The NFL celebrated Turkey Day with the Raiders vs Cowboys Thursday afternoon matchup on Thanksgiving. In what became the league’s most watched football game in over 30 years with an estimated average viewership of 38.5 million, the high scoring 36-33 game resulted in an overtime victory by the Las Vegas Raiders.
Daniel Carlson kicked a 29-yard field goal with 4:08 on the clock in overtime after a few false start and neutral zone infraction penalties came about from both sides. Clutch as always, Carlson finished his perfect day kicking 3 for 3 on field goals and 5 for 5 on extra points. As we can see with the three point win differential, every point mattered.
Quarterbacks from both teams set the tone for the game with Derek Carr throwing 373 yards and a touchdown while Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns. Just under the 12 minute mark in the first quarter, Carr found receiver Desean Jackson for a 56 yard touchdown. Jackson looked explosive as always, tip-toeing near the sideline to regain control for his score. Along with Hunter Renfrow, Jackson topped over 100 receiving yards for the day.
Both first-string running backs Josh Jacobs and Ezekiel Elliott were fed a 1-yard touchdown each. Even their backups Kenyan Drake and Tony Pollard, respectively, made some big plays. Pollard wasn’t able to score a rushing touchdown but got his share on special teams where he ran a 100-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.
Prescott treated both of his tight ends Dalton Schultz and Sean McKeon in the end zone while his receivers Michael Gallup and Cedrick Wilson both reached over 100-yards as well. Most of the game was offensive as no interceptions were thrown throughout the afternoon. That said, Cowboys rookie Micah Parsons set his franchise’s rookie record for sacks with 9 for the season. The previous record of 8 was held by Willie Townes (1966) and Harvey Martin (1973).
Record ratings declare that this game had the largest audience for any sporting event since Super Bowl LV. In comparison, the most-watched World Series game drew 14 million viewers and the most-watched game in the NBA Finals recorded 12.5 million viewers. The Raiders vs Cowboys Thanksgiving Day overtime thriller was up 26 percent from last year’s game in the same late afternoon time slot.
The Las Vegas Raiders will face the Washington Football Team at Allegiant Stadium next Sunday, December 5th for Week 13 of the NFL season. The AFC West is fairly tight as all teams are either tied or within a game of each other. After the Los Angeles Chargers loss to the Denver Broncos, both teams are currently sitting 6-5 along with the Raiders. The Kansas City Chiefs still lead the division at 7-4.