This game stated out much like last week in Kansas City for the Raiders. The Cowboys moved into scoring position on each of their first three drives to take an early 10-0 lead while the Raiders had a net 7 yards of offense. The only highlight for the Raiders was a gift interception to Sean Smith on a high pass from Dak Prescott.
It wasn’t until the waning seconds of the first half that the Raiders were able to go on a drive. They moved to the 11-yard-line with :14 seconds remaining where Derek Carr threw a strike over the middle to Jared Cook for the touchdown. But Cook was flagged for a highly questionably offensive pass interference to wipe it away. Giorgio Tavecchio lined up for a 39-yard field goal and is missed wide left as time expired and the Raiders were held without points, still down 10-0 at the half.
Things turned around for the Raiders in the third quarter. Starting at their own 10-yard-line, they went 90 yards for the score. The biggest chunk of that came off a Derek Carr scramble for 32 yards to put the Raiders at the Dallas 21-yard-line. Two plays later, Marshawn took the pitch out left and ran for 19 yards and the next play Carr found Michael Crabtree in the back of the end zone for the 2-yard touchdown.
The Cowboys attempted to answer the score and on the third play of their series, Bruce Irvin got pressure and hit Dak Prescott on the arm as he threw. The ball flipped through the air and again it was Sean Smith in the right place to collect it at the Dallas 22. Tavecchio would get another shot from 39 yards out. The kick was blocked but went through anyway to tie up the game at 10-10.
This time the Cowboys would answer. Although it didn’t look at first like they would.
The Raiders defense had made the stop on third and 11. The Cowboys lined up to punt from their own 24-yard-line and it was a fake! Chris Jones tucked it and ran for 24 yards to put the Cowboys near midfield. A 19-yard pass to Dez Bryant put the Cowboys at the Oakland 25-yard-line. The next play, Prescott went with the QB keeper to pick up 17 yards. Two plays later, he scanned the field, couldn’t find an open man and kept it himself again to go up the middle for the touchdown to go back up 17-10 at the end of the third quarter.
A game that began lethargic — at least from the Raiders’ perspective — was becoming a shootout. This time they started with great field position on a big Cordarrelle Patterson return which he fumbled at the end, but fortunately it went out of bounds.
On third and 9, Carr saw pressure from the right side, stepped into the pocket only to get his arm hit as he threw. The ball flailed through the air and somehow Seth Roberts ran under it perfectly for a 26-yard gain. From there they put it in Marshawn’s hands and he ran it three times for 15 yards to put them in third and goal at the 2-yard-line. Crabtree shook rookie Chidobe Awuzie in the end zone to catch the 2-yard touchdown.
With 10:35 remaining, it was a new game at 17-17. Stops by both teams
What was initially called a first down on third and ten on a pass to Jason Witten was ruled short after a Jack Del Rio challenge. The Cowboys went for it on fourth and one. Prescott kept it up the middle and it looked close. Like REALLY close. Like so close even the officials couldn’t tell whether it was a first down. Gene Steratore literally took out a piece of paper to see if the ball reached the stick. He ruled that it did and gave the Cowboys the first down.
That ruling was critical for this game. Still with the ball, Prescott threw deep for Dez Bryant with Sean Smith covering. Smith played it well, staying with Bryant and turning as the ball arrived, but Bryant still made the leaping grab for 40 yards to put Dallas in first and goal at the 5-yard-line.
A four-yard run by Alfred Morris put the Cowboys in 2nd and goal that the one. Two straight stops for no gain by the Raiders’ defensive line would limit the damage to a field goal.
Down 20-17 the Raiders would have 1:44, starting at their own 10-yard line trying to tie it or win it. Carr found Seth Roberts for 19 yards on the second play. Three incompletions would put the Raiders in fourth and ten for the game. A play after Carr had a gift pick-six dropped, Carr escaped the pocket and launched a prayer deep to Michael Crabtree and he was interfered with to give the Raiders the first down at the Dallas 15-yard-line.
Three plays later, on third and 3 at the 8, Carr escaped pressure and scrambled with the ball. He dove for pylon and evoked the stupidest, most nonsensical rule in all of sports; the ball came out of his hand where he fumbled it through the end zone for the touchback. They would get no tie and no win. Cowboys win 20-17.