The Las Vegas Raiders scored their first win in over a month as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys at Thanksgiving, 36-33 in overtime. This was the sixth overtime game ever at Thanksgiving, and the third for the Cowboys. They now have 0-3 in Thanksgiving matches that went to overtime.
The Cowboys have recorded four double-digit comebacks at Thanksgiving, the last of which happened to come against the Raiders in 2013. While they were close to pulling another out Thursday night, the Dallas defense just couldn’t come up with enough stops. Dak Prescott got the ball to start overtime, but he went three-and-out after a pretty bad foul intended for Noah Brown on third-and-4. With the Cowboys scoring and the Raiders just having to have a field goal to win, it started to feel like this was over.
Anthony Brown was called for pass interference on the third and 18th – a penalty that got the Raiders all the way down to the Cowboys’ 24-yard line. A couple of games later, Daniel Carlson knocked in a 29-yard battle-winning field goal.
So what happened in Texas on Thanksgiving? Let’s take a deeper look.
Why the Raiders won
Thanks to the Raiders defense for their overtime stoppage, but the Las Vegas offense stood out the most at Thanksgiving. Derek Carr played fantastic ball as he completed 24 of 39 passes on 373 yards and a touchdown. He did not turn the ball around, took sacks when appropriate and moved the chains, even after star tight end Darren Waller hurt his knee in the second quarter and did not return. Carr put his trust in his recipients to make plays, and he succeeded more often than not. Hunter Renfrow caught eight passes for 134 yards, and DeSean Jackson caught three passes for 102 yards – including a 56-yard touchdown to start things up in the first quarter. Zay Jones also had a couple of great plays as he caught five passes on 59 yards on seven goals.
Now, was there a facet of the Raiders’ game plan that felt like they were about to shoot on pass interference calls? Yes, but it worked with how this Cowboys secondary played.
Why the Cowboys lost
The Cowboys’ defense just couldn’t get enough stops. You are not going to win many matches if you allow 33 points in four quarters. In total, the Cowboys recorded 14 penalties and it felt like the majority were dedicated to defensive passing interference. In fact, cornerback Anthony Brown scored four penalties alone! If the Cowboys did not commit PI (though some were questionable calls), they were behind the Raiders wideouts in coverage or allowed them to take a step to collect yards after the catch. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, a flag also became the turning point in this game.
After the Cowboys had to score in overtime, the defense had a chance to record a stop to give the ball back to Prescott and Co. Facing a third-and-18, Carr tried to hook up with Jones deep down the right side of Mark. Brown did not get his head around and was marked for PI.
The penalty cost Dallas 33 yards, putting the Raiders in position to kick the battle-winning field goal.
It wasn’t just the Cowboys who drew yellow laundry all night as the Raiders were also marked 14 times! The Cowboys had 166 penalty yards, while the Raiders had 110. The Cowboys had 60 penalty yards in the first quarter, which is their most in a first quarter since 2002 in Week 1 against the Houston Texans, by ESPN.
Play the game
After Marcus Mariota hit a three-yard touchdown score, Dallas was again in double digits. It did not last long, however, when Tony Pollard returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to the Cowboys’ third touchdown of the game. Come to the game, stay for the official ride on the pylon. Luckily, he looked okay.
Two expelled in the second half
After the Raiders went three-and-out on the first possession of the second half, AJ Cole came to score. While the boot went off the field, the game was not over.
Cowboys rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph and Raiders safety Roderic Teamer kept pushing each other off the field and it attracted all the attention. In the middle of his fists, one of the officials, Tom Hill, was bloody on the chin. Joseph and Teamer were immediately thrown out.
The Raiders return to Vegas next weekend to host the Washington Football Team. The Cowboys, on the other hand, will not get the benefit of a longer week as they take on the Saints in New Orleans next week on “Thursday Night Football”.