Like the majority of fans who kicked back in their recliner after a hearty lunch, the Cowboys’ defense began Thursday’s Thanksgiving bout with the Raiders looking like they were dozing off into an afternoon nap.
In the second quarter, the Raiders marched out to a 21-7 lead thanks to two straight drives in which Oakland strung together a streak of 7 straight third down conversions, averaging 12 yards per conversion.
But if there’s one thing this Cowboys squad has learned to suppress in a season of to-the-wire finishes, it’s a panic mentality, cornerback Brandon Carr said.
“A slow start doesn’t mean that is the way the game should go,” Carr said. “The second half, we came into the locker room, had a little pep talk. Guys got their minds right, and we went out there in the second half and tried to dominate.”
The halftime message went to heart, as the NFL’s worst defense in yards per game completely reversed the offensive momentum Oakland gained in the second quarter, holding the Raiders 0-for-4 on third downs in the second half and allowing 120 yards in the second half. Of those 120 yards, 53 came on the Raiders final drive of the game after the Cowboys took a 31-21 lead with 1:56 left in the game.
-- Travis Brown