Week 4 Game Recap: Dallas Cowboys 13, Oakland Raiders 19
What you need to know
Drew Bledsoe and the Dallas Cowboys struggled to find their rhythm offensively throughout the game. Luckily for Bledsoe and the Cowboys, the Dallas defense did just enough to keep them in the game, despite their offensive struggles. Bledsoe finished just 11 of 26 for 212 yards and a touchdown, but did have one interception and was visibly frustrated a number of times on the sideline. His touchdown pass came in the fourth quarter when he hit WR Patrick Crayton for a 63 yard score that cut the Oakland lead to 16-13, but that was as close as the Cowboys would get. Later in the fourth quarter, on what would be the club’s last drive, he hit WR Terry Glenn for a gain of 57 yards. The comeback attempt failed a few plays later, when a pass intended for Glenn near the goal line fell incomplete.
RB Julius Jones worked hard to get things going on the ground, running for 76 yards on 22 carries, for a 3.5 yard per carry average. In an effort to keep Jones fresh, coach Bill Parcells spelled his talented runner with rookie Tyson Thompson, who had 32 yards on seven carries, but struggled in pass protection.
TE Jason Witten was the team’s leading receiver, with five catches for 49 yards, including one grab on which it took about five Raiders’ defenders to take him down. Keyshawn Johnson was targeted nine times, the most of the Dallas receiving core, but finished with only one catch for 16 yards. Johnson did attempt a pass of his own, a wide receiver flea flicker play, that was intended for Julius Jones, but fell incomplete.
Rookie DL Marcus Spears lined up at FB in the fourth quarter, blocking on a Julius Jones run up the middle that led to a minimal gain.
The Cowboys’ defense was led by hard hitting safety Roy Williams, who finished with seven tackles and one assist. After the big play to Moss in the first quarter, the Dallas defense held its own for the rest of the game and did not allow the Raiders to connect on any other big plays.
The Raiders earned their first win of the season by controlling nearly every aspect of the game with steady play on both sides of the ball.
Oakland came out of the gates strong in the first quarter, with their defense forcing a Dallas punt on the first drive of the game. On their ensuing possession, the Raiders fed the ball to RB Lamont Jordan on the first play, which he rushed for a five yard gain. That play seemed to set up the first big play of the game, when QB Kerry Collins hit WR Randy Moss for a 79 yard gain, setting up first and goal. Following two runs up the middle by Jordan, Collins was sacked in the backfield on third down, leading to K Sebastian Janikowski’s first field goal of the game. Janikowski, who has struggled in the Raiders’ first three games, had an excellent game, hitting all four of his field goal attempts in helping Oakland earn their first win of the season. .
QB Kerry Collins had a steady, but unspectacular game. He completed 13 out of 23 for 218 yards, including the big 79 yard pass to Moss, but finished the game with zero touchdowns. On a positive note, he did not commit a turnover in the game and did just what he had to help his team win.
RB Lamont Jordan, who’s had mixed results in his first three games as a Raider, showed why he was a hot off-season commodity, carrying the ball 26 times for 126 yards and a touchdown. He also continued to be involved in the passing game with 4 receptions for 22 yards. Jordan was shown getting treatment on his left wrist during the game, but it did not seem to affect his play on the field.
WR Randy Moss was used primarily as a decoy for most of the game, finishing with 4 catches for 123 yards, but was targeted only 5 times. His big 79 yard reception set up a Raiders’ field goal and all four of his catches resulted in first downs.
Oakland’s defense, which was solid all game, was led by safety Derrick Gibson, who finished with six tackles, two assists and one sack. The whole Raiders’ defensive unit played extremely well, limiting the Cowboys’ running game and putting constant pressure on the Dallas passing attack.
What you ought to know
|QB Drew Bledsoe, Pass: 11 - 26 - 212 - 1 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0|
Bledsoe and the Dallas offense started slowly, punting on their first three possessions, and never really got anything going against the Raider defense. He was only five of 13 for 53 yards and one interception in the first half, and struggled to convert for most of the second half as well. The Cowboys’ defense helped the club stay in the game, and Bledsoe was able to get some drives going in the second half, but it wasn’t enough. He hit WR Patrick Crayton for a 63 yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and on the ensuing drive, in an effort for a comeback win, hit WR Terry Glenn for a 57 yard pass play. Dallas was able to get inside the Oakland five yard line, but their drive ended when Bledsoe failed to connect with Glenn from five yards out.
Romo continued his strong play for the Cowboys, completing 21 of 33 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns through the air, along with 24 yards rushing and a score on the ground. Despite an interception in the first half, and the offense struggling to get going early on, Romo kept his cool and just continued to make plays. On one play in the first half, Romo was in the shotgun, and the snap was centered over his head. Romo juggled the ball after trying to pick it up, and when he got control, was able to turn what should have been a big loss into a short gain that resulted in a first down. He added a 15 yard touchdown run on a scramble play in the first half that put Dallas up 14-7 at halftime. In the third quarter, Romo exploded. He threw three touchdowns, two to WR Patrick Crayton from 59 and 37 yards out, and one to TE Jason Witten from 17 yards out to put the game away. Ahead 35-7, Romo gave way to backup Brad Johnson who finished out the game.
|RB Julius Jones, Rush: 22 - 76 - 0, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (3 targets)|
Julius Jones was never really able to get on track. He did get 22 carries, gaining 76 yards on those carries, and was unable to get into the open field and give the Cowboys the big play they needed to get things going. In an effort to give Jones some rest, he was spelled on occasion by rookie Tyson Thompson. He was targeted three times in the passing game, but finished with only one catch for 12 yards.
Thompson was used primarily to give Jones a rest, but showed some flashes in the running game with 32 yards on 7 carries. He seems to be a Parcells' type role player, but should not be a threat to take carries from Jones.
Barber was a not a factor for the most part. He was used on two short yardage plays, but failed to convert on either one.
Dunbar saw little action against the Chargers behind starter DeMarco Murray. On his lone touch, Dunbar showed patience at the line of scrimmage, gaining seven yards on a toss play late in the second quarter.
Murray saw extended time in this game due to the injuries of Felix Jones. The Cowboys wanted to give Jones a few additional plays off, and worked Murray into the offence at certain points in the game. His longest carry was a seven yard run in the third quarter when he took the ball up the middle, then cut back to avoid the pile.
Randle was the between-the-tackles backup to DeMarco Murray. Lance Dunbar was used in the passing game, but Randle saw interior work. Until the fourth quarter, Randle was limited to short gains. Randle burst through two defenders for a gain of more than 10 yards on his highlight late-game run. Additionally, Randle broke to the outside for 15 yards, which was called back by a holding penalty.
|WR Keyshawn Johnson, Pass: 0 - 1 - 0 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rec: 1 - 16 - 0 (9 targets)|
Johnson was Bledsoe’s favorite target, getting nine looks from the veteran QB, but they were able to connect on only one of those for 16 yards. He was targeted twice on third downs, and had a touchdown reception called back on an illegal motion penalty committed by Johnson himself.
Glenn was shut down for most of the day, but came through late in the game with a 57 yard grab on the team’s last drive. He was the target on the team’s last play, a pass from Bledsoe that fell short near the goal line and killed the Cowboys’ chances of a comeback.
Patrick Crayton was thrown to only two times, but turned one of them into a 63 yard touchdown that cut the Raiders' lead to three.
Cole Beasley was in during garbage time when the Cowboys has pulled most of their starters. Orton hit him on two passes while the defense was just looking to keep everything in front of them. The first pass was a short square in where Beasley was tackled immediately. The second was a play where Kyle Orton was scrambling to avoid the rush and dumped the ball to Beasley near the sidelines. He made the catch and ran out of bounds for a seven yard gain, setting up the TD pass to Witten.
Bryant went from a game time decision to the start of the Dallas offense – at least in the first half. On the opening series, Romo floated a beautiful rainbow pass down the left side of the field where Dez was working one on one. He went up over the defender, made a great catch and came down for the first TD of the game. In the second quarter, again working one on one, Bryant ran down to the end zone, turned around and the ball was right there. He made another tough catch and hung on and he was taken down for his second TD of the game, putting the Cowboys up 14 to nothing at that point. In the second half though, he was shut out, with his only real contribution being a great 34 yard rainbow pass that looked like a catch at first, but Bryant bobbled it as he was pushed out of bounds. The play was reviewed and overturned.
It was an up-and-down game for Harris, who saw additional playing time on offense with Miles Austin out of the lineup. He dropped a third down target on the opening drive of the game, contributing to Dallas’ early-game struggles on offense. On his lone reception, Harris made a nice catch extending away from his body on a comeback route. On special teams, Harris added a 48-yard punt return, setting up the offense in San Diego territory.
Street’s lone target of the game came on a busted coverage by the Saints defensive alignment. Street was uncovered prior to the snap, which Tony Romo recognized, but floated a pass out to Street. The defensive back recovered with the casual pass and tipped the ball away on third-and-long. Street saw just a handful of snaps in four-receiver sets after that target.
With Miles Austin out against San Diego, it was Williams’ chance to make a big impact. Despite catching seven of eight targets and being consistent for a long stretch in the middle of the game, Williams’ mistakes were huge. On his first target, Tony Romo’s pass clanged off Williams’ hands, stalling an early Dallas drive. Late in the game, Dallas was down by nine points but drove the length of field to setup Williams’ biggest play of the game. On a reception over the middle in the red zone, Williams stretches for the end zone after the catch. The ball was knocked out by a defender, which San Diego recovered on the play. The Dallas drive came up empty and effectively ended the game with three minutes to play. The rookie was noticeably upset on the sidelines with a towel over his face following the fumble. It was a career-high game in terms of production for Williams, but his late mistake was crippling for Dallas’ comeback chances.
Jason Witten hauled in all five passes thrown his way, four of which were on third downs. One of his receptions for first down took at least four Oakland defenders to take him down, showing just how strong he is.
Escobar’s sole target, and reception, came on a short crossing route in the opening minutes of the game. James Hanna has seen more snaps than Escobar in three of the four games this season and Escobar remains a wait-and-see dynasty player outside of a Jason Witten injury.
Cortez hit on field goals of 29 and 30 yards, and made good on his only extra point attempt.
Dallas struggled to contain Raider RB Lamont Jordan, who powered his way to 126 yards on the ground, becoming the first running back in fourteen games to reach the century mark against their defense. It shows just how much attention Moss requires, and what an effect it has on his team’s running game.
The Cowboys’ secondary held the Raiders to only one big play, but it could have proved to be the difference in the game. They let Randy Moss split them on the Raiders’ first possession of the game, where Kerry Collins and the WR connected on a 79 yard pass play that set up an Oakland field goal. After that, they did an admirable job on the talented Oakland offense, limiting Moss to only four catches and Jerry Porter to only three.
|QB Kerry Collins, Pass: 13 - 23 - 218 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 2 - -1 - 0|
Collins was steady, and with exception to the big play to Moss, was unspectacular. He threw for only 218 yards, but a lot of credit for that goes to the Dallas defense, which gave Collins few options when he did drop back to pass.
Carr had a really nice start to a game that was ultimately cut short but a lower leg injury. His very first pass was an accurate throw deep down the right sideline that picked up 30 on a diving catch by James Jones. Carr had great rhythm on the opening drive that saw him go 4/5 for 56 yards and a 3 yard touchdown to Brian Leonhardt. On the touchdown, Carr was backpedalling away from pressure and threw a perfect pass where only the crossing Leonhardt could get it for the score. Carr’s second drive was cut short by the Raiders inability to run the ball and it started going downhill after that. The Dolphins turned up the pressure and neither Carr nor the Raiders offensive line responded well. On three consecutive plays, he scrambled for a one yard gain, had a pass batted up in the air, and was sacked. He found a little rhythm in the two minute drill at the end of the half, but the first drive of the second half ended with an interception. Carr and Vincent Brown had a miscommunication, with Carr throwing the ball to one spot and Brown running to the other. Carr injured his ankle and knee on an 8 yard scramble on the next drive. He tried to continue but was pulled one play later and had trouble walking off the field.
McGloin came into a 31-7 game with 4 minutes left in the third quarter. On the second snap after he entered, the center misfired and the ball was recovered by the Dolphins and returned for a touchdown. McGloin bounced back to make a nice throw on a 15 yard post to Andre Holmes, but on the very next play a high throw bounced off of Holmes hands and into the arms of a Dolphins defender. McGloin did lead a 4th quarter touchdown drive with the game already decided. He rolled to his right on 3rd and 10 and made an accurate throw to James Jones, who made three defenders miss to turn it into a 29 yard gain. On the next play McGloin used a pump fake to free up Andre Holmes wide open in the end zone for a 22 yard touchdown. On the next drive McGloin turned back into a pumpkin and underthrew David Ausberry on a deep out for his second interception of the day.
Averaging less than three yards per passing attempt with a completion rate under 40 percent, Walter’s passer rating was just 43.6. The game plan called for a heavy dose of deep passes to Randy Moss, and failing to connect on any early, Walter never got into sync in the passing game. Aaron Brooks was initially reported out for two to four weeks, so it is unclear how long Andrew Walter will remain as the starting quarterback.
|RB LaMont Jordan, Rush: 26 - 126 - 1, Rec: 4 - 22 - 0 (5 targets)|
This was Lamont Jordan’s coming out party as an Oakland Raider. The powerful back showed why the team coveted him so much in the off season, as he muscled his way to 126 yards and a touchdown on the ground, a feat not to be taken lightly against a tough Dallas defense. He also continued to show his versatility, hauling in four passes for 22 yards, and continued to block well in pass protection.
Fargas spelled Jordan on a few plays, but was not a factor.
Crockett was a non factor, as most of his contributions came blocking for Lamont Jordan.
Jones-Drew was not used at all in the first half and had no success once he did get in the game. He was surrounded as soon as he touched the ball and never had a chance to show whether he was fully recovered.
McFadden appeared to be favoring his right foot from the outset of the game. During the second quarter, he was on the bench with his shoe off as Michael Bush got all of the work. McFadden practiced on a limited basis this week, and the team was unsure how much of a workload he’d be able to handle. If this game was any indication, the answer is not much. He had just nine touches for a mere 37 yards, was out of the game on the goal line package, and wasn’t seen or heard from the entire fourth quarter as Michael Bush was the team’s go-to guy.
Olawale saw limited action with Marcel Reece out for a majority of the game. His main function was blocking as Rashad Jennings saw a majority of the targets out of the backfield
With essentially no receiving options outside of Moore, Oakland looked to get the ball to Reece early and often on Sunday. Also receiving eight targets, Reece’s first catch was a perfectly designed screen, going for 31 yards. Reece slipped out into the flat appearing to seal the edge as Palmer looked downfield before finally taking advantage of a nice block from Brandon Myers and loads of open space. Reece was again targeted the next play, a quick four-yard strike. For such an uber-versatile guy, Oakland needs to do a better job getting Reece the ball in more ways than just screen passes, however. After the success of the first screen, Oakland went back two more times to the same play with absolutely no success. With only Hagan and two uninspiring TEs opposite Moore, this was the perfect opportunity to get Reece going down the field, but there just didn’t seem to be much variance/creativity for Reece. Yes Reece was targeted eight times, but all were within five yards of the line of scrimmage and three were the same screen play.
While he only caught four balls, Randy Moss showed just how much influence he has and how much attention he requires from defenses. His big play came on the first drive, where his 79 yard catch set up Oakland’s first score of the game, a Janikowski field goal. That one play, on the first drive of the game, seemed to cause Dallas to give help in the secondary, wherever Moss was. That helped set up Oakland’s running game, which had its best showing of the year by far.
Porter caught three passes for 41 yards but struggled to find room behind the Dallas secondary.
Whitted drew the start as he has for every game this season, however contributed very little in this game.
Brown was the replacement for Denarius Moore in the passing game and had his ups and downs. He ran a couple of good routes on outs, but a miscommunication with Carr led to the first turnover. He also fumbled a WR screen and was fortunate that it bounced to one of his teammates.
Butler caught Flynn's first completion, a quick hitter for six yards out of the slot. Butler was largely forgotten after that early reception and struggled to get open against the Redskins secondary.
With the game well at hand, Criner saw his first action late in the 4th quarter. Criner’s best play was a short hook that he turned into a 16-yard catch and a first down. Hagan started opposite Moore on Sunday, but look for Oakland to find more plays for Criner as he gets healthier and more comfortable in the offense.
Holmes had a couple of nice catches in traffic form Carr but really took off once Matt McGloin took over. His only mistake of the game came on a high post from McGloin that Holmes should have hauled in. Instead it bounced off of his hands for an interception. He did catch a crossing route from McGloin later in the game that was thrown behind him and then beat his man to the sideline for a first down. Holmes TD was a product of a nice pump fake by McGloin and a breakdown in coverage from the Dolphins. The result was Holmes catching a 22 yard touchdown in stride wide open in the end zone.
Jones started the game with an incredible diving one-handed catch for a 30 yard gain down the right sideline. For most of the next three quarters he worked within a couple yards of the line of scrimmage, and then padded his stats in garbage time. Jones’ 29 yard reception in the 4th quarter was a deep hitch that he broke three tackles on to turn into a big play.
Moore had a somewhat disappointing day but saved his fantasy owners with a garbage time TD with a minute to go in the game. He still looked smooth out there but was not able to get open for a deep play this week. He is just a natural receiver that is very graceful and makes everything look easy. As a punt returner, you see his dangerous run-after-the-catch ability, and we should see much more from this promising rookie this season.
Streater was targeted twice, but didn’t register any stats on Sunday. He did have a drop on what would have been a first down in the third quarter. Streater created some buzz during the preseason, but he does appear somewhat overwhelmed at the moment.
Anderson followed up the best game of his career with only two catches for 32 yards, but they both resulted in Oakland first downs.
Williams provides a unique option in this offense, but caught just one pass.
Only targeted twice as well, Ausberry wasn’t much involved in the anemic passing offense either. He did have one target in the red zone but Palmer put too much on the pass and Ausberry couldn’t catch up to it.
Rivera's touchdown was a simple seam route against zone coverage. Flynn made a good throw and the open Rivera hauled it in. His second catch, for 26 yards, was even more impressive. On a post route between two defenders Rivera made a leaping catch over the middle. Rivera did drop one pass wide open in the flats, but he still remains the Raiders best pass-catching option at tight end.
Janikowski came up big for the Raiders, hitting all four of his field goal attempts, from distances of 30, 23 and 49 yards, as well as a 43 yarder that proved to be the difference in the game.
Oakland’s rush defense held Dallas RB Julius Jones in check, allowing him to rush for only 76 yards on 22 carries, and gave up only 3.6 yards per carry total for the game. They gave up only four rushing first downs for the game.
The Raiders were very effective in containing the Cowboys’ passing game. The Dallas wide receivers only had one catch through three quarters and failed to find room in the Oakland secondary until the touchdown pass to Patrick Crayton. The defense struggled to finish plays in the fourth quarter, missing tackles on the Crayton touchdown as well as other Dallas offensive plays, but held their own for the game. They also pressured Cowboy QB Drew Bledsoe frequently for the game, making it difficult for the QB to convert on pass plays.