The Las Vegas Raiders scored their first victory in over a month, as they downed the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving, 36-33 in overtime. This was the sixth overtime game all-time on Thanksgiving, and the third for the Cowboys. They are now 0-3 in Thanksgiving games that went to extra time.
The Cowboys have recorded four double-digit comebacks on Thanksgiving, with the last coincidentally coming against the Raiders in 2013. While they came close to pulling out another one on Thursday night, the Dallas defense just couldn't come up with enough stops. Dak Prescott got the ball to start overtime, but he went three-and-out after a pretty bad misfire intended for Noah Brown on third-and-4. With the Cowboys punting and the Raiders just needing a field goal to win, it started to feel like this one was over.
Anthony Brown was called for pass interference on third-and-18 -- a penalty which got the Raiders all the way down to the Cowboys' 24-yard line. A few plays later, Daniel Carlson knocked in a 29-yard game-winning field goal.
So, what went down in Texas on Thanksgiving? Let's take a deeper look.
Why the Raiders won
Credit to the Raiders defense for their overtime stop, but the Las Vegas offense stood out the most on Thanksgiving. Derek Carr played great ball, as he completed 24 of 39 passes for 373 yards and one touchdown. He didn't turn the ball over, took sacks when appropriate and moved the chains even after star tight end Darren Waller hurt his knee in the second quarter and did not return. Carr put his trust in his receivers to make plays, and it worked out more often than not. Hunter Renfrow caught eight passes for 134 yards, and DeSean Jackson caught three passes for 102 yards -- including a 56-yard touchdown to start things off in the first quarter. Zay Jones had a couple of big plays as well, as he caught five passes for 59 yards on seven targets.
Now, was there a facet of the Raiders' game plan that felt like they were gunning for pass interference calls? Yes, but it worked with how this Cowboys secondary was playing.
Why the Cowboys lost
The Cowboys defense just couldn't get enough stops. You aren't going to win many games if you allow 33 points in four quarters. In all, the Cowboys recorded 14 penalties, and it felt as though the majority were dedicated to defensive pass interference. In fact, cornerback Anthony Brown recorded four penalties just by himself! If the Cowboys weren't committing PI (although some were questionable calls), they were trailing Raiders wideouts in coverage or allowing them to make a move to pick up yards after the catch. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, a flag also happened to be the turning point in this game.
After the Cowboys had to punt in overtime, the defense had a chance to record a stop to give the ball back to Prescott and Co. Facing a third-and-18, Carr attempted to hook up with Jones deep down the right side of the field. Brown didn't get his head around, and was flagged for PI.
The penalty cost Dallas 33 yards, and placed the Raiders in position to kick the game-winning field goal.
"28 penalties, I don't know what the hell you want me to say." That's what Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy told reporters after the game, per NFL Media's Jane Slater.
It wasn't just the Cowboys who were drawing yellow laundry all night, as the Raiders were flagged 14 times as well! The Cowboys racked up 166 penalty yards while the Raiders had 110. The Cowboys had 60 penalty yards in the first quarter, which is their most in a first quarter since 2002 in Week 1 against the Houston Texans, per ESPN.
Play of the game
After Marcus Mariota punched in a three-yard touchdown score, Dallas again found itself down by double digits. That didn't last long, however, as Tony Pollard returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for the Cowboys' third touchdown of the game. Come for the play, stay for the official tripping on the pylon. Thankfully, he appeared to be OK.
Two ejected in second half
After the Raiders went three-and-out on the first possession of the second half, AJ Cole came on to punt. While the boot went out of bounds, the play was not over.
Cowboys rookie cornerback Kelvin Joseph and Raiders safety Roderic Teamer continued shoving each other out of bounds, and it drew the attention of everyone. In the midst of fisticuffs, one of the officials, Tom Hill, was bloodied on the chin. Joseph and Teamer were immediately ejected.
The Raiders return to Vegas next weekend to host the Washington Football Team. The Cowboys on the other hand don't get the benefit of a longer week, as they take on the Saints in New Orleans next week on "Thursday Night Football."