Kiffin's defense steals early turnovers as Cowboys battle Raiders

Kiffin's defense steals early turnovers as Cowboys battle Raiders

Credit: Getty Images

Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett encourages his team before a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on August 9, 2013 at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

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by JOE TRAHAN

Bio | Email | Follow: @joetrahan

WFAA

Posted on August 9, 2013 at 11:18 PM

Updated Saturday, Aug 10 at 8:29 AM

OAKLAND ––  Monte Kiffin's defense played the role of headliner Friday night, securing a pair of big turnovers in the first half of their preseason game against the Raiders. Meanwhile, the Cowboys offense sputtered and eventually got in gear thanks to a couple of guys with local school ties.

In the end, Oakland edged Dallas 19-17 on its home field.

"I thought the starters on each of the units did a pretty good job with some positive things on defense with taking the ball away on the first drive and then making some stops down in the redzone were big for us," said head coach Jason Garrett.

Oakland's Matt Flynn dropped back to pass on the fourth play of the Raiders first drive. Sean Lee brought pressure up the middle.  A turnover resulted with Jason Hatcher recovering the fumble to set up thte Cowboys deep in Raider territory.

"It felt great. For me, it has been a long time since I played, last October, to get back out there and hit someone else. It was a lot of fun," said Lee.

The Cowboys couldn't cash in big, though. Jason Witten was flagged for holding on the first play of the drive, and then Tony Romo and company couldn't overcome the poor start and were forced to settle for a field goal.

On Romo's second and final drive of the night, he fed the ball to Dez Bryant who briefly took over the game with three catches on the drive for 55 yards.  The Cowboys couldn't cash in on the red zone again, though and this time Dan Bailey's field goal attempt was blocked.

"It was good," said Romo.  "We had couple penalties that put us in a hole that cost us some points, I think. That is something that we are going to correct real fast. You just can't overcome that stuff in the redzone. Other than that, I thought the guys did a really good job and it's been going just how it was in training camp. It's been good."

"To be honest man, I am so excited," said Bryant.  "Not only me, but the rest of this team. When we came to the sideline and Coach told us we were done –– me, Witten and Miles –– we were just talking about how good we felt and couldn't wait to get back out there."

Cowboys receiver Cole Beasley left Friday's game with an injured foot after scoring the game's first touchdown.

The former Little Elm and SMU wideout left the playing field to get X-rays on his foot after making a 23 yard reception with seven minutes left in the third quarter. 

Beasley scored the game's first touchdown on a diving 15-yard reception from quarterback Kyle Orton. Beasley had three catches for 49 yards on the night.

Raiders Quarterback Terrell Pryor took over for Matt Flynn and moved the ball well, but his pass intended for Brice Butler in the end zone was picked off by rookie safety J. J. Wilcox in the second quarter.  That makes it four turnovers for the Cowboys defense in six quarters of preseason play; they only had 16 during the entire regular season a year ago.

Kyle Orton took over for Tony Romo on the game's third series and lead a unit chock full of second teammers to a second quarter touchdown drive.  Former UNT star Lance Dunbar continued his stellar preseason accounting for 36 yards, as did Beasley, who capped off the 80-yard drive with a diving 15 yard touchdown reception before having to leave the field with an injury.

E-mail: jtrahan@wfaa.com

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