Cowboys Cut Loose on Raiders
ARLINGTON, Texas - The Dallas Cowboys broke out of their scoring slump in a big way on Thanksgiving afternoon.
While some feasted on turkey and stuffing, the Cowboys indulged on big plays in a 24-7 victory against the Oakland Raiders.
The Cowboys (8-3) used nine plays of more than 20 yards to power their offense, which had struggled the last two weeks in totaling 14 points.
The win strengthened Dallas' NFC East lead as it prepares for a three-game stretch against the New York Giants, San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints.
Coach Wade Phillips said the victory boosted the Cowboys' confidence. "We're not there yet," he said. "It doesn't guarantee anything. But it's an indicator that we can do things."
Miles Austin, enjoying a breakout season, was again the spark plug with seven catches for 145 yards and a touchdown.
Austin drew multiple curtain calls from the announced crowd of 83,489 in the second quarter as his smiling face appeared on the stadium's 160-foot-wide video board. Austin, who said he was originally trying to get the attention of his parents, raised his arms repeatedly and played with the crowd celebrating his apparent 22-yard touchdown.
But officials overruled the score on review, saying he was down at the 8-yard line. So two plays later, Romo found Austin for a 9-yard scoring pass. "It was awesome," Austin said.
For the Raiders (3-8), the magic that new starting quarterback Bruce Gradkowski engineered last weekend in an upset of the Cincinnati Bengals failed to make the trip to Dallas.
Gradkowski, who replaced JaMarcus Russell after Week 10, was 18-for-35 for 200 yards and a touchdown.
But the Raiders defense couldn't contain the Cowboys' playmakers.
One bright spot was rookie wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, the seventh overall pick who has caught nine passes, notching his first touchdown reception.
The Cowboys have gone 3-5 in December during Phillips' first two years with Dallas. But the coach said his team would enjoy holiday cheer before turning its attention to the division rival Giants.