The Las Vegas Raiders were put in a situation with plenty to lose — but even more to gain.
The Silver and Black came into a hostile environment against a 7-3 Dallas Cowboys team in their traditional nationally televised Thanksgiving game. Not to mention they were coming off their third consecutive loss, with the last one having just come four days prior. To add insult to injury, Darren Waller (knee), Carl Nassib (knee) and Roderic Teamer (disqualification) were all sidelined for a large stretch of the game.
And yet... fighting against the odds, the Raiders once again found a way to deliver.
"Our back was against the wall. There's no doubt about that. That's just a fact; everyone could see that," said Derek Carr after the three-point victory. "And in the way that we fought today and for as long as it took to win ... we had to do that today, and I'm very proud of our team."
The Cowboys were also at a disadvantage going into the game without star receivers Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb. The Raiders defense capitalized on that, making plays to get off the field quickly and giving Carr and his offense ample time to make plays. Las Vegas had nearly 13 more minutes of time of possession with the ball Thursday.
Carr threw for 373 yards and a touchdown with a 101.5 quarterback rating, his first game over 300 passing yards since the Raiders' Week 7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles and his sixth 300+ passing yard game on the season. It's worth nothing the Raiders are also undefeated in games with Carr throwing more than 300 yards.
With Waller's early exit, Carr's main targets were DeSean Jackson and Hunter Renfrow. He connected with each on a pass of 50+ yards with Jackson's 56-yard touchdown grab moving him into a tie with Jerry Rice for the most 50+ yard catches in NFL history.
"It's his third weekend playing with us, and I think the packages you saw come to fruition a little bit today," Interim Head Coach Rich Bisaccia said of Jackson. "The big thing was Derek had a lot of time. I thought he stepped up in there today and made really incredible plays. ... But you can see DeSean hopefully getting more and more comfortable with what we're asking him to do. ... One thing he can still do is run.
"It was fun to watch him. Even he made the comment he was excited to contribute today, and it was good for him, and it was good for us."
To make his performance even more impressive, he's less than a week away from turning 35 years old.
"S**t, I didn't know he was 35," exclaimed Josh Jacobs after the game. "He looks so effortless too! He just be gliding, that's crazy."
"That dude is electric," Jacobs continued. "It's crazy, I had talked to him after the game last week and I had told him, 'Man, we have to find a way to get you the ball,' and just to see him come in and make big play after big play is definitely major."
Meanwhile, Renfrow had career highs in receiving yards (134) and catches (eight) in his first Thanksgiving game.
"It feels like we showed the heart of our team today," said Renfrow. "To fight like we did, for them to go down and score and for us to respond. I really feel good about the character of our team, especially with what we've been through these last couple of weeks. It was huge to get that win and hopefully we can build on that as we go forward."
Thursday was the first time the Raiders had two receivers go for more than 100 yards in a game since December 29, 2019.
"He's a great player for a reason, and it's a lot of fun playing with him," Renfrow said about Jackson. "And he's someone who can change the game, and it's a lot of fun playing with someone like that."
The Raiders now have a long weekend to rest up, eat Thanksgiving leftovers and prepare for another NFC East opponent – the Washington Football Team.
View photos from the Raiders' Week 12 matchup against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium.