No matter how this season ends up, one thing is for sure: the Dallas Cowboys’ defense has stepped it up.
Since allowing a season-high 515 yards to the Los Angeles Chargers on Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys have ratcheted up the pressure and turned in three of their best performances of 2017.
That includes Sunday night when the Cowboys held the Oakland Raiders to 293 yards in a 20-17 win at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
It’s the fewest yards for the Raiders at home since they were held to 274 against the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 15. A good chunk of that came on the Raiders’ final drive, which ended at the goal line when quarterback Derek Carr fumbled into the end zone trying to stretch for the score. By rule, it was called a touchback and the Cowboys took over.
Linebacker Sean Lee and safety Jeff Heath each had six solo tackles to lead Dallas. Heath and Chidobe Awuzie both forced fumbles.
Heath was the one who made a game-saving hit on Carr just as he tried extending the ball across the goal line on the Raiders’ final play from scrimmage.
“I could tell he was getting close to the end zone and I just tried my best to keep him out and thankfully he reached his hand out and he fumbled,” Heath said.
Heath also made a huge pass breakup in the end zone in the final minute to help preserve the victory.
While Heath was answering questions from a herd of media in the locker room, his teammates, including Dak Prescott, took turns yelling out their respect, including “Jeff Heath is the GOAT.”
“It’s time to recognize how well he’s been playing, making plays, interceptions, big hits and to finish like that and make that play, it won the game for us,” Lee said.