.
Romo, who missed last week’s game against Arizona with two transverse process fractures in his back, completed 20 of 27 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Dez Bryant had six catches for 158 yards and two touchdowns, all in the first half. Jason Witten had a 2-yard touchdown catch.
DeMarco Murray had 100 rushing yards on 19 carries. Murray left the game on the last series of the third quarter and was evaluated for a concussion, but returned for one more series before leaving the game for good. It was his ninth 100-yard rushing game of the season.
Defensively, safeties Barry Church and C.J. Spillman had fumble recoveries. Linebacker Bruce Carter had an interception. The team also had four sacks.
Jacksonville rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, under pressure all game, completed 22 of 37 passes for 290 yards and one interception. Denard Robinson ran for two touchdowns.
The teams played in London as part of the league’s International Series. The Cowboys (7-3) have a bye next week and return to action Nov. 23 at the New York Giants. The Jaguars fall to 1-9.
Dallas took the opening kickoff and quickly gashed the Jaguars with a 23-yard run and a 17-yard screen pass, both by Murray. The six-play drive stalled at the 36 and Dan Bailey made a 54-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
Jacksonville was more methodical on its first possession, taking nine plays to score.
The Jaguars converted two third downs before Denard Robinson scored on a 32-yard run to give Jacksonville a 7-3 lead at the 7:36 mark.
It was only the second opening-game scoring drive by the Jaguars this season.
Penalties hampered the Cowboys’ second possession, including a third-down interference call against rookie receiver Devin Street, but they would get a turnover on special teams.
Chris Jones’ punt was dropped by Ace Sanders and Spillman recovered at the Jacksonville 6.
Three plays later, a scrambling Romo threw a 2-yard touchdown to Witten to put the Cowboys back on top at 10-7 at the 2:30 mark.
After three combined punts, the Cowboys drove for their third score of the game.
Romo hit Bryant on a crossing route and the receiver broke four tackles on the way to a 35-yard touchdown for a 17-7 Cowboys lead.
Bryant broke tackle attempts by safety Johnathan Cyprien, cornerbacks Dwayne Gratz and Demetrius McCray and end Chris Clemons on the catch and run that completed a five-play, 65-yard drive.
Jacksonville hit a big play on a 53-yard pass from Bortles to Cecil Shorts III.
On the next play, Denard Robinson fumbled after a hit by George Selvie and Church recovered at the Cowboys’ 32.
Dallas was driving again, but Cole Beasley was flipped after a 23-yard catch, fumbled and Josh Evans recovered at Jacksonville’s 23.
After forcing a three-and-out series, Dallas took over on its own 35 with 31 seconds left.
On first down, Romo threw a 68-yard touchdown to Bryant to make it 24-7 with 19 seconds left in the first half. On the play, Bryant broke a tackle and dragged another defender into the end zone.
Jacksonville punted away its first possession of the second half and the Cowboys scored six plays later.
Joseph Randle scored on a 40-yard run to make it 31-7 with 7:34 left in the third quarter.
Trying to find some kind of spark, the Jaguars faced a fourth and 1 at their own 29 and went for it.
However, Toby Gerhart was stood up and dropped at the line of scrimmage by Anthony Hitchens for no gain and the Cowboys took over.
Four plays later, Bailey’s 48-yard field goal was partially blocked and fell short.
Early in the fourth on a fourth and 5, play from the Dallas 5, the Jaguars got a safety when Kyle Wilber was flagged for holding in the end zone on a punt.
The unconventional score made it 31-9 with 7:55 left in the game.
Four plays after the free kick, Bortles was intercepted by Bruce Carter.
Brandon Weeden replaced Romo at the 6:42 mark after the change of possession. Bryant and Murray were also out of the lineup.
Denard Robinson’s 1-yard touchdown run and Allen Robinson’s 2-point conversion catch made it 31-17 to close out the scoring.
Source: Fort Worth Star Telegram | Clarence E. Hill Jr.