4:30 PM ET, November 28, 2013
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
After the Dallas quarterback caught a virus the night before Thanksgiving, his top two running backs were there to help out.
DeMarco Murray ran for three touchdowns, backup Lance Dunbar led Dallas with a career-high 82 yards rushing and the Cowboys overcame the shock of Oakland's early score to beat the Raiders 31-24 on Thursday.
More Cowboys-Raiders coverage
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The Raiders have dropped no less than five shockingly winnable games thus far as the rebuild continues in Oakland, writes Paul Gutierrez. Story
The one-two punch the Cowboys have long been looking for was discovered in DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar, writes Calvin Watkins. Story
Romo still did his part. He was behind 7-0 before taking his first snap, and his offense didn't have a yard in the second quarter when he took the field down 21-7 with less than two minutes remaining before halftime.
Five completions from Romo later, Murray scored on a 4-yard run 10 seconds before halftime and set the stage for a second-half rally that put the Cowboys (7-5) two games above .500 for the first time since late last season.
Dallas is at least temporarily ahead of Philadelphia (6-5) atop the NFC East.
"To have the opening kickoff fumbled and returned for a touchdown and then be down a couple of scores in the first half, nobody blinked," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "The momentum kind of turned and I think guys started feeling pretty good and it just continued."
Greg Jenkins picked up the ball at the 23 after it squirted away from the pile and outran everyone to the pylon. The play was upheld on review after replay showed Williams' knee hitting the turf just as the ball was coming out.
Matt McGloin, an undrafted rookie quarterback making his third career start, had a strong first half for the Raiders.
But without much help from the league's fifth-best rushing attack, his offense stalled in the second half as Oakland (4-8) clinched an 11th straight season without a winning record since going to the Super Bowl during the 2002 season.
Rashad Jennings rushed for 35 yards on 17 carries -- a 2.1-yard average -- and had both of Oakland's offensive touchdowns. Darren McFadden carried just five times for 13 yards in his return after missing three games with a hamstring injury.
The Raiders finished with 50 yards rushing -- 1 more than their season low -- while the Cowboys went in with the league's 29th-ranked rushing offense and had 144 yards on the ground, their second-best total of the year.
"The game boiled down to, in the second half we wore down," said Raiders coach Dennis Allen, the league's youngest head coach, who was making his first appearance near the Dallas suburb of Hurst, where he grew up. "They were able to run the ball, and we weren't able to get off the field."
Murray had just 25 yards after his third TD but ran for another 38 to help Dallas burn the clock with a seven-point lead in the fourth quarter. Most of the late damage came on a drive to Dan Bailey's 19-yard field goal to put Dallas up by 10 with 1:56 left.
Murray, who tied the score at 7-all on a 2-yard run the first play after a fumble by McGloin late in the first quarter, also had 39 yards receiving.
"I was just playing like I always play," Murray said. "I'm not worried about anything else. I'm just doing the best I can do and trying to help this team win."
Dunbar, who went out with a left knee sprain in the fourth quarter, sparked the tying and go-ahead touchdown drives in the second half, highlighted by a 45-yard run that led to a 4-yard scoring pass from Romo to Dez Bryant, who had seven catches for 61 yards.
McGloin, who was 18-of-30 for 255 yards, converted five straight third downs with passes on a pair of touchdown drives in the second quarter.
He also had a throw to Andre Holmes that was ruled a touchdown on second-and-goal from the 16. After the call was overturned on replay, Jennings scored from the 1 to put Oakland ahead 14-7.
Holmes, who played seven games for Dallas last season before he was sent to the practice squad, had career highs with seven catches for 136 yards. His previous high was 33 yards.
After McGloin completed a 21-yard pass to Holmes on the first play of the second half, the Raiders didn't get another first down until the fourth quarter.
"We did start slow but this team is getting to that point where there is no panic anymore," said Dallas cornerback Brandon Carr, who was burned repeatedly by Holmes but had an interception to stop a potential tying drive by the Raiders in the fourth quarter.
Raiders G guard Mike Brisiel injured a knee on Oakland's first offensive play and didn't return. ... CB Mike Jenkins, who spent his first five seasons with the Cowboys, had a tackle for loss, a pass breakup and a forced fumble before leaving with a shoulder injury in the fourth quarter.
ARLINGTON, TX - NOVEMBER 28: NFL fans stand in line before a game between the Oakland Raiders and the Dallas...(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Team Stat Comparison
Passing 1st downs
Rushing 1st downs
1st downs from penalties
3rd down efficiency
4th down efficiency
|Yards per play||5.5||5.5|
Yards per pass
Yards per rush
|Red Zone (Made-Att)||2-2||3-5|
|Defensive / Special Teams TDs||1||0|
|TD||14:48||Greg Jenkins 23 Yard Fumble Return (Sebastian Janikowski Kick is Good)||7||0|
|TD||0:47||Demarco Murray 2 Yard Run (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 2 yds, 0:04
|TD||10:16||Rashad Jennings 1 Yard Run (Sebastian Janikowski Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 79 yds, 5:30
|TD||2:00||Rashad Jennings 1 Yard Run (Sebastian Janikowski Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 50 yds, 7:46
|TD||0:14||Demarco Murray 4 Yard Run (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 73 yds, 1:46
|TD||5:31||Dez Bryant 4 Yard Pass From Tony Romo (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 3 plays, -5 yds, 0:46
|TD||14:26||Demarco Murray 7 Yard Run (Dan Bailey Kick is Good)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 65 yds, 5:20
|FG||2:00||Dan Bailey 19 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 14 plays, 79 yds, 6:43
|FG||0:38||Sebastian Janikowski 45 Yard Field Goal is Good|
Drive info: 7 plays, 53 yds, 1:21
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
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
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.
¿ 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.
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
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 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 is the first player this season to have three rushing touchdowns in goal-to-go situations in a game.
Andre Holmes currently has 77 receiving yards. He entered the game with 76 for his career.
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