ARLINGTON, Texas — David Garrard and the Jacksonville Jaguars became the latest to take advantage of the crumbling Dallas Cowboys.
They sure made it look easy, too.
Garrard tied a club record with four touchdown passes and ran for another while narrowly missing a perfect quarterback rating, leading the Jaguars to a 35-17 victory over the Cowboys on Sunday.
Tony Romo could only watch from the sideline, his left arm in a sling because of a broken collarbone, as the Cowboys (1-5) continued their worst start since 1989. The disturbing part for Dallas is that this one wasn't even close; all previous losses were by a touchdown or less. It wasn't even as close as the final score indicates.
The Cowboys were within 14-3 and inside the 1-yard line just before halftime when new starting quarterback Jon Kitna turned right and Marion Barber went left. There was a handoff, a collision and an easy goal-line stand for Jacksonville (4-4). Garrard opened the second half with touchdowns on his first two drives, making it 28-3, and the result never was in doubt again.
The Jaguars were coming off losses by 22 and 27 points, with Garrard having missed the last game recovering from a concussion. Now they head into their bye feeling good and hoping this can be a springboard into the second half of their season.
Garrard completed his first 12 passes, finally misfiring early in the third quarter only to avoid a sack. He threw his third TD on the next snap. He finished 17 of 21 for 260 yards. Even with three sacks and a lost fumble his rating was 157.8; perfect is 158.3.
Mike Sims-Walker caught eight passes for career-high 153 yards and a touchdown, which he celebrated by standing on the Cowboys' logo in the end zone and flashing the Hook 'em Horns hand gesture. Marcedes Lewis caught two touchdown passes and Mike Thomas had the other TD grab.
Helpless against the pass, Dallas wasn't any better against the run. Maurice Jones-Drew ran 27 times for 135 yards, becoming the fourth runner to crack 100 this season against a Cowboys defense that never allowed one last season.
Jacksonville's defense, meanwhile, intercepted four passes — as many as it had all season. The first three bounced off the hands of a Cowboys receiver.
About the only big mistake by the Jaguars was safety Don Carey making a helmet-to-helmet hit on Dallas tight end Jason Witten. Carey wound up sprawled on the turf, hit with an unnecessary roughness penalty and likely to be fined by the NFL. After being examined, Cary bounced to his feet but didn't return because of a neck injury. The lopsided score made his return unnecessary anyway.
Kitna was making his first start since 2008 and was looking for his first win since '07. He made some nice throws, but was undone by the drops-turned-interceptions and a defense that couldn't keep the game close.
He was 34 of 49 for 379 yards, with one touchdown. Miles Austin had 117 yards receiving and Witten had 97 and the TD. The running game provided little relief, with Felix Jones and Barber combining for 38 yards on 17 carries.
Dallas gave up 15.6 points per game last season, second-fewest in the NFL. With the only lineup change at safety, the unit is near the bottom of the league, especially after giving up 41 and 35 in its last two games. That doesn't bode well for the confidence in coach Wade Phillips, who also is the defensive coordinator.Comment on this story
The Cowboys have their first four-game losing streak since 2002. They're also 0-4 at home this season and 6-6 overall at the $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium.
The crowd was much smaller than usual, kept away by Dallas' lousy record, the lousy outlook without Romo and the Jags not being much of a draw. A shift in allegiance to the Texas Rangers in the World Series could be a factor, too.
The mood was summed up by two fans holding this sign, which somehow made it onto the humongous video boards: "Hurry up Cowboys, I have a Rangers game to go to." Some of the biggest cheers were for a beefy, mustachioed fan wearing a blonde wig and a skimpy Cowboys cheerleader outfit, bare midriff and all. He proved so popular that he was shown several times, including the kiss-cam segment; he got the smooch, too.
Chants of "Let's go Rangers! Let's go Rangers!" broke out in the second quarter and again in the third. By the fourth, there were hardly enough people left to even make boos echo.