In a return to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, the Raiders stepped on the Cowboys early only to be dominated when it mattered.
Oakland lost 31-24 in a game decided by a fourth quarter Cowboys drive that left the Silver and Black with nothing more than some leftover stuffing and a half-eaten roll.
Quarterback Matt McGloin owned the loss and made no excuses:
“Things were clicking, we were on the field for a while. We had some really long drives. We were putting drives together, putting plays together. Unfortunately during the second half, we couldn’t stay out there. Things weren’t clicking. You can’t win when that happens.”
McGloin was more than decent during the first 30 minutes. He threw for 147 yards in the first half only to become malignant in the second, finishing with 255 total passing yards and an interception.
Head coach Dennis Allen said:
“Obviously I’m disappointed in the loss, we started out fast and just couldn’t hold up.”
The game began with a kickoff return that was fumbled by Dallas’ Terrance Williams after being crushed by linebacker Kevin Burnett. Special teams ace Greg Jenkins swiped the pigskin off the turf and galloped into the end zone, putting the Raiders up six in a mere 12 seconds.
From there, Dallas was able to answer back against the Raiders defense, which has been shifty all season long.
An old fashioned shootout seemed likely when a botched snap recovered by Dallas at the goal line became a two-yard touchdown run from DeMarco Murray before Oakland answered back with two rushing touchdowns of their own.
“In the second half, we wore down defensively and we couldn’t stop them from running the football. They were able to possess the ball, so therefore we didn’t have many opportunities to really get anything going, When we did, weren’t able to take advantage of it.”
As an example, the Raiders’ second drive of the third quarter lasted only 18 seconds.
The Cowboys’ 29th-ranked rushing offense proceeded to pummel the NFL’s sixth best run defense, with both Lance Dunbar and Murray marching down the field unfazed and hardly touched. Just two minutes into the fourth quarter, Dallas took a 28-21 lead and would not look back.
Some questions were answered Thursday regarding the Raiders’ plans with running back Darren McFadden, who was seldom on the field. McFadden was only given five carries, though “hot hand” Rashad Jennings was less than impressive, finishing with a meager 35 yards on 17 carries.
Earlier in the week, offensive coordinator Greg Olson told the media that the plan was to ease McFadden back in, and ride the success of Jennings. After Thursday’s paltry performance from Jennings — and nine days of rest — McFadden might be able to reclaim his starting role.
Late in the game, Jennings was hit harder than your grandmother’s holiday fruit cake and suffered a concussion.
When all was said and done, Dallas left the Raiders in a funk, dazed and confused.