(Reuters) - DeMarco Murray ran for three touchdowns to spearhead the Dallas Cowboys to a 31-24 Thanksgiving Day comeback win over the Oakland Raiders on Thursday.
Trailing 21-7 in the second quarter, the Cowboys (7-5) rallied behind 24 straight points to remain in control of the NFC East and put the pressure on the second-placed Philadelphia Eagles (6-5), who play Sunday.
Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo completed 23 passes for 225-yards and one touchdown but it was Murray who did much of the heavy lifting, with 17 carries for 63-yards and a career high three scores.
“It was a tough game,” Romo said.
”Oakland came in and played real well and whenever you get behind early in the game with a turnover on special teams it puts you in hole.
“But the guys did a great job, fought back.”
The Raiders’ Matt McGloin, an undrafted free agent, had looked like an All-Pro quarterback in the first half as Oakland surprised the Cowboys, but he could not maintain his form after the break, completing 18 passes for 255-yards and one interception.
The Cowboys immediately found themselves in a hole when Terrance Williams fumbled the opening kickoff and Raiders’ rookie Greg Jenkins scooped up the loose ball and returned 23-yards for the score.
The home team’s opening score also came as a result of a turnover with McGloin fumbling the snap and the Cowboys recovering on the two with Murray waltzing in untouched for his first touchdown.
Oakland (4-8) reclaimed the lead in the second quarter on a pair of one-yard touchdown plunges from Rashad Jennings to go up 21-7.
But with less than two minutes left in the half, the Cowboys went to work with Murray charging in for his second touchdown to send the home side into the break down seven.
The Cowboys continued their fight back in the third quarter with Romo hitting Dez Bryant for a four-yard touchdown before Murray powered his way seven-yards for another score to give Dallas their first lead of the game.
Dan Bailey, of the Cowboys, and Raiders’ kicker Sebastian Janikowski traded field goals to close out the scoring.
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; editing by Julian Linden