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Just Stats Baby: Week 12 vs the Cowboys

Raiders bounced back with explosive plays

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Las Vegas Raiders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Las Vegas Raiders pulled off an upset overtime victory last Thursday over the Dallas Cowboys with a bounce-back performance from the offense. The Raiders are right back in the playoff hunt with a hot Washington Football Team coming into town this Sunday.

Let us look at the stats that stood out from Week 12.

Raiders move the ball with explosive plays.

The Raiders in this game were 3-13 on third down and ended up kicking five field goals. They finished the day with a 40-percent success rate on offense, which is their worst since Week 4 vs. the LA Chargers. They stole this win from the Cowboys by the number of explosive plays through the air.

The Raiders added another six big plays of 20 yards or more. They achieved two 50-yard plays on the day, including a touchdown to DeSean Jackson. These plays helped the Raiders get to 58 total for the season. Now they are tied for the most through 12 weeks since 1991.

Derek Carr has the record for most completed passes over 20 yards in the air with 29 through 12 weeks. He is on pace to break the record set by Jameis Winston in 2019 with 40, using Sports Radar. The Raiders offensive line must show up down the stretch to allow the Raiders to become a classic offense in the NFL.

Raiders get back to play action.

With the offense in a massive slump, the Raiders' play action has been potent. Before the matchup vs. the Cowboys, they were hot running play fakes to deceive defenses. They took it to another level on Thanksgiving to massive a win.

Carr on the day was 8/13 on play action with 180 yards passing and a passer rating of 107.1. According to sports radar, they used play action 31% last Thursday, which is the highest of the year. The play-action added four big plays of 20 yards and helped the Raiders move the football when they struggled.

The offense decided to go with what was working and put up 36 points when they struggled to move the football. Wild how that works, but they can't get stubborn and get away from the Strategy.

Casey Heyward has his worst game of the season.

The steady rock in the secondary all season is free-agent signee Casey Heyward. He has been one of the steals in free agency for the Raiders, who have come in and created a vast impact on the Raiders' success. The Cowboys game ended differently for the former pro-bowler with his worse game of the season.

Heyward received five targets on the day but ended giving up five receptions on those targets using PFF metrics. He allowed 105 yards on the day, which is the first time he has allowed that high an amount all season. While a few great throws by Dak Prescott beat him in coverage, you still want to see better from your best corner.

Starter Trayvon Mullen should be back soon and will help, especially if Heyward starts to slow down. I don't expect it to happen, but it is a possibility with an older player late in the season. Hopefully, it was just a kink in the armor.

Brandon Parker's long day

The Raiders' right tackle position has been an issue all season long for the Raiders. They made the switch to Brandon Parker Week 5 in the hopes of sparking confidence in a struggling offensive line. That hasn't been in the case with Parker continuing to prove he's not an NFL starter.

Using my charting, Brandon Parker gave up nine pressures on the day and a sack. If you like PFF, their metrics had him with seven pressures. Micah Parsons abused him for most of the matchup, causing consistent pressure on Carr and disrupting plays. The sack in overtime almost lost them the game putting the offense in third and 18.

Parker is a liability at this point when it comes to the right tackle position. He hasn't had a strong performance since the Raiders have had to feature Waller in the passing game and no more chip blocks. It might be time for the Raiders to make a switch.