The Raiders limped into Dallas for a Thanksgiving Day game against the Cowboys, but after more than 60 minutes of football, Las Vegas’ season is on the mend.
Coach Rich Bisaccia had his team ready on a short week and the Raiders beat the Cowboys in an overtime thriller, 36-33. It was a bounceback performance by quarterback Derek Carr and the offense despite a lower-body injury to star tight end Darren Waller in the first half.
But as always, some players performed better than others for Las Vegas. Still, every single Raider is likely flying high after the season-saving win that put their record at 6-5 in a jam-packed AFC.
Carr’s offense had scuffled badly enough over the last few weeks that a number of fans wanted to see backup QB Marcus Mariota with the starting unit. Carr shut that talk down with a performance reminiscent of some of his early-season efforts.
He finished with 373 yards and a touchdown on 24-39 passing, and he hung in the pocket tough, too — his offensive line allowed three sacks and seven QB hits.
Plus, as a bonus, Mariota helped the Raiders solve their issues in the red zone. He subbed in for Carr in the second half and notched a rushing touchdown to hand Las Vegas a 24-13 lead.
But the Raiders were in a position to take that lead thanks to Carr and his leadership, and those two factors carried Las Vegas all day during this vital win.
The Raiders finally took the plastic wrap off of their new toy on offense, wide receiver DeSean Jackson. He caught a tone-setting 56-yard touchdown to open the game on offense for Las Vegas after the Cowboys started the contest with a 3-and-out.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) November 25, 2021
From the outset, it was clear to Dallas that the Raiders offense was back to its old ways — throwing the ball deep and taking big chunks of yardage. The philosophy opened the game up for WR Hunter Renfrow, too. He caught a 54-yard bomb in the second half and finished with 134 yards on eight receptions.
Furthermore, WR Zay Jones had perhaps his best day as a Raiders wideout, with six receptions for 59 yards. But the threat of Jackson’s speed got it all going. The mid-season acquisition finished with 102 yards on three receptions on the day.
Kicker Daniel Carlson not only converted a 56-yard field goal in the second half, but he also booted the game-winner after multiple presnap penalties could have derailed his concentration.
@DanielCarlson38‘s game-winner is the perfect dessert.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) November 26, 2021
Punter A.J. Cole also gets a shoutout for his 68-yard punt early in the game. But Carlson was key. He was 5-for-5 kicking field goals on the day and hit all three of his PAT attempts. Everything had to go right in this win, and Carlson came through every time.