It was another tough loss late for the Raiders. After going ahead 21-7 in the first half, they gave up 24 unanswered points before losing 31-24. The Raiders dominated the Cowboys through most of the first half but a late touchdown drive opened the flood gates and the Cowboys never looked back.
The Cowboys return man fumbled the opening kickoff and Raiders' special teamer, Greg Jenkins picked it up and returned it for a touchdown to instantly give the Raiders a 7-0 lead. A fumbled snap set the Cowboys up for their first touchdown then the Raiders drove for two straight touchdown drives. The good news ended there for the Raiders.
In previous weeks it wasn't until late the game that the defense collapsed. In this game, it happened before halftime. From that point on the Raiders offense couldn't get back on track and the defense was on its heels the rest of the day.
With the ability to close out a game being so critical, there aren't a lot of heroes to speak of and plenty of blame to go around. And on that note, let's get right to it, shall we?
Quite a coming out party for Holmes. He stepped into the stadium where he had his NFL debut and made the Cowboys regret ever giving up on him. He had the very first catch of the day by any receiver for either team. It was on the Raiders' second offensive play and went for 10 yards and a first down. On the Raiders first touchdown drive of the game - for their second touchdown - he had a leaping 14-yard catch that had it been 15 yards, would have been a touchdown. The Raiders scored on a run on the next play.
On the next touchdown drive, he had a crucial 11-yard catch on third and eight in which he adjusted to pull in the pass that was behind him. It set the Raiders up with first down at the Cowboys' 11-yard line.
Holmes then began the second half with a catch for 21 yards. Early in the fourth quarter, he had his longest catch of the day for 35 yards. His final catch went for 24 yards on the Raiders last drive to help put them in field goal range and give them one last shot to make a comeback.
Holmes finished the day with 7 catches for 136 yards and nearly added a touchdown as well. Prior to this game, he had a total of 5 catches for 76 yards in his career. So, yeah, big day for him.
And only him.
Kaelin Burnett, Greg Jenkins - On the opening kickoff, Kaelin Burnett got in on the tackle and ripped the ball out of the hands of the return man. Jenkins scooped up the loose ball and weaved his way 23 yards for the touchdown. It gave the Raiders in instant 7-0 lead to begin the game.
He made a pivotal mistake early when he fumbled the snap from center in the shadow of his own goal in the first quarter. The Raiders were up 7-0 at the time and it gave the touchdown back to the Cowboys. The rest of the first half, he was lights out, going 11 for 15 for 146 yards and leading the Raiders to two touchdown drives. In the second quarter, he was 8 of 10 for 105 yards including 5 for 5 passing on third down (7 for 7 overall) for 82 yards passing.
The supposed weak armed QB had seven of his passes in the game go for 20 yards or more (27, 20, 22, 20, 21, 35, 24), finishing 18 of 30 for 255 yards. But with the Raiders down 28-21 in the fourth quarter, he took a shot at the end zone for Jacoby Ford who, as it turned out, was pretty well covered by his man. It turned into a jump ball and the 5-8 Ford is going to lose that battle just about every time. McGloin finished the game with a good looking drive to set up a field goal and put the team within one score with an onsides kick coming but it wasn't enough. He had a decent day throwing the football overall but you just can't bookend that day with two turnovers like that.
The Cowboys set up to stop the Raiders rushing attack so Jennings wasn't able to get going at all. He had just 35 yards rushing and 8 yards passing, ending his streak of 100 plus yards of offense games at four (five total on the season). But two of his 1-yard runs were the Raiders' two offensive touchdowns. Short yardage touchdowns was not something the Raiders did very well with early in the season. Jennings also was part of the critical fumble early in the game. He was right there and could have pounced on the ball - as they always teach players to do --, but instead he tried to pick it up and run with it. It didn't work out so well as he bobbled it and a Cowboys' player pounced on it at the 2-yard line.
He led the team with 11 tackles (10 solo) and had two sacks and a forced fumble. That's a Baller day in the box score. That is if these things were decided by box scores. Two of those tackles came on run stops in the Cowboys' first drive. One of the sacks came on the next drive. He added a quarterback pressure on the following drive. It was looking like a good day. But when his day went downhill, the Raiders day went with it (or vice versa).
He was blocked well into the endzone on the Cowboys first touchdown run. He was handled again on the block on their second touchdown run. He also started off that drive by giving up a 12-yard catch. The Cowboys' biggest play of the day came in the third quarter on a 45-yard run. Roach was among a host of Raiders who whiffed on his tackle attempt along the way.
He was again blocked out of the play on the Cowboys final rushing touchdown. He misread it in the first place and was lined up deep to defend for the pass. He added his second sack after that but by then it was pretty much too late.