Raiders coach Tom Cable said the primary task for Thursday's game was eliminating the big plays.
Back to the drawing board.
The Cowboys gouged the Raiders for four huge plays within the first 20 minutes of the game, added to the total as the game progressed and parlayed them into a 24-7 Thanksgiving Day victory on Thursday at Cowboys Stadium.
One of the big plays covered 66 yards on a direct snap to backup running back Tashard Choice to the Raiders 11-yard line and led to a field goal.
Two others came on back-to-back plays and netted 73 yards, 27 on a crossing pattern to wide receiver Miles Austin and the final 46 on a touchdown run by running back Felix Jones right up the middle.
The four plays netted 188 yards, turned around field position in Dallas' favor and helped the Cowboys turn a scoreless game into a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The Cowboys tacked on another one of the so-called big plays Cable railed against on the first play after Jones' run. Quarterback Tony Romo connected with running back Marion Barber on a quick pass that Barber turned into a 42-yard, catch-and-run play to the Raiders 30.
Five plays, 230 yards, no progress toward Cable's stated goal for a defense that plays well in spurts, for the most part, but falls apart every now and then in a big way.
On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys added 20- and 21-yard receptions to the Raiders 22. By halftime, the Cowboys amassed 323 yards on 29 plays. Seven of those plays netted 271 yards.
Overall, the Cowboys amassed 384 yards on 10 plays of 20 yards or more en route to the lopsided victory.
Romo wasted little time making Austin his favorite target. He completed a pass to Austin for 49 yards on Dallas' second play from scrimmage and kept looking Austin's way the rest of the first half.
Austin finished with six receptions for 130 yards and one touchdown by halftime. Not even Raiders All-Pro cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was able to contain Austin.
Offensively, the Raiders enjoyed great success running the ball in the early going. Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden combined for 68 yards on only eight carries in the opening quarter.
However, Dallas stiffened in the second quarter and limited the Raiders duo to 6 yards on five carries.
The Raiders leaned on a pass-heavy attack once they fell behind by so much. Bruce Gradkowski never settled into a rhythm in his second start in place of JaMarcus Russell.
Gradkowski misfired on eight of his first 10 attempts and completed only 5 of 15 for 42 yards in the first half. He finished 18 of 35 for 200 yards, and he was sacked three times.
The Raiders attempted to rally from the sizable deficit early in the third quarter. They cut into the lead on an impressive 88-yard drive for a touchdown.
Gradkowski completed all five of his passes for 69 yards on the scoring drive. He capped the series with a 4-yard strike to rookie receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey midway through the third quarter.
That cut Dallas' lead to 17-7 and gave Heyward-Bey the first touchdown of his career.
Dallas responded with a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, two plays after Romo hit tight end Jason Witten for a 44-yard reception to the Raiders 8.
Witten also had a 37-yard reception on the first play of the third quarter. So, add those two big plays into the mix and you wind up with 10 plays for 384 yards.
The Raiders fell to 3-8 on the season and to the brink of elimination from playoff contention for the seventh straight season.
One more Chargers victory would eliminate the Raiders from the chase for the AFC West title. The Raiders now are in a position where they need to win their remaining five games just to have any hope at all of a wild-card playoff berth.