The Raiders limped into Dallas for a Thanksgiving Day game against the Cowboys, but after more than 60 minutes of football, Las Vegas’ season is on the mend.
Coach Rich Bisaccia had his team ready on a short week and the Raiders beat the Cowboys in an overtime thriller, 36-33. It was a bounceback performance by quarterback Derek Carr and the offense despite a lower-body injury to star tight end Darren Waller in the first half.
But as always, some players performed better than others for Las Vegas. Still, every single Raider is likely flying high after the season-saving win that put their record at 6-5 in a jam-packed AFC.
Carr’s offense had scuffled badly enough over the last few weeks that a number of fans wanted to see backup QB Marcus Mariota with the starting unit. Carr shut that talk down with a performance reminiscent of some of his early-season efforts.
He finished with 373 yards and a touchdown on 24-39 passing, and he hung in the pocket tough, too — his offensive line allowed three sacks and seven QB hits.
Plus, as a bonus, Mariota helped the Raiders solve their issues in the red zone. He subbed in for Carr in the second half and notched a rushing touchdown to hand Las Vegas a 24-13 lead.
But the Raiders were in a position to take that lead thanks to Carr and his leadership, and those two factors carried Las Vegas all day during this vital win.
The Raiders finally took the plastic wrap off of their new toy on offense, wide receiver DeSean Jackson. He caught a tone-setting 56-yard touchdown to open the game on offense for Las Vegas after the Cowboys started the contest with a 3-and-out.
From the outset, it was clear to Dallas that the Raiders offense was back to its old ways — throwing the ball deep and taking big chunks of yardage. The philosophy opened the game up for WR Hunter Renfrow, too. He caught a 54-yard bomb in the second half and finished with 134 yards on eight receptions.
Furthermore, WR Zay Jones had perhaps his best day as a Raiders wideout, with six receptions for 59 yards. But the threat of Jackson’s speed got it all going. The mid-season acquisition finished with 102 yards on three receptions on the day.
Kicker Daniel Carlson not only converted a 56-yard field goal in the second half, but he also booted the game-winner after multiple presnap penalties could have derailed his concentration.
Punter A.J. Cole also gets a shoutout for his 68-yard punt early in the game. But Carlson was key. He was 5-for-5 kicking field goals on the day and hit all three of his PAT attempts. Everything had to go right in this win, and Carlson came through every time.
Special teams player and safety Rodrick Teamer got a chance to suit up and make a positive impact for the Raiders on a holiday, but instead, he committed a penalty on special teams that got him ejected from the game.
There were offsetting fouls called after the mini-brawl that left one official with a scrape on his chin. Thankfully for the Raiders, Teamer’s bad judgment didn’t cost them much, but it was certainly not the way he wanted to spend his holiday.
Cornerback Brandon Facyson has been skating on thin ice for a couple of weeks now, but he finally earned a spot on the losers’ list.
He missed a tackle on the Cowboys’ first touchdown of the day and also had a pass interference penalty, both in the first half. In fact, most of his miscues were in the first portion of the game, including this whiff that aided a 51-yard Dallas connection.
Kolton Miller/Brandon Parker
The Raiders pass protection was shaky all evening, and the normally stout Kolton Miller even struggled to protect Carr. He got beat soundly multiple times, most glaringly by linebacker Micah Parsons. Also, defensive end Tarell Basham made him look silly on another occasion.
Parker was pushed back into Carr’s lap on a crucial play in the razor-close second half, and amazingly, he was called for a false start before Carlson’s game-winning field goal. Parker got away with that one, but my word, it could have cost Las Vegas the game.
But every player on the Raiders roster can enjoy this one. They broke a three-game losing streak and revived their season. There’s clearly lots of work to do for Bisaccia, Carr, and crew, but now they can rest up and relax after what must have been a week filled with intense pressure — which the Raiders responded to with impressive grit that made for a memorable Thanksgiving game.