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Cowboys keep focus, earn win over Raiders

AP

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.”

Ravens 22, Steelers 20

In Baltimore, a game between the Steelers and Ravens usually features hard hits, flying helmets and a pivotal play in the final minutes.

The clash between these AFC North rivals had all that — and so much more.

A coach on the field during a kick return, two touchdowns erased by replay and an inexplicable botched field goal were among the highlights and lowlights in Baltimore’s Thanksgiving victory.

Justin Tucker kicked five field goals, and the Ravens snuffed a conversion pass with 1:03 left to avenge last month’s loss to their division rivals.

After Pittsburgh scored on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Jerricho Cotchery to make it 22-20, Roethlisberger’s 2-point conversion pass slipped through the hands of Emmanuel Sanders, who was screened by Chykie Brown.

“Ben gave me a good ball,” Sanders said. “It hit my hands, and I’ve got to make the play. It’s not on him. It’s on me.”

The ensuing onside kick didn’t travel the required 10 yards, and that left Baltimore to merely run out the clock to end Pittsburgh’s three-game winning streak.

“It’s never over when you play the Steelers, it’s never over when you play the Ravens. That’s why these games are so great,” Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said.