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Continuing my summer of fun with animated GIFs…
Here is an animation showing Randy White tackling a member of the Los Angeles Rams. Questions appear below the image.
(1) During which season did this game take place?
(2) The Cowboys and Rams had quite a history in playoff games during the 1970s and 1980s. What was significant about this game?
(3) For fans of the L.A. Rams: Who was the quarterback in this animation, and what happened to him after this season?
(4) What did Tony Dorsett accomplish in this game?
The Cowboys took a 17-16 lead over the Oakland Raiders early in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys’ second preseason game on Friday evening. The defense then did its job, forcing a three-and-out after the Raiders returned the ensuing kickoff 51 yards.
However, rookie B.W. Webb could not handle the punt and fumbled, giving the ball back to the Raiders. Oakland’s Eddy Carmona kicked a 23-yard field goal that turned out to be the game-winner, as Oakland beat the Cowboys 19-17.
The fumble was one of several mistakes made by the backups in the second half. Both of the Cowboys’ turnovers happened in the second half, and both let to points. The first mistake was Nick Stevens’ interception on the Cowboys’ opening drive of the second half. The pick led to a Raider field goal.
The loss ruined Tony Romo’s preseason debut. He completed 6 of 8 passes for 88 yards. Kyle Orton was also sharp, completing all 6 of his attempts for 52 yards and a nice touchdown throw to Cole Beasley.
The starting defense looked very good. Sean Lee forced a Matt Flynn fumble on Oakland’s opening drive of the game. However, the Cowboys stalled on the resulting drive, as the team went backwards and had to settle for a field goal.
Romo also directed a good drive late in the first quarter, finding Dez Bryant on gains of 26 and 15 yards. However, the drive stalled, and Oakland blocked Dan Bailey’s field-goal attempt.
The defense had a difficult time stopping the Raiders’ offense when Terrelle Pryor entered the game. The Dallas back-ups did not appear ready to stop the read-option.
On the other hand, rookie J.J. Wilcox was able to end a long Raider drive when he picked off Pryor in the end zone. The Cowboys turned around and drove 80 yards for a touchdown to take a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. Dallas led 10-6 at the half.
The Cowboys travel to Arizona on Saturday, August 17 to face the Cardinals.
The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive starters played until the beginning of the second quarter on Monday night. The team gained nine yards on that possession, which doubled what the offense had gained on its first two possessions in the first quarter.
The rest of the game wasn’t any more impressive, as the Cowboys struggled to move the ball all game long. The teams were tied 0-0 at halftime.
Kyle Orton led the Cowboys on their longest drive of the game, taking the offense from its own 18 to the Oakland 15 before the drive stalled. The key play was a 20-yard completion to rookie tight end Andrew Szczerba. A pass interference penalty on the Raiders also helped.
The defense had some trouble with rookie receiver Rod Streater, but neither he nor the rest of the Oakland offense could pose much of a threat in Dallas territory. The Raiders missed two field goals in the loss, and the Cowboys put the game away when Mana Silva picked off Terrelle Pryor with less than 40 seconds left in the game.
Running back Jamize Olawale from the University of North Texas led the Cowboys in the ground by rushing 12 times for 42 yards. DeMarco Murray and Felix Jones combined for a total of four rushing yards.
Dez Bryant played and caught a 24-yard pass. Andre Holmes caught three passes for 40 yards.
Dallas next plays at San Diego on Saturday night.
The Cowboys seriously lacked firepower during the last two weeks in games
where they scored only seven points in consecutive games. This was nothing a
game against the Raiders couldn’t help.
Consider these performances:
Past two games: 4 att., 14 yards
vs. Oakland: 3 att., 67 yards, including a 66-yard run out of the Razorback
Past two games: 13 att., 55 yards, with a long run of 9 yards.
vs. Oakland: 7 att., 68 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown run.
Past two games: 10 rec., 90 yards
vs. Oakland: 5 rec., 107 yards
Past two games: 8 rec., 67 yards
vs. Oakland: 7 rec., 145 yards, 1 TD
Past two games: 409 passing yards, 2 TD, 74.6 QB rating
vs. Oakland: 309 passing yards, 2 TD, 121.2 QB rating
What has been consistent during the past three games has been the Dallas
defense. The Cowboys gave up only one touchdown against the Raiders and held an
opponent to fewer than 10 points for the third time this season.
During the week that Greg Ellis returned to Dallas, it was his replacement in
the Dallas lineup that had one of the biggest games. Anthony Spencer was a
monster on Thanksgiving, recording two sacks and eight total tackles.
The Cowboys had a few miscues against Oakland, but thanks to the defense,
those miscues became largely irrelevant.
On the second offensive play for the Cowboys, Romo hit Austin on a crossing
route that gained 49 yards to the Oakland 27. However, right tackle Doug Free
committed a penalty, followed by another penalty by Kyle Kosier. The drive
stalled, and the Cowboys were backed up so far they had to punt.
Two drives later, Tashard Choice took a snap out of the Razorback and took
off. He probably should have had a touchdown but was run down after a 66-yard
gain. Next play: Holding on Deon Anderson. Dallas had to settle for a field
In the second quarter, Romo hit Marion Barber in the right flat, and Barber
raced 42 yards up the sideline. Next play: False start on Flozell Adams.
Despite those plays, the Cowboys wrestled control of the game in the second
quarter. Leading 3-0 with 13:09 left in the second quarter, Dallas took the ball
at its own 11. Two passes to Miles Austin moved the ball to the Oakland 46. Austin’s first reception on the drive was big, as it came on a 3rd-and-11 play from the Dallas 10. He stretched at the end of the play to give Dallas a first down. Two plays later, he caught a pass on a crossing route and gained 27 yards. Felix Jones then found a hole up the middle and raced all the way for a touchdown. It was Jones’ first touchdown since the Cowboys’ week 2 loss to the New York Giants.
Late in the first half, Dallas moved the ball into Oakland territory. Romo
hit Austin over the middle, and it appeared that when the defender tackled
Austin that Austin’s knee never hit the ground. A review showed that Austin’s
ankle and lower leg did touch the ground, but the ruling did not end up
mattering. Romo hit Austin two plays later on a screen pass that Austin ran in
to give the Cowboys a 17-0 lead.
Oakland managed to cut the lead to 17-7 in the second half, but the defense
stepped up after the lone Raider touchdown. Meanwhile, the Dallas offense
effectively put the game away when Romo hit Roy Williams on a six-yard touchdown
early in the fourth.
Dallas piled up 494 total yards in offense, marking the team’s best offensive
output in terms of yardage all season. The last time the Cowboys gained more
yards was against St. Louis in 2007, when Dallas gained 502.
With the Giants’ loss to the Broncos on Thursday night, the Cowboys have a
two-game lead over New York. The Eagles can stay within a game of Dallas by
beating Washington on Sunday.
The simulations of the Dallas-Oakland game heavily favor the Cowboys. This is hardly a surprise. However, thanks to consecutive seven-point scoring performances, few think that the Cowboys will cover the 14-point spread. Dallas managed to win by an average margin of 14 points in only one of the three simulations noted below.
AccuScore: Dallas 27, Oakland 13
The Cowboys won 83% of AccuScore’s 10,001 simulations by an average score of 27-13. This was the most optimistic of the three simulations.
The Cowboys offense has struggled and the past 2 weeks and they barely cracked 300 yards last week. If they are held to under 300 yards the Cowboys are still heavy 75 percent favorites against the Raiders because the Cowboys defense is expected to hold the Raiders to just 13 points. If Bruce Gradkowski throws no interceptions and the Raiders trio of RBs can average over 5 yards per carry the Raiders chances improve all the way to 46 percent. If the offense is good and they also hold Dallas to under 300 yards the Raiders are actually a 5 point favorite.
WhatIfSports: Dallas 25, Oakland 15
The Cowboys were less successful in WhatIfSports’ simulations, winning 72.3% of the games by an average score of 25-15. Tony Romo threw for fewer than 200 yards on average in these simulations. The Raiders averaged 300 yards in total offense, with 140 coming on the ground.
Madden Simulation: Dallas 23, Oakland 13
ESPN’s simulation of the game using Madden was similar to the WhatIfSports simulation.
The Cowboys matched their entire scoring output from their last game in their first drive against the Raiders, and they never looked back, winning their Thanksgiving showdown, 23-13.
Tony Romo completed 26 of 41 passes for 289 yards, including one touchdown and one interception. Marion Barber added 94 bruising yards on the ground as the Cowboys get their eighth win of the season.
The Raiders, meanwhile, drop to 3-8, although they look much more competitive on offense now that JaMarcus Russell watches the game from the bench.
My Guess (7-3 this season based on win-loss)
My wild guess last week accurately predicted that the Redskins would only score six points against the Cowboys. I never once thought the Cowboys would only score seven for a second consecutive week. Here was my prediction:
As for this week, I think Dallas will control the clock by using shorter passes and the running game. Romo may have a couple of big plays to Miles Austin to help set up scores, but the real story in this game will be the defense’s role in smothering the Redskins and the offense’s role in grinding out yards and keeping the ball out of Washington’s hands.
For the season, here is the record:
Week 1: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 24 (actual: Dallas 34, Tampa Bay 21)
Week 2: N.Y. Giants 17, Dallas 14 (actual: N.Y. Giants 33, Dallas 31)
Week 3: Dallas 31, Carolina 21 (actual: Dallas 21, Carolina 7)
Week 4: Dallas 24, Denver 14 (actual: Denver 17, Dallas 10)
Week 5: Dallas 31, Kansas City 14 (actual: Dallas 26, Kansas City 20)
Week 7: Atlanta 28, Dallas 17 (actual: Dallas 37, Atlanta 21)
Week 8: Dallas 31, Seattle 17 (actual Dallas 38, Seattle 17)
Week 9: Dallas 23, Philadelphia 17 (actual: Dallas 20, Philadelphia 16)
Week 10: Dallas 31, Green Bay 20 (actual: Green Bay 17, Dallas 7)
Week 11: Dallas 20, Washington 6 (actual: Dallas 7, Washington 6)
Since I am going to the game, I refuse to believe the Cowboys are going to struggle against the Raiders, who have had problems putting together back-to-back wins. Dallas will jump out to a 16-0 lead thanks to three Nick Folk field goals. The Raiders will cut into the lead, but two second half touchdowns will put the game away for Dallas. The result:
Dallas 30, Oakland 13