It took 17 points in the second half and some soul searching defensively, but the Dallas Cowboys were able to come back and beat the Oakland Raiders 31-24 on Thanksgiving.
Dallas quarterback Tony Romo had a quiet game with just 225 passing yards and a touchdown, but he was boosted by a dominant rushing attack from DeMarco Murray and Lance Dunbar.
Oakland was once again competitive with undrafted rookie Matt McGloin under center, but the Raiders defense failed to keep the Cowboys offense in check.
One team is clearly headed to the postseason while the other has eyes on the draft. With that in mind, here's a look at the biggest takeaways from the Thanksgiving bout.
Oakland Can Compete With Matt McGloin
It is difficult to discern what the brass in Oakland is thinking with a likely top pick on the horizon.
The popular notion is a quarterback. After all, this is the NFL, where no position is of more importance, and a gamble on that is better than solidifying another position.
Maybe. Oakland is in a semi-unique spot here with a quarterback in McGloin who may be the answer if given an ample amount of time. The Penn State product was solid against Dallas with an 18-of-30 day for 255 yards and an interception.
That makes for three solid performances from McGloin in a row provided the lack of talent around him. He is surely doing enough to dissuade the Raiders from drafting a quarterback. The question is whether or not they will be wise enough to take their finger off the trigger.
Cowboys Have Something Special With Tandem At Running Back
The holiday marked a revelation of sorts for the Dallas offense—there is a special one-two punch at running back should the coaching staff elect to utilize it.
Dunbar and Murray complement each other well on the field. This notion is backed up by Dunbar's 82 yards on 12 carries next to Murray's 17 carries for 63 yards and three touchdowns.
The performance helped Murray win the Phil Simms All-Iron Award:
The 144 total rushing yards for Dallas helped the Cowboys to control the ball for over 32 minutes in the victory against Oakland.
Even better, a timeshare between the two will help to mitigate the injury risk for both players.
In a league that has clearly transitioned to a committee approach at running back, it seems the Cowboys are finally figuring it out.
Dallas More Than Capable of Winning NFC East
The Cowboys now sit at the top of the NFC East with a 7-5 mark (Philadelphia can keep pace with a win Sunday).
That's now two wins in a row for Dallas. Better yet, a humiliating loss to New Orleans in Week 10 in which the defense gave up over 600 yards of total offense and an NFL-record 40 first downs seems like an eternity ago.
Will the Cowboys win the NFC East?
The Cowboys have winnable games the rest of the way. Chicago and Green Bay have quarterback questions when it comes to health, Washington is one of the NFL's worst and they have already defeated Philadelphia once this season.
A decent defensive performance against Oakland is nothing to write home about, but the discovery of a solid running game when the pass offense fails may put the Cowboys over the top.
All things considered, Dallas plays in a mediocre division and may be clicking at the right time with momentum beginning to snowball on a two-game win streak.
The NFC East is wide open, but Dallas has the talent to slam the door shut in the next few weeks.