Raiders' ground game stalls as Cowboys run wild

McGloin: Things weren't clicking in second half

Raiders' ground game stalls as Cowboys run wild
November 28, 2013, 8:45 pm
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While he scored two touchdowns, the Cowboys held Rashad Jennings to just 35 yards on 17 carries on Thursday. (USATSI)

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Raiders should’ve been able to run wild against a porous Dallas Cowboys defense. They should’ve been able to halt a Cowboys rushing attack and make them one-dimensional.

On Thursday, neither panned out.

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The Cowboys’ running game paced a dominant second half, and the Raiders never got going on the ground.

Rashad Jennings came back to earth, totaling 35 yards on 17 carries, although he scored two touchdowns. He had 36 total yards after exceeding 100 in four consecutive games, a span where he was the NFL’s leader in total offense.

Darren McFadden was no help in his first game since November 3. He had five carries for 13 yards in a backup role. Head coach Dennis Allen said McFadden and Jennings would share carries, but latter remained a feature back.

The Cowboys couldn’t be stopped in the second half. Unheralded scat back Lance Dunbar had 12 carries for 82 yards – all in the second half – and DeMarco Murray rebounded from a slow start and finished with 63 yards and three touchdowns.

The contrast in running production was a surprise to the Raiders, who thought they would win the ground game.

“It was, yeah,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “That’s something we’ve done a good job of throughout the year but, after playing 82 defensive plays the week before, our guys are beat up. Our guys are banged up. It wasn’t from lack of effort. It wasn’t from lack of planning.”

The result cause a great rift in production, and allowed the Cowboys to dominate possession in the second half. They had the ball for 20minutes in the second half.

“They were able to possess the ball, so therefore we didn’t have many opportunities to get much going on offense,” Allen said. “When we did, we weren’t able to take advantage of it.”

[RELATED: Poor tackling, execution doom Raiders defense]

The Raiders couldn’t get going, largely abandoned the run in the second half. Jennings and McFadden rushed the ball just five times for 13 yards in the second half.

The Raiders must rebound to stay competitive Dec. 8 against the New York Jets, but it’s uncertain whether they’ll have the personnel to do so. Jennings was concussed after his head was kicked into the turf late in the fourth quarter. He’ll have to pass the NFL’s concussion-related protocol before being cleared to play, although he has 10 days to do so.