OAKLAND, Calif. (Oct. 2, 2005) -- Randy Moss burned Dallas early, catching a 79-yard pass on Oakland's second play. After that, his biggest contribution to the Raiders' first victory came in the running game.
But the talented receiver didn't run a long reverse or throw a big downfield block. Instead, his presence kept the Cowboys' safeties away from the line.
Enter LaMont Jordan.
"I will forever look at it as teams saying we can't run the ball," said Jordan, who bounced back from a 19-yard performance last week against Philadelphia. "I encourage defenses to play that way. If you play two-deep defense against us with the way we're capable of running the ball ... we are going to run the ball down your throat. I think today was a true test of that."
A week after gaining only 21 yards as a team, Jordan and the offensive line took it upon themselves to fix the running game. They succeeded from the start; Jordan frequently got tough yards up the middle.
"We were determined to get running yards, especially after being shut down last week," offensive lineman Barry Sims said. "We really wanted to get LaMont going. And you can't go when there's no where to go, so we really wanted to get some lanes opened up for him."
The Cowboys kept it interesting until the final 2 minutes. Trailing 19-13 after Janikowski's 43-yard field goal with 4:29 left, Dallas (2-2) drove inside the 5 with help from a 57-yard pass from Drew Bledsoe to Terry Glenn.
But Tommy Kelly dropped Julius Jones for a 2-yard loss on second down from the 3, and Bledsoe followed with incompletions to Keyshawn Johnson and Glenn. That turned the ball over with 1:45 to go.
Jason Witten was open in the end zone on the last play, but Bledsoe said he had chosen to go toward Glenn's side and didn't see Witten.
"It's a three-step drop. He just has to make a decision to go the other way with the ball," Witten said. "I'm ot doubting his decision. He's got Keyshawn and Terry over there. He's got to make a quick decision and go with it. I was open. That's for sure."
Jordan then ran twice for a first down and Oakland (1-3) ran out the clock, heading into the bye week with a much-needed victory.
Kerry Collins threw to Moss only three times in the opening half, connecting on the long pass on the first drive to set up Janikowski's 30-yard field goal and throwing his direction on back-to-back plays to open the second quarter.
Moss, who had 10 touchdowns in his first five games against Dallas, finished with four receptions for 123 yards and remained unbeaten in six games against the Cowboys.
Collins finished 13-for-23 for 218 yards, extending his streak without an interception to a career-high 149 passes, dating to last season.
"I definitely didn't play my best game today, but I didn't turn it over and I made some smart decisions at times that ultimately helped us win the ballgame," Collins said. "The other guys picked me up today. LaMont and the other guys up front did an excellent job."
Oakland's defense played a big role too, holding Jones to 76 yards on 22 carries and limiting Dallas to 146 yards through three quarters.
"I know they think Julius Jones is the next Emmitt Smith," Oakland safety Stuart Schweigert said. "I played against the guy in college and he's a good running back, but he's not a great running back. We knew we were going to shut down the running. That allowed us to get some sacks and pressure on Bledsoe."
Janikowski, who missed four field goals the first three games, kicked short field goals in the first half and a 49- and 43-yarder in the fourth quarter.
"I didn't change a thing," Janikowski said. "I worked the whole week with the same approach I always do."
Bledsoe hit Patrick Crayton on a 63-yard touchdown pass midway through the fourth quarter to make it 16-13. Bledsoe finished 11-for-26 for 212 yards.
"We feel like we missed out on an opportunity here," Bledsoe said. "We made a lot of mistakes in the ballgame that really hurt us in the end."
The Raiders, the most penalized team in the NFL, committed 13 more infractions, including three in the first 74 seconds of the fourth quarter.
- DeMarcus Ware, a first-round pick in April, had three offsides penalties, including one to wipe out a sack by La'Roi Glover in the fourth quarter.
- Dallas had gone 13 games without allowing a 100-yard rusher.
- Raiders C Jake Grove left the game with a strained right knee.
- Oakland DL Derrick Burgess tied his career high with two sacks.
The Associated Press News Service
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