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Cowboys vs. Raiders game ball: It was hard to settle on a Dallas player for the award

The Cowboys turned in a frustrating performance that lead to a frustrating game ball.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Dallas Cowboys Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Cowboys turned in another disappointing performance, this time in a 36-33 overtime loss on Thanksgiving to the Las Vegas Raiders. While the Cowboys did score 33 points on the game, 14 came in the fourth quarter and it felt like they left opportunities on the field throughout the game that could have changed the dynamic totally. The defense, unlike last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, fell apart continuously, notably from big plays and costly penalties. Even the special teams had it’s own issues that included a missed extra point and field goal.

All the way around, it was an uneven performance from many of the team’s key players. So while the overall stats of some players argue that they are deserving of the game ball, they had other issues in the game that undercut their performance.

Dak Prescott ended the night with 375 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. Usually that kind of line would argue for the game ball. But there were key plays sprinkled throughout the game where Prescott was off on his passes that contributed to missed opportunities. Perhaps none so prominent as his poor throw to an open Noah Brown on third down to start the overtime that led to the eventual loss. It was that kind of night, Prescott did a lot right, but had some key mistakes.

Michael Gallup had 106 yards, but much of it came late in the game. As the Cowboys lone star receiver left active, it was incumbent upon him to punish the Raiders from the start, but he was pretty silent. Cedrick Wilson had 104 yards, and for the most part was pretty solid, He actually could be a good candidate.

On defense, we could easily give it to Micah Parsons - again. The rookie was excellent, again, notching a very key sack and five QB hits. He was in the backfield on almost every play and was the Cowboys most explosive player on that side of the ball.

Keanu Neal and Jayron Kearse racked up a ton of tackles, but they also had missed tackles that hurt. And they almost combined on a spectacular turnover, but it just wasn’t to be, much like the entire Cowboys game.

We’re going to award the game ball to Tony Pollard. Sure, he wasn’t a knockout in the stats department, but when the Cowboys appeared to be on the ropes and ready to be knocked out, he turned the game around with a 100-yard touchdown return. It was the shot of adrenaline the team needed to claw its way back into the game and set up the overtime finish.

It felt unlikely the Cowboys would come back until that moment of excellence. Pollard also had a huge run called by back a penalty. He did have 68 scrimmage yards on 14 touches, and given how he was playing, he probably could have used a few more touches. It wasn’t an overwhelming performance, but it was a timely one. For his efforts, Pollard gets the game ball.