Raiders Start Strong, Beat Dallas 31-10

Raiders preseason starts with a bang

By Laurence Scott
|  Thursday, Aug 13, 2009  |  Updated 11:11 PM PDT
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Raiders Start Strong, Beat Dallas 31-10

AP

Oakland Raiders running back Louis Rankin scores a touchdown in the third quarter during their preseason NFL football game in Oakland Thursday.

Preseason games are never pretty and don't indicate too much, but the Oakland Raiders offense showed some spark while a cast of mostly reserves were responsible for a 31-10 win over the Dallas Cowboys Thursday.

Oakland quarterback Bruce Gradkowski showed impressive pocket poise while leading the Raiders on several scoring drives.

From the outset, all eyes were on first round draft pick Darrius Heyward-Bey. Shortly after Hells Bells finished ringing out, the Black Hole gave DHB a true Oakland welcome. His first catch as a Raider was an 8-yard pass from Gradkowski. It was his only catch of the night in three attempts.

In the third quarter, Dallas and Oakland traded scores. Running back Louis Rankin bulled his way on a drive capped by his 3 yard TD run. On the following drive, Dallas added a field goal. Oakland took a two touchdown lead as Gary Russell dove in for a 1 yard score at 4:59 in the third.

Oakland quarterback Charlie Frye came in for Gradkowski and threw a 2 yard touchdown to Will Franklin in the fourth quarter that gave the Raiders a 21-point lead.

To start the scoring, Sebastian Janikowski hit a 23 yard field goal to give Oakland an early 3-0 lead at 10:05 in the first quarter. Dallas countered with a Tony Romo to Jason Witten 8 yard touchdown pass that same quarter.

Early in the second quarter after Raiders starting QB JaMarcus Russell had given way to Gradkowski -- (note: Jeff Garcia was on the inactive list for the game) --  tight end Tony Stewart caught a 3 yard touchdown pass from Gradkowski.

Oakland will face the 49ers at Candlestick next Saturday, Aug. 22, in the second exhibition for both teams.

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