Man, the Oakland Raiders were close; really, *really *close.
But alas, because of a, shall we say, polarizing fourth down measurement, along with a fumble in the final minutes of the game, the Silver and Black eventually fell to the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 Sunday night at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
The Week 15 loss was certainly not because of lack of heart, but all the same, the Raiders now find themselves two games under .500 with two games left on the regular season schedule.
Before the Silver and Black squared off against the Cowboys, we took a look at three matchups that would determine the end result of the primetime clash; let's see how those matchups, presented by DirecTV, played out.
Quarterback Derek Carr vs. Quarterback Dak Prescott
We knew that Sunday night's game would likely come do the play of the respective quarterbacks, and in many ways, it did.
If you take a look at Carr and Prescott's evenings, statistically anyway, it appears as though D.C. bested the Cowboys signal-caller.
Not only did Carr throw two touchdowns – compared to none for Prescott – but he was also judicious with the ball, not throwing an interception, while his counterpart on the other sideline threw two to Sean Smith.
Also, after falling behind 10-0 early in Sunday night's affair, Carr got his team in position to win on the final drive, and while that drive eventually ended without points for the Silver and Black, after the start the team had, Carr deserves credit for getting the Raiders back in contention.
At the end of the day though, it's all about the final result, so in this matchup, you have to give the edge to Prescott, who flew back to Texas with a much-needed win.
Right Tackle Marshall Newhouse vs. Defensive End Demarcus Lawrence
We must give credit to not only Marshall Newhouse, but the entire Raiders offensive line for their overall performance Sunday night, but more specifically, for the way they limited Demarcus Lawrence.
After starting left tackle Donald Penn left Sunday night's game in the early stages due to injury, Newhouse shifted to the left side, while second-year lineman Vadal Alexander entered on the right side.
Alexander went the rest of the way, and while things certainly weren't perfect, the big fellas up front didn't surrender a sack all evening, and with just 21 sacks allowed on the year, they're tied for fourth fewest in the NFL.
"Vadal battled," said Head Coach Jack Del Rio. "There were some times where he needed some help – we gave him some help. There were some times where we didn't and Derek [Carr] got rid of the ball quick. He battled. I think that the group as a whole battled. We ran the ball fairly effectively most of the night. We didn't get sacked, so I think you have to be pleased with losing your starting tackle and being able to go the remainder of the game and remain productive the way we were."
Defensively, Lawrence was a bit of a nonfactor, totaling just two tackles on the evening.
**Wide Receiver Michael Crabtree vs. Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie
While Awuzie was certainly active in his return to the Bay Area, this battle has to go to "King Crab."
While Crabtree hauled in just seven catches for 39 total yards, the veteran wide receiver scored not one, but two touchdowns Sunday night at the OACC.
With his two trips to the end zone, Crabtree now leads the Raiders with eight receiving touchdowns, and ranks second on the squad with 601 receiving yards.
The Dallas Cowboys eventually bested the Raiders, but the play of Crabtree was not the reason why; far from it, in fact.