(Sports Network) – David Garrard returned to the lineup to throw for 260 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to lead Jacksonville to a 35-17 triumph over Dallas at Cowboys Stadium.
Garrard, who suffered a concussion in an October 18 loss to Tennessee and missed last week’s game, completed his first 12 throws on the way to 17-for-21 efficiency and added a touchdown on the ground for the Jaguars (4-4), who halted a two-game skid in which they were outscored 72-23.
Mike Sims-Walker made eight receptions for a career-high 153 yards and two touchdowns, Marcedes Lewis also caught two scoring passes and Maurice Jones- Drew carried 27 times for a season-high 135 yards as the visitors won for a sixth straight season heading into their bye week.
Derek Cox became the first Jacksonville player to intercept two passes in a game since Rashean Mathis did it twice during the 2006 season. Mathis also made an interception in the fourth quarter, the Jags’ franchise-record fourth of the day.
Jon Kitna, taking over for the injured Tony Romo, connected on 34-of-49 throws for 379 yards and a touchdown in his first start in over two years for the Cowboys (1-6), who have lost four in a row for the first time since the last four weeks of the 2002 season.
Jason Witten caught 10 passes for 97 yards and a touchdown and Miles Austin added seven grabs for 117 yards while Marion Barber ran for only 16 yards and a score for the hosts, who are off to their worst start since dropping their first eight games en route to a 1-15 record in 1989.
Dallas scored first on a 34-yard field goal by David Buehler 4:14 into the contest before the Jags moved in front for good on their next possession.
Garrard hit Sims-Walker on a play-action pass in the back of the end zone from 10 yards away to cap a five-play, 63-yard drive that put the visitors in the lead with just under eight minutes to go in the first quarter.
Dallas started at its own 12 and moved to the Jags 29 before Cox intercepted Kitna at the 23 with 11 1/2 minutes to go in the first half. The visitors cashed in on the turnover and added to their lead with another TD.
From the Dallas 42, Garrard threw to Lewis, who made the catch at the 15, shed a tackle inside the 10 and found the end zone to make it a 14-3 game with 9:43 remaining before the intermission.
The Cowboys took over at their own 42 with 2:20 to go in the half and appeared poised to trim the deficit but wound up not scoring and going to the break down 11, the first time the Jags had led at the half this season.
On second down from the nine with 24 seconds left, Kitna scrambled and was taken down at the one prompting a timeout. The Cowboys then ran Barber up the middle but he was stopped inches shy of the goal line with nine seconds left. Dallas opted to go for it on fourth down but Barber was denied again. He bumped into Kitna on the handoff exchange and was halted inches short after trying to burrow his way to paydirt. Both of Barber’s runs were reviewed and both calls on the field were upheld by replay.
Jacksonville opened the second half with a six-play, 83-yard drive that was capped on a 15-yard scoring toss from Garrard to Mike Thomas, who caught a screen pass and weaved his way through traffic into the end zone. The march was highlighted by a Sims-Walker 29-yard catch and run followed by a 39-yard grab by Sims-Walker on a pass deep down the left sideline on the next play.
Following Cox’s second pick of the day, a diving stab on a pass in and out of the hands of Roy Williams, the Jags moved quickly to strike again.
Garrard rolled right from the nine and threw back across the field to Lewis, who made the catch in the end zone to extend the margin to 28-3 with nine minutes left in the quarter to finish a five-play, 33-yard drive.
Dallas finally found the end zone when Barber banged his way in from a yard out to finish an eight-play, 80-yard march with 12 1/2 minutes to play. Witten made catches for eight and 27 yards on consecutive plays to set up the score.
Mathis made his pick with a shade more than seven minutes to go in the game and brought it back 24 yards to the Cowboys seven. Three plays later, Garrard faked a handoff and scooted around the left side untouched into the end zone from two yards out.
The Cowboys then moved 74 yards on 13 plays to post their second TD of the day on an eight-yard toss from Kitna to Witten with just under 2 1/2 minutes left in the game.
Jacksonville leads the all-time series, 3-2…The Jags are 11-5 heading into their bye week…Lewis made two catches for 51 yards while Thomas made four grabs for 41…Linebacker Daryl Smith played in his 100th game as a member of the Jags, the 17th player in team history to accomplish that feat…Defensive back Don Carey left the game in the fourth quarter with a neck sprain suffered on a helmet-to-helmet hit for which he was penalized…Kitna’s last start came on October 5, 2008 as a member of the Detroit Lions…He became the first Dallas QB aside from Romo to throw for 300 yards or more since Drew Beldsoe accumulated 332 yards against Kansas City on December 11, 2005…Dez Bryant caught seven passes for 84 yards in a losing cause…Barber carried nine times…Felix Jones led the Cowboys with 22 rushing yards on eight attempts. Jacksonville returns to action November 14 at home against Houston while the Cowboys travel to Green Bay next week.