Dallas 31, Jacksonville 17: Redemption Was Across the Pond

Today belonged to Dez Bryant, who hauled in six receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Today belonged to Dez Bryant, who hauled in six receptions for 158 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It looked for a little while that a complete change of scenery for the Dallas Cowboys—of course, meaning a trip to London—may not have cured the Cowboys of their problems during the past two games.

Tony Romo missed a wide open Jason Witten on the Cowboys’ opening drive, and Dallas had to settle for a 54-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.

Then the Dallas defense had trouble stopping Jacksonville. Denard Robinson ran free on a 32-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against a Dallas defense that has struggled. The 1-8 Jaguars had an early 7-3 lead and then forced the Cowboys to punt on the next possession.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, the Jaguars were 1-8 for a reason. Ace Sanders muffed a punt, and the Cowboys recovered. Two plays later, Romo did not miss Witten in the end zone, and the Cowboys regained the lead—for good.

The Cowboys never looked back in the second quarter thanks to The Dez Bryant Show.

Bryant took a short pass on a crossing route and turned it into a 35-yard touchdown. Then, with 31 seconds remaining in the half, Bryant hauled in a bomb and ran it in the rest of the way for a 68-yard touchdown. The halftime score of 24-7 was just what the Cowboys needed.

Joseph Randle added another nice looking 40-yard touchdown in the third quarter, and the Cowboys were able to run the clock out for their seventh win of the season.

Dallas could take another half-game lead in the division if Philadelphia loses on Monday night to Carolina. Dallas has a half-game lead over Green Bay and Seattle in the NFC.

Dallas Cowboys: Ten Worst Performances by Backup Quarterbacks in Team History

Brandon Weeden looked decent in relief against the Washington Redskins last week, but he struggled nearly all day against Arizona on Sunday.

In light of Weeden’s performance, here is a look at ten of the worst performances by backup quarterbacks in team history, including Weeden’s.

10. Brandon Weeden, November 2, 2014

Filling in for an injured Tony Romo, Weeden struggled hitting anyone not named Jason Witten all day. He threw two costly fourth-quarter interceptions that killed any chance for a Dallas comeback.

Stats: 18-33, 183 yds., 1 TD, 2 Int.

9. Jon Kitna, October 31, 2010

When the Cowboys lost Romo for the year in 2010, they turned to Jon Kitna to salvage the season. And he did an admirable job that year, leading the Cowboys to four wins in nine starts. However, his first start against Jacksonville was a disaster, as Kitna threw four picks in a 35-17 Dallas loss.

Stats: 34-49, 379 yds., 1 TD, 4 Int.

8. Randall Cunningham, November 5, 2000

Many fans wanted to see Cunningham start over Troy Aikman during the 2000 season, as he looked generally impressive in two starts against the Cardinals and Redskins. However, when he started his final game as a Cowboy against his old team, the Philadelphia Eagles, on November 5, 2000, the results were hardly positive. He completed just 14 passes for 109 yards in a 16-13 loss.

Stats: 14-22, 109 yds., 0 TD, 1 Int.

7. Ryan Leaf, November 18, 2001

Most fans would prefer to forget the Ryan Leaf experiment. It did not last long. He started three games, and the low point was his performance in a 36-3 loss to Philadelphia on November 18, 2001. He completed just 11 passes and threw two interceptions, both of which the Eagles returned for touchdowns.

Stats: 11-26, 102 yds., 0 TD, 2 Int.

6. Kevin Sweeney, November 13, 1988

Kevin Sweeney became a fan favorite due to his performance as a replacement player in 1987. With the Cowboys’ record at 2-8, Tom Landry turned to Sweeney, looking for magic. Instead, Sweeney threw four picks in a 43-3 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Yuck.

Stats: 10-28, 93 yds., 0 TD, 4 Int.

5. Steve Pelleur, November 9, 1986

The Cowboys lost quarterback Danny White on November 2, 1986. One week later, Pelleur got the start against the Los Angeles Raiders. Five interceptions later, the Cowboys lost 17-13.

Stats: 14-30, 168 yds., 0 TD, 5 Int.

4. Brad Johnson, October 19, 2008

The Cowboys seemed to have confidence in Brad Johnson, the former Super Bowl champion, as the backup in 2008. However, when the team lost Romo for several weeks, Johnson showed what he did not have left in a 34-14 loss to the St. Louis Rams. Although he threw for 234 yards, he struggled all day.

Stats: 17-34, 234 yds., 1 TD, 3 Int.

3. Clint Stoerner, November 4, 2001

Before Tony Romo, there was a no-name backup QB in Dallas named Clint Stoerner. After leading the Cowboys to a 17-3 win over Arizona (with a whopping 93 passing yards on 9 completions), he got off to a hot start at New York. He led the Cowboys to a 24-7 halftime lead. However, his four second-half interceptions killed the Cowboys, who fell in overtime, 27-24.

Stats: 13-23, 177 yds., 1 TD, 4 Int.

2. Anthony Wright, December 25, 2000

Anthony Wright was not supposed to start a game for the Dallas Cowboys at quarterback in 2000. He proved that on Christmas night against the Tennessee Titans.  Five completions. 35 yards. Passer rating of 0.0.

Stats: 5-20, 35 yds., 0 TD, 2 Int.

1. Babe Laufenberg, December 23, 1990

The 1990 Cowboys were on the verge of making the playoffs, one year after the franchise had recorded a 1-15 record. But when Troy Aikman went down with an injury against the Eagles, Jimmy Johnson had to turn to Babe Laufenberg. The result: four interceptions in a 17-3 loss. Laufenberg was no better one week later in a loss to the Falcons, which knocked Dallas out of the playoffs.

Stats: 13-36, 140 yds., 0 TD, 4 Int.

Arizona 28, Dallas 17: Without Romo, “We Done”

The Dallas Cowboys struggled on offense without quarterback Tony Romo in a 28-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

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Washington 20, Dallas 17: Perhaps It Was Just a Night Without Magic

The Dallas Cowboys lost in overtime to the Washington Redskins, 20-17.

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Dallas Cowboys History: 6-Game Winning Streaks

The Dallas Cowboys have won six straight games for the eighth time in franchise history.

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Dallas 31, New York Giants 21: Overcoming Shots to the Foot

The Dallas Cowboys overcame some miscues to beat the New York Giants, 31-21.

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Dallas 30, Seattle 23: Just a Different Team

The Dallas Cowboys overcame miscues to pull out a 30-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks.

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Dallas 20, Houston 17: No More Here We Go Again?

The Dallas Cowboys blew a lead in the fourth quarter but managed to kick a field goal in overtime to pull out a 20-17 win over the Houston Texans.

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Dallas Cowboys: Ten Pivotal Regular Season Games, Part 3 (1971)

The Dallas Cowboys turned their 1971 season around during week 8 and never looked back.

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Instant Trivia: Cowboys vs. Saints

Answer five questions related to the Cowboys’ 38-17 win over the New Orleans Saints.

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