The Oakland Raiders’ motley crew of undrafted free agents and other NFL castoffs only showed up for the first half of a 31-24 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day at AT&T Stadium.
“I don’t think we wore down,” said Raiders linebacker Nick Roach, who finished with 11 tackles and two sacks. “It’s just that we didn’t do things right when we needed to.”
Despite taking a 21-14 lead into halftime, the Raiders came out flat in the second half, managing only a field goal for the remainder of the game.
With the loss, Oakland falls to 3-4 all time on Thanksgiving Day.
The lone bright spot in the loss for the Raiders was the breakout performance of Andre Holmes, who came into Thursday’s game with just five career receptions for 76 yards.
The 6-foot-5 receiver finished with seven catches for a game-high 136 yards, including a 35-yard reception in the fourth quarter.
Holmes, who grew up in Elk Grove, Ill., just east of Chicago, went undrafted out of Hillsdale College, a Division II school in Michigan with an enrollment of 1,500 undergraduates.
Near the end of the 2011 preseason, the Cowboys signed him to their practice squad as a free agent. He played in seven games with two catches in 2012. Dallas decided to release him late that year.
“If I had a calendar, I checked [this game],” Holmes said. “I wanted to come here and play well for a team that I played for.”
“A lot of the Cowboys players came over and said ‘Good job,’” Holmes said. “It felt really good to see all of them and for them to give me support.”
Holmes, who said all the right things in his postgame news conference, couldn’t help but grin when asked if his family was watching the game back home in Illinois.
“My family is at my aunt and uncle’s house right now,” he said. “Usually during Thanksgiving the game is on and most of the guys are watching so I know they saw [me].
“It feels nice to have a good game on this stage, but ultimately it’s about the team and a loss is loss.”