Thanksgiving Day left a lot of Dallas Cowboys fans something to be thankful for. A victory, another ten days (at least) of first place standing in the division and possibly a running game to take the pressure off the offense. Of course, the win was not an easy one… they never are for the Boys from Big D, but it was a win, no matter how drama filled. The Oakland Raiders came in and gave Dallas everything it could handle but in the end, talent and a tough running game won the day. The much maligned defense also did what they had to do to assist in making sure that this holiday was not ruined. Now the Cowboys get another mini bye to rest up for the final four games and hopefully get a few key cogs back to make one last push towards the post season.
Here is this week’s “Game Balls and Close Calls” as we hand out our game balls to the top performers from the Thanksgiving Day victory and look back at the key moments that contributed to the victory over the Raiders.
OFFENSIVE GAME BALL
Honorable Mention: Lance Dunbar, Tony Romo
Murray picked up where he left off the last two games. While he still has not eclipsed the 100 yard barrier since Week Three against the Rams, he continues to be an all-purpose threat, gaining 100 yards combined in both rushing and receiving for the second straight game. This game, Murray showed his power in short yardage situations, pounding his way to three touchdowns from the two, four and seven yard lines to give the Cowboys a serious threat around the goal line. I am sure one could denounce these efforts given that the attempts were so close in but anyone who is familiar with the lack of success Dallas has had over the years in these spots would agree this was surely a sight for sore eyes. If the Cowboys can continue to lean on Murray for these tough yards and yield similar results, the offense will have an added dimension that will be vital to its hopes and desires to play deep into the winter.
While Murray provided the tough yards, Dunbar gave Dallas a spark it desperately needed. At times, the team looked like it was going through the motions until Dunbar came in and hit the Raiders with a huge 45 yard rush late in the third quarter to help tie the game. Dunbar finished the game with a game high 82 yards rushing and an impressive 6.8 yards per carry. While Romo was not his typically statistically amazing self, he also wasn’t his normal self either. Romo had to battle a nasty virus all the way up to and during the game. As usual though, he grinded out a gutsy performance and led Dallas by coming up with plays when they were most crucial and not turning the ball over.