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Week 15 Tweetcap: Wild ending as Cowboys win & stay alive in wildcard race

Cowboys got the victory in the most improbable way but that’s the NFL.

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Oakland Raiders Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Black Hole can be a strange place to play and the Cowboys’ hadn’t experienced a regular season game in Oakland since 2005. In most likely the final home game for the Raiders at the Coliseum, most certainly the Cowboys’ final trip there, strange didn’t begin to describe this game.

Dallas starts with the ball because of course they do and Alfred Morris was money, converting down after down:

Doing so well on the ground, Dak Prescott tries to get one to Dez Bryant but as we’ve seen plenty of times, that connection is shaky:

Dak’s pass was a little high but Bryant also quit on his route because it wasn’t necessarily an uncatchable ball.

Once again, Dallas fails on their first drive:

Once again, the Cowboys’ defense was called upon and they were up to the task to bail the offense out. The Raiders were itching to give it away but you’ll settle for the stop.

Cowboys pick right back up where they left off by feeding Morris and he was really having a great start to this game:

However, we know that sometimes the Cowboys’ playcalling is going to turn wacky and it’s exactly what happened:

Thankfully, after a tough outing last week, Dan Bailey was there to deliver for them when they needed him. Still, you just feel like you needed seven, especially as well as the ball was moving on offense. Thank you, Dan Bailey!

On the Raiders next drive, they lost a big contributor and one heck of a lineman who did not return. Credit has to go to that Raiders’ offensive line though because they didn’t surrender a single sack despite the loss of Donald Penn:

The defense received a gift as Michael Crabtree drops a pass that would have been a huge momentum swing for Oakland:

The Cowboys were back on offense and they were rocking and rolling once again with James Hanna stepping up for the second straight week:

Finally, to start the second quarter, the Cowboys get a little help:

On first and goal, Rod Smith got right back in the end zone, he seems comfortable there.

When Dallas was back on defense, Marshawn Lynch wanted to welcome the rookie Chidobe Awuzie to the league. Well, great job by the rookie to make sure to finish Lynch.

Chido wasn’t done because on third down, it’s Awuzie that gets the defense off the field:

Though the Cowboys were absolutely dominating the stat sheet, the Raiders defense was hanging in there. They started giving this offensive line some struggles:

A few plays later the Cowboys punt it back and everyone is scratching their heads as to how they allowed Oakland to stay in this game. On their last drive before the half, the Raiders produce a 12-play drive but get a offensive pass interference that wipes out a touchdown. Then another break for the Cowboys as the 39-yard field goal try is no good. We’re at the half, Cowboys 10 Raiders 0.

As Cowboys fans know all too well, the dreaded third quarter came upon them and like they have done quite often, they allowed the Raiders to pick up chunk yardage in a flash:

The Raiders, who couldn’t do much of anything in the first half, go on a seven minute drive that ends in a touchdown. Yep, hello third quarter:

Well, just like that, the momentum swings and now Dallas must respond:

Once again, the defense saved their butts because four plays later, they only walked away with three points to tie the game at 10 a piece.

As the Cowboys tried to squander away another scoring opportunity, punter Chris Jones takes matters into his own hands on 4th and 11 at the Cowboys 24-yard line:

It was risky for sure but sometimes you have steal a possession back. With Dak’s legs, they were able to take that and the lead 17-10:

Though they got the score they would have to do so without one of their best players:

On the kick, Cordarelle Patterson was about to take one in until Dan Bailey made a saving tackle at the expense of himself:

Just hours after a controversial ending in Pittsburgh, the original starter of the catch/no-catch controversy would not be outdone. Gene Steratore’s ruling of a 28-yard catch by Seth Roberts was challenged by Jason Garrett. It was close but not a great challenge as the play is upheld.

Nine plays later, Derek Carr finds Crabtree for the game tying score and we’re in for a nailbiter in the fourth quarter.

As bad as that was, the Cowboys at least got some good news for the rest of the game:

Dallas followed that up with two drive-killing plays:

They end up finishing three yards short and are forced to punt it back. The Raiders answer with their own three-and-out. This is the part of the game that will live on in NFL history, forever. From this point on, the Cowboys were having prayers answered:

On a third and 10, Dak finds Jason Witten who is well short:

Facing fourth and a little under one yard, the Cowboys gambled and went for it. Dak Prescott sneaks it on fourth down and gets it by a paper-thin margin...literally...paper:

To be fair, Gene Steratore gave an explanation following the game but it won’t go over well in the Bay Area. Methinks Steratore has a flair for the dramatics:

You would think that would have been the ender because following that spot seen around the world, Dez did this to Oakland:

The Raiders defense had one more stop left in them and the Cowboys failed to put the dagger in Oakland:

The Raiders picked up an easy first down and that sinking feeling that you had in the Green Bay game came roaring back. It was only made worse by just a heartbreaking drop on a potential game-ending interception by Anthony Brown:

Well, not just yet but it certainly didn’t help when Jourdan Lewis decided to commit pass interference on fourth and 10, giving the Raiders an easy 55 yards of field position. As Oakland was in the red zone, the Cowboys’ newfound closer, Jeff Heath, saved this game with two heads up plays and brought the Cowboys to 8-6:

Then on the deciding play of the game, Heath returned for an encore performance that put the stake in the heart of the Raiders, ending any chance at an AFC Wildcard bid:

The Cowboys win 20-17 and head back home to Dallas with an early Christmas present as Ezekiel Elliott will be waiting for them. It’s been a tough and long ride but the Cowboys keep their slim chances alive in a thrilling fashion.

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