The Oakland Raiders weren't supposed to be much competition for the Dallas Cowboys, as it turned out - they weren't. The Cowboys cruised to an easy Turkey Day victory by the score of 24-7. By winning, Dallas assured themselves of remaining in first place in the NFC East for another week, setting up a big game next weekend against the New York Giants.
The ‘big play' finally returned to the Cowboys offense after taking a two-game vacation. Miles Austin found himself matched up on the Raiders Chris Johnson for large parts of the game and made the Raiders pay. Austin racked up 145 yards on seven catches with 1 TD. Jason Witten finally had a big day with 107 yards; Roy Williams pitched in with a TD. But it was the big plays that set Dallas apart, Austin, Witten and Marion Barber all had catches of 40+ yards on the day.
The Cowboys also got big-time plays from the running game. Out of the razorback, Tashard Choice ripped off a 66-yard run. Felix Jones had a 46-yard romp that ended in a TD and Marion Barber had a 32-yard run.
With all the firepower being efficiently managed by Tony Romo, the Cowboys were never in serious jeopardy during the game. Romo was back to his old self - hitting receivers in stride so they could pick up valuable yards after the catch instead of spraying the ball high or off-target. When Romo has his timing and rhythm down like he did today, the Cowboys offense can be a juggernaut.
On the other side of the ball, the Dallas defense is becoming a dominant force. Dallas sacked Bruce Gradkowski three times and hit him or put him under pressure on numerous plays. Anthony Spencer continued his recent streak of excellent play with two sacks and stout run defense. Jay Ratliff and DeMarcus Ware spent a fair amount of time in the Raiders backfield.
The Cowboys secondary is providing great coverage, allowing head coach/defensive coordinator to play a lot of man-to-man with press coverage. That makes it difficult for opposing QBs to get the ball out quickly to avoid the Cowboys pass rush. With Keith Brooking finally solidifying the middle, the Dallas defense is proving this year they are part of the solution, not the problem.
All in all, a solid win over an overmatched opponent. The Cowboys took care of their business, meaning they could enjoy their turkey in a victory celebration.
Here's to 8-3, first place in the NFC East, and winning on Thanksgiving.