NFL: Cowboys win at Wembley

The Dallas Cowboys beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in London yesterday, despite playing with an injured Tony Romo.

Romo showed few signs of his back injury to lead them to a 31-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley Stadium.

Jacksonville looked competitive in the early stages but a fluffed punt return and a fumble in the first half cost them dear as Romo and the Cowboys came up with all the big plays at the big moments.

With the game looking in the balance, Dallas blew a huge hole in the Jags just before half time and stuck up 28 unanswered points overall to take the game away from the ‘home’ team and move them on to 7-3 heading into a bye.

All the talk around the Cowboys was based on Romo’s fitness, but he looked fine and was hardly touched by the Jaguars defence as he passed for 246 yards and three touchdowns.

Wide receiver Dez Bryant produced two muscular catch and runs for his two TDs, as he piled up a career-record 158 yards in the first half, while DeMarco Murray had the 16th 100-yard rushing game of his career and a ninth of his remarkable season so far. 

It was one of the more lively atmospheres seen at Wembley for the International Series, and after a Dan Bailey field goal for Dallas, Jacksonville grabbed the first touchdown of the game when Denard Robinson raced in 32 yards.

The Jaguars defence then stopped Romo and company and forced Dallas to punt, but Ace Sanders dropped the catch and the Cowboys recovered deep in Jaguars territory and set them up perfectly for a response.

And respond they did with Romo showing plenty of movement to dance around the pocket to buy some time before hitting tight end Jason Witten who was wide open in the end zone.

Romo then hit Bryant with a short pass, which the big receiver converted into a 35-yard touchdown by cutting inside and proving to be simply too strong for a host of would-be tacklers who could not pull him down in time.

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles led his team right back down the other end, but Robinson then fumbled the ball and handed over possession when Jacksonville would have hoped for a field goal at least to make it 17-10 at half time.

Instead it turned in to 24-7 when Romo found a wide open Bryant who blew the Jaguars coverage and raced down the sideline for a 68 yard score with just 19 seconds left of the half.

If Jacksonville were to get back into the game they needed a quick strike in the second half, but their opening drive fizzled out and they were forced to punt.

In contrast, Dallas made the most of their first possession and went 87 yards in six plays culminating in Joseph Randle bursting through the middle for a career-best 40-yard run into the end zone to make it 31-7.

That meant it was game over heading into the fourth quarter, although Jacksonville did get a couple of more scores to add some sort of respectability to the scoreline.

Romo remained in the game until he was sacked close to his own goal line, when coach Jason Garrett finally decided enough was enough for his star quarterback.

A foul in the end zone got the Jaguars a two-point safety, before Robinson ran in his second score in garbage time, but it was never going to be enough to stop them dropping to 1-9 for the season despite an improved display in many aspects.