IRVING, Texas -- Bill Parcells knows better than to get too giddy over anything that happens in the preseason.
But he also recognizes that beating the Oakland Raiders 52-13 Thursday night can have residual benefits for the Dallas Cowboys -- especially considering they set a franchise-record for preseason points, scored on all five drives led by newly named starting quarterback Quincy Carter and got touchdowns from the defense and special teams.
"It means something to me because I think it gives the players something to build on, something to think about," Parcells said. "You can only get confidence if you demonstrate an ability to do something. We did that tonight."
The Cowboys (2-2) scored 31 points in the first half, then added three more touchdowns -- including a 96-yard kickoff return by Reggie Swinton -- to break the team record for points in a preseason game was set by the 1971 club that went on to win the team's first Super Bowl title.
This wasn't exactly the Oakland team that played in the Super Bowl last January.
Quarterback Rich Gannon and his top receivers played only five snaps. Gannon was 0-for-3, with his first pass bouncing off Jerry Rice's shoulder and being returned 24 yards for a touchdown by cornerback Mario Edwards.
Backup Marques Tuiasosopo was 22-of-28 for 198 yards and ran four times for 52, but cost at least three points when he was tackled at the 3-yard line in the final 10 seconds of the first half with no timeouts left.
Carter was 11-of-16 for 239 yards, leading Dallas to four touchdowns and a field goal. His best plays were a scrambling 69-yard touchdown pass to Joey Galloway and a 49-yarder to Terry Glenn off play action, both against Oakland's first-stringers.
Carter, promoted Saturday over incumbent Chad Hutchinson, pleased Parcells with good decisions, good mobility and by not turning the ball over for a third straight game.
The usually tough-to-please Parcells took him out one series into the second half. Parcells had said Carter would go deep into the second half because he needed all the work he could get.
"The more time I get in this offense, the better I get as far as being confident," said Carter, who will start his third straight opener in a third different system. "When you've got so many guys around you making plays, it makes the job easier."
The lopsided loss capped a disappointing preseason for the reigning AFC champs. How disappointing? Well, with two touchdowns, the Raiders (1-3) actually had their most points yet. The top-rated offense from last season came in with just two touchdowns and two field goals.
"We can get better," coach Bill Callahan said. "We've got nine days to get ready for Tennessee. We're excited about that. We've got a lot of work to do and a lot of improvement."
Oakland's points came from rookie Justin Fargas on a 3-yard run, and an 11-yarder by Madre Hill.
"There were some bright spots," Callahan said.
A bright spot for Parcells was the offensive balance: 248 passing yards and 204 rushing. Rookie Eric Bickerstaff ran for team-highs with 69 yards and 13 carries and had the 1-yard touchdown run that topped the club preseason scoring mark of 45.
Troy Hambrick, looking to solidify his starting status at running back, had two touchdowns and 60 yards on 12 carries, his most of the preseason. Fullback Richie Anderson caught an 18-yard touchdown pass and went 15 yards on a screen, a play Dallas rarely used pre-Parcells.
Rookie quarterback Tony Romo played the last quarter and a half and was 1-for-3 for nine yards. Hutchinson didn't play for the second time this preseason.
Oakland linebacker Bill Romanowski, did play after being suspended a day and fined by the team for breaking the eye socket of backup tight end Marcus Williams during a fight in practice Sunday. Romanowski later apologized, calling the fight a "classless move." Williams went on injured reserve.
Punter Shane Lechler was held out because of a strained groin. Other special-teams concerns for the Raiders: four holding calls on kickoff returns, including the first three; an extra-point attempt was botched by a low snap and rookie Doug Gabriel fumbled a kickoff, although he recovered it.
The Associated Press News Service
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