Originally published on Silver & Black Report on Nov. 28, 2013
The Oakland Raiders jumped out to an early lead as they took on the Dallas Cowboys but couldn't hang on as they eventually fell 31-24 on Thanksgiving Day.
Whether it was the short week or the inability to make adjustments at half, the Raiders were unable to regain momentum in the second half after a costly defensive letdown late in the first half.
It certainly didn't take long for the Oakland Raiders to feast on a Cowboys mistake to jump out to an early lead, capitalizing on a fumble on the opening-kickoff, just as they did against the Giants earlier this year.
Cowboys wide receiver Terrance Williams made a poor decision to take the ball out from eight-yards deep in the end zone and was hit and stripped of the ball before new Raider Greg Jenkins recovered the ball and took it 23-yards for the touchdown. Jenkins was signed off the practice squad before last week's game and it was his first career touchdown.
Coming off of a game in which they gave up an 80-yard game-winning drive to the Titans, the Raiders defense came out to play and limited the Cowboys to just 126 yards in the first half, 73 of which occurred during Dallas' two-minute drill to cut the lead just before halftime.
The Cowboys were unable to get things going in the first half as their first touchdown occurred after a costly mistake by Matt McGloin and the Raiders offense.
Jenkins, who replaced Jacoby Ford on punt returns, made a mistake and made a fair catch on the five-yard line, backing McGloin up. McGloin and Stefen Wisniewski fumbled the center-quarterback exchange to give the ball to the Cowboys on the Raiders' two yard line. From there, it was Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray getting in for the two-yard touchdown, tying the game late in the first quarter.
After struggling on third-down plays on both sides of the ball last week, McGloin and the Raiders offense were stellar in the first half, going on a streak of seven-consecutive conversions. The Raiders capitalized by jumping out to a 21-7 lead early, with running back Rashad Jennings rushing for a pair of one-yard touchdowns, with one occurring just after the two-minute warning of the first half.
But Tony Romo and the Cowboys were able to gain some momentum as Romo ran the two-minute drill to perfection to answer Jennings' touchdown.
Romo led his offense down the field 73-yards rather quickly, capping the eight-play drive off with a four-yard touchdown run by Murray on a draw play. The touchdown drive gave the Raiders the 21-14 lead heading into halftime.
Though they kept the lead at half, it was quite clear that the momentum had shifted in favor of the Cowboys at halftime.
Dallas' defense came out and forced a Raiders punt on the first possession of the second half, giving the ball back to Romo with a chance to tie the game.
Romo, who seemed to find his rhythm on that final drive of the first half, continued that momentum in the second half. Romo took that momentum and turned it into another touchdown drive, going 87 yards on ten plays to tie the game up at 21-21. This time it was Romo finding his receiver Dez Bryant on the fade for the touchdown from eight-yards out.
But the Cowboys weren't done there, going for another touchdown on their next drive to make it 21-unanswered points. Murray capitalized with a seven-yard touchdown run up the middle, his third of the game which gabe the Cowboys the 28-21 lead.
Still unable to get their offense going, the Raider defense came up big forcing the first punt of the second half after sacking Romo on third down on their next drive.
But once again the Raiders offense was unable to capitalize, even after McGloin found wide receiver Andre Holmes for a 35-yard gain on the first play, their biggest gain of the game. McGloin almost threw an interception when looking for fullback Marcel Reece, but then threw an ill-advised jump ball to the Raiders shortest wide receiver Ford (5-foot-9), who got boxed out and had the pass intercepted by Cowboys corner Brandon Carr in the endzone.
From there, Romo and the Cowboys offense would milk the clock away with a 14 play, 79-yard drive that took 6:03 off the clock and culminated in a 19-yard field goal, giving the Cowboys a ten-point lead.
McGloin was able to drive the Raiders 53 yards in seven plays, giving the Raiders a chance after a 45-yard field goal make by Sebastian Janikowski to cut the lead to just one touchdown.
Forced to go for an onside kick, Janikowski laid the ball on its side and kicked it, though the Raiders were unable to come up with it, securing the Cowboys 31-24 victory. Janikowski was just 2/20 on onside kick attempts before the try.
McGloin started the game 11/15 in the first half but finished just 18/30 for 255 yards and no touchdowns and the one interception.
The Raiders will remain on the road and will take on the Jets in New York next Sunday, after a much-needed break to try and right the ship to finish the rest of the season strong.