<
>

Cowboys beat Raiders, move to December

ARLINGTON -- Now the season starts.

The Cowboys moved to 8-3 overall, and maintained a first place lead in the NFC East with a 24-7 thrashing of the Raiders on Thanksgiving Day at Cowboys Stadium.

Gobble. Gobble.

With November over, the Cowboys enter their month of dread. Since 1999, the Cowboys have played like turkey's. Dallas is below .500 in December and the first game next month is at the Giants for probably the last time at Giants Stadium. That game could knock the Giants out of playoff contention.

Inside linebacker Bradie James said the month of December was like a dark cloud over the organization's head. Now the Cowboys get to face it head on.

First, the Cowboys had to take care of the Raiders and they did so with big plays.

The last big play came in the fourth quarter when quarterback Tony Romo completed a 44-yard reception to tight end Jason Witten, who played with a strained left foot.

Witten's reception setup a six-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Roy E. Williams, who caught just two passes for the day.

But the man of the day was Miles Austin, who picked up his third game with at least 100 receiving yards. Austin finished with seven catches for 145 yards and one touchdown.

But Austin wasn't alone in terms of of making big plays. Tashard Choice, the running back, had a 66 yard run out of the Razorback formation, Felix Jones scored his first touchdown since Week 2, with a 46-yard run. Marion Barber had a 42-yard reception and a fourth quarter 32-yard run.

When the Cowboys headed home for some turkey, they racked up 494 yards in total offense. It was the first time the Cowboys pushed over 400 yards in total offense since oct. 25 when it gained 414 yards vs. Atlanta. That by the way, was a victory.

The defense was pretty good too.

Anthony Spencer picked up his first two sacks of the season,while the man he replaced, Greg Ellis, now the Raiders' defensive end, had no sacks. DeMarcus Ware added to his sack totals of the year, he's got eight, with a strip sack.

There was some good news for the Raiders.

Wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey caught a four-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. It was Heyward-Bey's first career touchdown reception.

Now with the Raiders out of the way, the real season starts: December.