Jaguars can’t stop Tony Romo, Cowboys in London game
LONDON (AP) — After watching his team miss tackles, drop a punt, fumble the ball and fall into another big hole on the scoreboard against the Dallas Cowboys, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley let loose on his team at halftime.
"In the first half, there is no doubt that I was angry," Bradley said. "I didn’t believe we were playing our best."
They certainly weren’t, and a halftime scolding wasn’t enough to things around. Jacksonville fell to another largely self-inflicted loss Sunday, allowing Tony Romo to put up big numbers despite playing with an injured back as the Cowboys won 31-17 at Wembley Stadium in London.
Whether at home or abroad, the Jaguars (1-9) keep finding ways of defeating themselves.
This time it was with three turnovers, the biggest of which came when leading 7-3 in the first quarter. After stopping Dallas on its own 30, and with a chance to build some momentum, Ace Sanders muffed the catch on the ensuing punt. The Cowboys (7-3) recovered on the Jaguars 6, Romo hit Jason Witten for a touchdown three plays later, and Dallas never looked back.
Dez Bryant added two more touchdowns in the second quarter to stretch the lead to 21 points, dancing through a series of hapless tackles for a 35-yard catch-and run and then streaking away for a 68-yarder with 19 seconds left in the half.
"We didn’t play well at all. We played terrible," Jaguars safety Johnathan Cyprien said. "We played the way that a college team should be playing."
Romo returned after missing last week with two fractured small bones in his back and helped the Cowboys snap a two-game losing streak, throwing three touchdowns and completing 20 of 27 passes for 246 yards. He finished with a season-high passer rating of 138.8.
Blake Bortles, playing with a sore left wrist, was 22 of 37 for 290 yards with one interception. Denard Robinson scored two touchdowns for the Jaguars, running in from the 32 for the early 7-3 lead and adding a consolation score from the 1 late in the fourth.
Bortles’ biggest play was a 53-yard pass to Cecil Shorts after Bryant’s first touchdown that put the Jaguars in position to get back into the game. But on the very next snap, Robinson fumbled on the very next play for another turnover on the Cowboys 35.
"It felt like there was just a couple of plays here and there that turned the momentum," Bradley said. "I don’t have any concerns with our effort, with our courage, with our toughness. It’s just those self-inflicted things."
The Jaguars picked up two more points on a safety in the fourth quarter when Cowboys linebacker Kyle Wilber was flagged for holding in the end zone on a punt.
But by then, running back Joseph Randle had added another touchdown for the Cowboys on a 40-yard run, helped by more inept tackling by the Jags. And there was never any hope of a comeback similar to the one Detroit staged against Atlanta in the previous Wembley game last month, when the Lions came from 21 down at halftime to win on a last-second field goal.
This was the second of four annual regular-season games the Jaguars have agreed to play at Wembley, giving up a home game each season. They lost 42-10 to the 49ers last year. The idea is to build up an international fan base, although performances like this will do little to help that effort.
Despite the poor results, though, Bortles insisted the team is enjoying the London trips.
"It’s been awesome," Bortles said. "Tonight was a really great atmosphere."
NOTES: The players on both teams wore poppies on their shirts and helmets to commemorate Remembrance Day in Britain, the equivalent of Memorial Day in the United States. The little red flower is worn by many British people every year to honor Britain’s war dead in the days leading up to Nov. 11, the day in 1918 when hostilities ceased at the end of World War I. … The NFL will play three more regular-season games at Wembley Stadium next year. The Jaguars face the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 25, while the Miami Dolphins play the New York Jets on Oct. 4 and the Kansas City Chiefs meet the Detroit Lions on Nov. 1.