Raiders vs. Cowboys: Live Game Grades and Analysis for Oakland

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistNovember 28, 2013

Despite jumping out to an early 21-7 lead, the Oakland Raiders couldn't hold on to beat the Dallas Cowboys in this Thanksgiving Day battle.

Final Score: Oakland 24, Dallas 31

Oakland Raiders Game Grades
Position UnitFirst-Half GradeFinal Grade
Pass OffenseAB-
Run OffenseC+C+
Pass DefenseB-C
Run DefenseA-D
Special TeamsA-B
vs. Cowboys Week 13


Game Analysis for the Oakland Raiders

Pass Offense: Rookie quarterback Matt McGloin was extremely effective in the first half, especially when throwing deep downfield.

While he had a few big plays after halftime, McGloin was not nearly as efficient and made a critical mistake by throwing an end-zone interception with the Raiders in prime position to tie the game.

McGloin finished the game 18-of-30 for 255 yards, no touchdowns and an interception.

Run Offense: Oakland had a difficult time picking up yards on the ground in this contest.

While Rashad Jennings and Darren McFadden ran hard with the football, they rarely had the benefit of open running lanes from the line. The duo finished the game with just 48 yards on 22 carries, though Jennings did score twice.

Pass Defense: The Raiders defense did a nice job of limiting Dallas quarterback Tony Romo for most of the first half. However, Romo engineered touchdown drives on each side of halftime to bring the Cowboys back from a 14-point deficit.

Romo rarely wavered after Dallas tied things up. He completed all 12 pass attempts in the second half and finished the game 23-of-32 for 225 yards and a touchdown.

Run Defense: The Raiders shut down the Dallas rushing attack in the first half. They were gashed by it in the second.

As a team, Dallas had just 12 yards rushing by halftime. By game’s end, running backs DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar had combined for 145 yards and three scores.

Special Teams: A forced fumble and touchdown on the opening kickoff allowed the Raiders to jump out to a very early lead.

Aside from the opening play, it was a solid, if unspectacular afternoon for the Oakland special teams unit. Marquette King averaged a solid 44 yards per punt while Sebastian Janikowski nailed his only field-goal attempt.

Oakland failed on an onside kick attempt with just over 30 seconds remaining in the game.

Coaching: Oakland was dominant for the majority of the first half. The deep passing attack was clicking and the defense prevented Dallas from making big plays.

However, the coaching staff never found an answer to Dallas’ halftime adjustments and the entire script was reversed in the second half.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver’s unit fell apart after halftime. However, much of the blame must be placed on offensive coordinator Greg Olson, who couldn’t keep his unit on the field.

First-Half Analysis for the Oakland Raiders

Pass Offense: Quarterback Matt McGloin continues to demonstrate that he has what it takes to succeed in the NFL. In the first half of this game, he did it by firing accurate passes deep downfield to his receivers.

While the Dallas pass defense (ranked 31st, allowing 298.5 yards per game) isn’t particularly impressive, McGloin’s performance has been.  

McGloin finished the half 11-of-15 for 146 yards and an impressive 13.3 yards-per-completion average.

Run Offense: The Raiders did not gain a ton of yards on the ground in the first half, though things did seem to come alive toward the end of the second quarter.

Rashad Jennings led Oakland with a mere 30 yards on 14 carries, though he did finish the half with two touchdowns.

Pass Defense: Dallas quarterback Tony Romo was pressured, hit and confused throughout the first two quarters.

With little time to find heavily contested targets, he was made to look like a very average quarterback, save for the final drive before halftime.

Romo finished the half 11-of-20 for 124 yards, many of which came on Dallas’ last possession.

Run Defense: Oakland’s stout, aggressive defensive front made the Cowboys rushing attack virtually a non-factor in the first half.

While Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray did score twice in the first half, he was held to just 12 yards on seven carries.

Special Teams: The special teams unit got Oakland off to a fast start with a forced fumble and a touchdown by Greg Jenkins on the game’s opening kickoff.

Aside from the opening play, the unit was mostly average.  Jenkins averaged nine yards per punt return, while punter Marquette King averaged 42 yards per attempt.

Coaching: Oakland attacked Dallas offensively in the first half with traditional power running and vertical passing plays. The passing portion of the equation was mostly efficient.

Defensive coordinator Jason Tarver’s unit brought a solid mix of tight coverage and aggressive pressure which forced Romo into numerous uncomfortable situations.

The biggest mistake to this point appears to be the decision to switch to softer coverage just before halftime.




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