4:30 PM ET, November 28, 2013
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Any momentum the Dallas Cowboys earned from a dramatic victory over a division rival won't mean much if they can't build on it going forward.
Back above .500 and tied atop the NFC East, the Cowboys seem to have a good chance to keep heading in the right direction Thursday when they host an Oakland Raiders team which has struggled on the road.
Having had two weeks to recover from an embarrassing 49-17 loss at New Orleans on Nov. 10, Dallas (6-5) pulled out a 24-21 road victory Sunday over a New York Giants team which had won four straight. The Cowboys blew a 15-point lead in the second half but won on Dan Bailey's 35-yard field goal as time expired.
"The teams that are able to put that one (bad loss) aside and come back and go win the next game and put their best foot forward, those are the ones that play at the end of the year," coach Jason Garrett told the Cowboys' official website.
"It's a long season. Games go a lot of different ways over the course of 16 games. You've just got to keep going."
In every game after the Cowboys have won to climb above .500, they've lost. However, all four of those defeats have been on the road.
They're averaging an NFC-high 34.6 points at home this season while going 4-1.
"You move on to the next one," said tight end Jason Witten, who had two touchdown receptions Sunday. "That was a big win, but they just get bigger. For our football team, that's what it's all about is focusing on this and saying, 'We're one game above .500, we've got a long way to go.' Get to 7-5, and that's the only thing we can think about right now."
Tony Romo has engineered a pair of lengthy final drives in each of Dallas' last two victories.
He capped a nine-play, 90-yard drive with a 7-yard TD pass to Dwayne Harris with 35 seconds left in a 27-23 home win over Minnesota on Nov. 3. Against the Giants, Romo marched the Cowboys 64 yards on 14 plays over the final 4:45 to set up Bailey's winner.
"I think you either feel comfortable in those situations or you don't," said Romo, whose 107.1 passer rating in the fourth quarter ranks second among 28 quarterbacks with at least 60 attempts.
"Just through all the experiences and all the times you've put yourself in that position as a team, and we feel good."
Though the Cowboys rank 29th averaging 79.7 rushing yards per game, they should be pleased after gaining 107 on Sunday. DeMarco Murray has averaged 5.8 yards per carry while recording 175 with a touchdown in the last two games.
The Raiders (4-7) have allowed an average of 122.6 yards on the ground while going 1-4 away from home. They had dropped eight straight road games before winning their most recent one, but that came against a Houston team currently mired in a nine-game losing streak.
Though Oakland held Tennessee's Chris Johnson to 73 yards on 20 carries Sunday, it let the Titans go 80 yards on 14 plays in 6 minutes to score a touchdown with 10 seconds left and hand the Raiders a 23-19 defeat.
"We don't have a lot of time to sit around and wallow in self-pity," said coach Dennis Allen, whose team has suffered three four-point defeats this season.
"We're extremely disappointed in the loss, but we've got a game to play, and we've got to get ourselves ready to play the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day and that's really where the majority of our focus has turned to now."
Rookie Matt McGloin will make a third straight start, having thrown four TDs and one INT in two games since Terrelle Pryor sprained his knee in a loss to the Giants. Pryor was able to return last week but served as the backup, as he will this week.
The Raiders will have running back Darren McFadden back after he missed the last three contests with a hamstring injury. However, backup Rashad Jennings has averaged 5.7 yards per carry and 103.3 per game in the last four.
It's uncertain if McGloin will be throwing to Denarius Moore, who might miss his second straight with a shoulder injury.
While the Cowboys are 28-16-1 on Thanksgiving, Oakland fell to 3-3 on the holiday with a 24-7 loss at Dallas in 2009. Romo threw for 309 yards with two TDs and Witten caught five balls for 107 as the Cowboys' snapped a three-game skid in the series.
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|Avg Points Allowed||25.0||25.3|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||OAK|
|Rush Yds Allowed||OAK|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Series tied 2-2|
|Nov 26, 2009||OAK 7, @DAL 24|
|Oct 2, 2005||OAK 19, DAL 13|
|Oct 7, 2001||OAK 28, DAL 21|
The Cowboys were held in check in the 1st half with just 126 yards as they had the ball for just 11 minutes. They turned things around after halftime, totaling 100 more yards than they had in the 1st half and controlling the ball for 21 of the 30 minutes.[+]
2nd Half Turnaround - Cowboys Thursday vs Raiders
The Cowboys stayed committed to the run despite trailing by 2 touchdowns for part of the game, calling a designed rush on 46 percent of their plays, their second-highest run percentage of the season. They had entered the game running the ball on 32 percent of their plays...the 3rd-lowest rate in the NFL.[+]
Cowboys Rushing This Season
Lance Dunbar had a 45-yard rush in the third quarter. Coming into the game, his career-high for yards from scrimmage was 46 (last week vs. the Giants)
Greg Jenkins (OAK): Fum ret TD off of opening kickoff Elias Sports Bureau confirms the last time that happened was on Sept. 12, 1999 when Tyronne Drakeford did it for the Saints against the Panthers.[+]
The Raiders finished with 51 yards on 24 rushes (excluding a first-half kneel down). The Cowboys allowed a league-worst 5.1 yards per rush entering the game, including 3.4 yards before contact per rush (31st in NFL). - Oakland had seven rushes that didn't gain a yard, tied for the most by the Cowboys' defense in a game this season. - The Raiders' 2.1 yards per rush average is Dallas' second-lowest average allowed since the start of 2009 (Week 2 of 2010 vs Bears). It's Oakland's second-lowest average in a game since the start of 2010 (Week 2 vs Dolphins and Week 9 vs Buccaneers, both in 2012).[+]
Cowboys Rush Defense, 2013
The Raiders first TD came when Greg Jenkins recovered a fumble off the opening kickoff and took it in for a score just 12 seconds into the game. FROM ELIAS: This was the fastest score AGAINST the Cowboys in their history. The previous "record" was 15 seconds in a 2008 game in Arizona when J.J. Arrington ran the opening kickoff back 93 yards for the Cardinals.
Greg Jenkins' fumble return touchdown on the opening kickoff was the first special teams TD allowed by Dallas this year. Jenkins' touchdown was the second special teams touchdown for Oakland, now the fifth team with multiple special teams TDs.
DeMarco Murray scored three rushing touchdowns, the first multi-TD game of his career. Murray capitalized on the Cowboys' commitment to the run. They ran on 29-of-63 plays (46%) excluding a kneel down, their second-highest rate in a game this season. The Cowboys ran on 32% of snaps entering Thursday, third lowest in the NFL.
Tony Romo was 12-of-12 passing in the second half Sunday after going 11-of-20 in the first half. Here's how he turned it around: - None of Romo's second half passes traveled more than 14 yards past the line of scrimmage. Romo was 1-of-4 passing at least 15 yards downfield in the first half. - Romo completed all five attempts to Dez Bryant including a touchdown (2-of-4 in the first half). Bryant's touchdown was his seventh of the season on an end-zone throw, tied for most in the NFL (Brandon Marshall). - Romo completed all seven attempts against at least five pass rushers in the second half, facing such pressure on 8-of-13 dropbacks (62%). The Raiders held Romo to 5-of-10 passing in the first half against added pressure, which Oakland sent on 11-of-21 dropbacks.
DeMarco Murray is the first player this season to have three rushing touchdowns in goal-to-go situations in a game.
¿ Andre Holmes had seven catches for 136 yards. Coming into the game, Holmes had five catches for 76 yards in his career. ¿ Lance Dunbar had 94 yards from scrimmage, doubling his previous career high (46 last week vs. Giants). Dunbar's 45-yard rush in the third quarter alone was 1 yard shy of his yards from scrimmage career high. ¿ Rashad Jennings had two touchdowns on 18 touches in Thursday's loss, his first career game with multiple touchdowns. Jennings had two touchdowns in 136 touches this season entering Week 13.
Andre Holmes currently has 77 receiving yards. He entered the game with 76 for his career.
ESPN Stats & Information