Dallas Cowboys edge Oakland Raiders 20-17 with help of a note card, touchback

OAKLAND — Quarterback Derek Carr fumbled the ball out of the end zone for a touchback as the Oakland Raiders fell 20-17 to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

Carr, who completed 21-of-38 for 171 yards and two touchdowns, scrambled to the right sideline with 31 seconds in the game and outstretched his arm with the ball to cross the pylon. Safety Jeff Heath dashed over to Carr and influenced him to lose his grip as the ball rolled out of the end zone for a touchback. The Cowboys regained possession and took one kneel-down to preserve victory and keep their playoff hopes alive.

Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott threw two interceptions and finished with 18-of-27 for 212 yards. The second-year signal caller also rushed six times for 32 yards and a touchdown.

The Cowboys’ final drive of the game came down to a third-and-10 from the Dallas 30-yard line. Tight end Jason Witten ostensibly caught a 10-yard pass for a first down, but a successful challenge from the Oakland sideline overturned the yards gained. Quarterback Dak Prescott sneaked on a fourth-and-1 to gain exactly the distance needed. Referee Gene Steratore had to use his note card to measure the distance between the stick and the ball due to how close the margins were.

The Cowboys ultimately settled for a 19-yard Dan Bailey field goal to take a 20-17 lead with 1:47 to play after two straight Alfred Morris runs for no gain from the 1-yard line.

Dallas mounted a 75-yard drive to take a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter that wrested back the momentum. The 11-play drive appeared doomed to a three-and-out, their second of the third quarter, at the Dallas 24-yard line. However, punter Chris Jones galloped on a fake punt on fourth-and-11 for 24 yards.

The Cowboys followed up the gamble with a flea-flicker that fell incomplete, but seven plays later Prescott found the end zone on a 5-yard keeper. Receiver Dez Bryant advanced the drive with a 19-yard catch-and-run on a first-and-20 from the Oakland 44-yard line following an offensive holding call.

The Raiders responded with a 10-play, 53-yard drive that ended with receiver Michael Crabtree catching a 2-yard touchdown on third-and-goal to tie the game. Receiver Seth Roberts caught a 28-yard pass on a third-and-9 from the Oakland 48-yard line to extend the drive.

The game started inauspiciously for Dallas when Prescott threw an interception to cornerback Sean Smith to end the drive. The Cowboys limited the Raiders to a three-and-out with the extra possession.

Dallas drove 41 yards in nine plays the next drive to give kicker Dan Bailey a chance at a 45-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with a little over five minutes in the first quarter.

Cowboys running back Rod Smith extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown to four as he rushed for a score from a yard out. The touchdown gave Dallas a 10-0 lead with 14:07 in the second quarter as the former Ohio State Buckeye finished with seven carries for 13 yards in the final game without college teammate, Ezekiel Elliott.

Oakland had a chance for points to trim Dallas’ 10-0 lead before halftime, but Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 39-yard field goal with three seconds in the first half as the attempt sailed just left of the upright no good.

Smith also intercepted Prescott again on Dallas’ first possession of the third quarter that led to a 39-yard Tavecchio field goal and a 10-10 tie with 6:18 in the period.

The Cowboys stay alive with an 8-6 record as the Raiders fall to 6-8 on the season. Both teams are mathematically alive in their respective conferences’ wildcard race, but need considerable help.


Scoring summary

Dallas     – 3 7 7 –

Oakland – 0 0 10 7 –

First quarter

DAL — Bailey 45 kick, 5:01

Second quarter

DAL — R. Smith 1 run (Bailey kick), 14:07

Third quarter

OAK — Crabtree 2 pass from Carr (Tavecchio kick), 8:08

DAL — Prescott 5 run (Bailey kick), 0:53

Fourth quarter

OAK — Crabtree 2 pass from Carr (Tavecchio kick), 10:40

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