ARLINGTON, Texas — Tony Romo was sick, and it wasn’t because he had just watched the Oakland Raiders return a fumble for a touchdown on the opening kickoff.
After the Dallas quarterback caught a virus the night before Thanksgiving, his top two running backs were there to help out.
DeMarco Murray ran for three touchdowns, backup Lance Dunbar led Dallas with a career-high 82 yards rushing and the Cowboys overcame the shock of Oakland’s early score to beat the Raiders 31-24 Thursday.
Romo still did his part. He was behind 7-0 before taking his first snap, and his offense didn’t have a yard in the second quarter when he took the field down 21-7 with less than 2 minutes remaining before halftime.
Five completions from Romo later, Murray scored on a 4-yard run 10 seconds before halftime and set the stage for a second-half rally that put the Cowboys (7-5) two games above .500 for the first time since late last season.
Dallas is at least temporarily ahead of Philadelphia (6-5) atop the NFC East.
“To have the opening kickoff fumbled and returned for a touchdown and then be down a couple of scores in the first half, nobody blinked,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “The momentum kind of turned and I think guys started feeling pretty good and it just continued.”
Dallas was without kick returner Dwayne Harris because of a hamstring injury, and rookie replacement Terrance Williams gave the Raiders a touchdown with a fumble on the opening kickoff.
Greg Jenkins picked up the ball at the 23 after it squirted away from the pile and outran everyone to the pylon. The play was upheld on review after replay showed Williams’ knee hitting the turf just as the ball was coming out.
Matt McGloin, an undrafted rookie quarterback making his third career start, had a strong first half for the Raiders.