With the Dallas Cowboys' 36-33 overtime loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in the 54th edition of the annual Thanksgiving game, three of the team's four defeats this year have now come against that particular division.
And not that a loss should be blamed on the officials, but Shawn Hochuli's crew took center stage in much of this one. They came into the game having called the fourth-most penalties in the NFL while the Cowboys entered the day as the most penalized team in the league. The trends continued as the officials tossed a combined 28 flags for a staggering 276 yards, both teams having reason to complain on some questionable calls.
Cornerback Anthony Brown was on the receiving end of perhaps the game's biggest infractions as he was flagged four times for pass interference, the last of which set the Raiders up for the game-winning field goal.
Still, despite their frustrations, Dak Prescott led his troops on a valiant comeback in the fourth quarter, twice tying the score to send the game into extra time. The quarterback threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns for a 106.3 passer rating. Both Michael Gallup (106) and Cedrick Wilson (104) topped 100 receiving yards with six players catching at least three passes.
In all, the Cowboys totaled 437 yards of offense and were 2 of 3 in the red zone. But the success all came late as missed opportunities early proved to be their downfall.
Each team had three offensive snaps on their first possessions of the game. Unfortunately, Dallas went three-and-out, having to punt after failing to move the chains.
On the other hand, the Raiders needed just three plays to get into the end zone. Quarterback Derek Carr connected with long-time Cowboys nemesis DeSean Jackson on a 56-yard bomb, the receiver sprinting down the left sideline and past the defense to the end zone.
Dallas responded, though, marching the needed 75 yards in nine plays for a score of its own. Prescott had connections of 15 and 17 yards before lofting a 10-yard pass to Sean McKeon, the tight end sneaking inside the left pylon for the first touchdown of his career. The Cowboys would still trail, however, after Greg Zuerlein pulled the extra point just wide left, down 7-6.
After an incredible heads up play from Keanu Neal, who tossed an apparent Raider fumble to teammate Jayron Kearse while falling out of bounds, Dallas appeared to have a turnover in Las Vegas territory. But the officials ruled an incompletion instead, the stellar play going for naught.
And again, Las Vegas' offense got back in the end zone. A pair of pass interference penalties the cornerback Brown during the series was what truly hurt the Cowboys, the second a questionable call that gave the Raiders the ball at the 1-yard line. Josh Jacobs then darted in for the score, upping the visitor's lead to eight.
A chip-shot field goal for the Vegas side dug a deeper hole for the Cowboys. The 22-yarder capped off a 13-play, 74-yard drive that saw the Raiders convert a pair of third downs and complete a 21-yard pass.
The Cowboys tried their own field goal moments later, although their attempt was significantly longer. But while Zuerlein's kick had the distance, he again pulled it slightly left, his 59-yarder clanking off the left upright, no good.
Finally, the Dallas offense managed a big play, as with the clock ticking down in the second quarter, Prescott connected with Wilson down the left sideline for a nice 51-yard gain. A 14-yard pass to Tony Pollard five snaps later put the ball on the Raiders' 1-yard line, Ezekiel Elliott then getting the honors with the final carry across the goal line. A much-needed momentum boost, the Cowboys narrowed the score to 17-13 going into the break.
But Dallas couldn't quite sustain that momentum into the second half, as the Raiders went 75 yards in six plays for yet another touchdown early in the third quarter. Carr found Hunter Renfrow on a pair of passes for a combined 42 yards during the series with backup quarterback Marcus Mariota going off right tackle for the touchdown.
Pollard, though, then ignited the Cowboys and the crowd. He took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards, racing down the left sideline for the first kickoff return touchdown in his career. Although they made the extra point field goal, the Cowboys elected to go for two after a Las Vegas penalty. But Wilson was stopped short of the goal line, the attempt no good.
The down side, of course, was the Dallas defense had to come right back onto the field and the Raiders took advantage. Their next possession produced a nine-play, 48-yard drive that resulted in a 46-yard field goal, the lead back up to eight.
Working in a hurry-up offense, the Cowboys got back in business. Prescott connected twice to Noah Brown for 22 yards before dropping a perfect pass into the arms of Gallup down the left sideline for a 41-yard completion. Dallas looked like it had a touchdown when Dalton Schultz eventually hauled in a pass in the end zone, but a holding penalty negated the points. The Cowboys instead settled for a 29-yard field goal.
But at this point, Dallas was really needing touchdowns, especially when Las Vegas came right back and matched those three with three of its own. Renfrow got behind the defense for another chunk play, this time a 54-yard reception, which led to a 30-yard field goal.
The needed touchdown for the Cowboys finally came late in the quarter, thanks to some pinpoint passing from Prescott. He laid one in perfectly to Gallup for 32 yards and then two snaps later, threw another 32-yarder down the middle to Schultz, who made the over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone. Prescott then went back to Schultz for a successful two-point conversion to tie the game at 30 apiece.
Las Vegas came back and worked its way into field goal range, Daniel Carlson splitting the uprights on a 56-yarder. But there was still 1:52 left on the clock for the Cowboys, which with two timeouts, was plenty of time.
Prescott connected with four different receivers during the drive, completing six passes total for 48 yards down to the Raiders' 27-yard line. Which brought out Zuerlein for a 45-yard field goal attempt. And while the Cowboys kicker had been shaky earlier in the day, he was perfect on this one, sending the game into overtime, 33-33.
The Cowboys won the coin toss and took the ball, but Pollard managed to only reach his own 13-yard line on the return and a Dallas penalty put the team back at its own 7-yard line. Unable to move the chains, the Cowboys were forced to punt.
Las Vegas had to start at its own 22-yard line due to a penalty as well, but pushed its way out to near midfield. That's when the Cowboys appeared to have them in trouble when the Raiders faced a third-and-18 at its own 43-yard line.
But Carr went for broke, throwing deep down the right seam to Zay Jones. While the wideout didn't make the catch, Anthony Brown was called for his third pass interference penalty of the game, giving the Raiders the ball at the Cowboys' 24-yard line.
A string of penalties before the field goal eventually made it a 29-yard try and Carlson was good, giving the Raiders the victory and handing the Cowboys their third loss in their last four games.