The Dallas Cowboys came to Oakland’s Black Hole to hunt the opportunity to stay alive in the NFC Playoff picture. It was a full 60 minutes of nail-biting that ended when Jeff Heath forced Derek Carr to fumble near the goal line.
The ball popped out of Carr’s hand and rolled into and out of the end zone, resulting in a touchback. The Cowboys received the ball at the 35 yard line after Marshawn Lynch’s un-sportsmen like conduct. Dak only had to take a knee to run out the game clock.
It was the total playoff atmosphere in Oakland as both the Raiders and the Cowboys needed a win to keep their playoff hunts alive.
On the Cowboys first drive, Dak Prescott was intercepted, ending a promising drive. The Cowboys’ defense came in and held Oakland to three plays and a punt.
The second drive for Dallas was just as successful at moving the ball, but stalled, forcing a Dan Bailey 45 yard field goal to make it 3-0 Dallas.
The third drive for the Cowboys found the end zone. Rod Smith pounded the ball across the goal line.
Bailey made it 10-0 after he made the extra point.
Oakland was driving near the end of the second quarter after being denied by the Cowboys’ defense. The drive stalled. It stalled because of the good play from the Dallas defense. The Raiders attempted a field goal as time ran out, only to see if miss left. The Cowboys were in command at half time 10-0.
Oakland came out of the locker room determined not to let this one slide away. The Raiders were on their own playoff hunt. Carr marched his team 90 yards on the opening drive, connecting with Michael Crabtree for a touchdown. 10-7
On the following possession the Raider pass rush hit Dak’s arm causing the ball to flutter and resulting in another interception. Cole Beasley downed the Raiders at the 22 yard line. The Cowboys’ defense was up to the task, holding Oakland to a 39 yard field goal. 10-10
The Cowboys offense went flat on the next drive. On 4th and 11, Chris Jones faked the punt and ran for the first down, giving the Cowboys hunt some badly need inspiration.
Jones showed off his athleticism and his value to this team.
The Raiders secondary had excellent coverage on the receivers; however, Dak was left a wide open lane to run the ball in for a touchdown and in doing so, grabbed the momentum back.
Carr was not to be out-gunned. A tipped pass from DeMarcus Lawrence went the Raiders way falling into the receivers arms and was turned into a 30 yard gain. Oakland regained momentum and once again, Carr connected with Crabtree for their second touchdown. The extra point tied it up at 17-17.
Dak, knowing how important this game is to the 2017 season, unleashed a bomb for Dez Bryant.
Dez made the catch and gave Dallas the ball inside the five yard line.
The Raider defense stiffened and prevented Dallas from getting into the end zone. Dan Bailey made it 20-17 with a 19 yard field goal.
The Cowboys defense was getting prepared to defend the lead with less than two minutes remaining on the game clock.
Carr, once again, took advantage of the soft zone defense the Cowboys began to play. Anthony Brown had a great pass break-up and on the following play dropped the potential game winning interception. The Raiders continued their prowess moving the ball into the red zone.
The Cowboys needed a spark or their playoff hunt and season was going to come to a sudden end.
The much under-appreciated gym-rat, Jeff Heath, was on his horse to save the season. As Carr bootlegged towards the goal line, Heath punched him in the back causing Carr to lose the ball and it rolled out of the end zone for a Cowboys’ touchback.
Jeff Heath was the only defender who could have stopped Carr from scoring and Heath did it in high fashion.
Heath is the hero. He deserves his place on this team.
The Cowboys received the ball at the 35 after Marshawn Lynch’s un-sportsmen like conduct penalty. With just thirty-one seconds left on the game clock, Dak took a knee, keeping Dallas in the hunt while eliminating the Oakland Raiders.
Today, at 10 a.m. Central time, Ezekiel Elliott will emerge at the Star as his suspension has come to an end. With the Seattle coming to AT&T Stadium, this is the recipe we need to win out!