The graphic at the top of this post is from the animated series featuring "Scooby-Doo" and his human pals, who got into all sorts of mischief as they solved mysteries. Often the captured villain, at the end of the episode, would lament, "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"
Some players who defend against the Jerome Gambit have the same feeling about White's "Jerome pawns".
Wall,B - Lee,S
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 Bc5 5.Bxf7+
Bill has played this kind of delayed Jerome Gambit a little differently, before, for example: 6.Be3 Bb4+ 7.c3 Ba5 8.b4 Bb6 9.b5 Na5 10.Nxe5+ Kf8 11.0-0 d6 12.Nf3 Ke7 13.Qc2 Re8 14.d4 Kf8 15.e5 Nd5 16.Qxh7 Nxe3 17.fxe3 Nc4 18.Ng5+ Ke7 19.Qxg7 checkmate, Wall,B - Westender, Chess.com, 2010.
An alternative that shows up in different Jerome Gambit game collections is 6...Re8 7.Bg5 d5 8.Nbd2 Bg4 9.c3 Qd6 10.Qb3 Rab8 11.Bxf6 gxf6 12.exd5 Na5 13.Qa4 Bxf3 14.Nxf3 Qb6 15.b4 Bxf2+ 16.Rxf2 e4 17.dxe4 Nc4 18.Qd7+ Kg6 19.Qf5+ Kg7 20.a4 Qe3 21.Nd4 Qxc3 22.Qxf6+ Kg8 23.Raf1 Qxb4 24.Ne6 Qe7 25.Qd4 Nb6 26.Rf3 Nd7 27.Rg3+ Black resigned, Brookshire,T - Cunningham,D, IECC ,1999 (1-0, 27); alternately, 6...Kg8 would allow transposition to Wall,B - KRM, Chess.com, 2010 (1-0, 25).
Bill has also played this position without the second piece sacrifice:
7.Be3 would lead to Wall,B-Mukak, Chess.com, 2010 (1-0, 24); while 7.Nc3 was seen in Wall,B - Guest2622844, PlayChess.com, 2013: 7...Rf8 8.Nd5 Kg8 9.Be3 Bb6 10.c4 d6 11.Qb3 Na5 12.Qc3 Nxd5 13.cxd5 c5 14.Nd2 Bc7 15.a3 b5 16.b4 Nb7 17.Nb3 c4 18.dxc4 bxc4 19.Nd2 a5 20.Nxc4 axb4 21.axb4 Rxa1 22.Rxa1 Qh4 23.f3 Bd7? 24.Nxe5 dxe5 25.Qxc7 Bc8 26.Qxe5 Qf6 27.Qxf6 Rxf6 28.b5 Rf8 29.b6 Kf7 30.Rc1 Na5 31.Rc7+ Kg6 32.Bd4 Rg8 33.Kf2 Nb3 34.Bc3 Ba6 35.b7 Rb8 36.Rxg7+ Kh5 37.g4+ Kh4 38.Bf6+ Kh3 39.Rh7 Black resigned
Bill has played a similar game, achieving d2-d4 in one move instead of two: 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Bxf7+ Kxf7 5.0-0 h6 6.Nxe5+ Nxe5 7.d4 Nf6 8.dxe5 Nh7 9.Qd5+ Kf8 10.Qxc5+ d6 11.Rd1 Black resigned, Wall,B - Guest2170955, PlayChess.com, 2012.
8...d6 9.dxc5 dxc5 10.Qe1 Re8
Black has a piece for a pawn as well as better development. He is better, but he needs a plan.
In the mean time, White will develop and unleash his "Jerome pawns".
11.Nc3 Ng6 12.f3 Qd4+ 13.Be3 Qe5 14.f4 Qe7 15.e5 Nd7
Black's Queenside looks dangerously congested.
Bill points out that 15...Bf5 was possible, as 16.exf6? simply loses a piece to 16...Qxe3+ 17.Qxe3 Rxe3
Black's move feints at an attack on the Kingside, threatens to exchange Queens - and ignores the problems of his Queenside.
One fascinating possibility in this position is 16...Qd8 17.Rd1 c6 18.e6+ Kg8 when White simply snags the Knight on d7, with at least equality after 19.exd7 Bxd7 20.Nc3. The point is that Black cannot take the obnoxious White e-pawn with 18...Rxe6, as White can activate his other advanced "Jerome pawn" with 19.f5 Re5 20.fxg6+ Kg8 and the tactics, as Stockfish shows, are in the attacker's favor: 21.Nc7!? Qxc7 22.Qg3 Qa5 23.Rxd7 Bxd7 24.Qxe5 Re8 25.Bxc5 Qd8 26.Qf4 with an advantage to White.
17.f5 Qxe1 18.e6+ Kg8 19.Raxe1 Rf8 20.fxg6 Rxf1+ 21.Rxf1 Ne5
Perhaps Black breathed a sigh of relief here. True, he has had to return his extra piece, but he has traded Queens and one pair of Rooks, and he can look forward to the possibility of a Bishops-of-opposite-colors endgame where White's extra pawn may make no difference.
Here Black resigned, as 22...Kh8 23.Rf8 would be checkmate.