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As Jason Garrett stood behind a podium inside what is normally the Oakland A’s weight room Sunday night, he could have ticked off 30, 40, maybe 50 things his Dallas Cowboys did wrong against the Oakland Raiders.

The Cowboys blew a 10-0 halftime lead. They converted 2 of 10 third-down chances. They did not sack Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. They allowed 5.3 yards per carry. They did not get a takeaway until the game’s final play, missing out on at least four opportunities. They allowed 25.8 yards per kickoff return. They were bailed out by three touchdowns called back by penalty or overturned by replay.

That’s just some of what went wrong.

But as Garrett spoke, he kept coming back to one word. It’s something he puts on T-shirts and sweatshirts for the players to wear. It is on Yeti cups. It is on a digital board inside the locker room.


Nothing was really pretty about the Cowboys’ 20-17 win against the Raiders except the result.

“Continued to scratch, continued to claw,” Garrett said. “Wasn’t our most perfect performance in any phase of our football team, but the fight was there.”

The fight was never more evident than on the Raiders’ final play. With 39 seconds left, Oakland had a third-and-3 from the Dallas 8. Carr scrambled to his right with nobody open and saw the front pylon daring him to go for the touchdown.

As he lunged forward he was hit by safety Jeff Heath, knocking the ball loose and ultimately out of the end zone for a touchback.

“I thought that play typified what we’re trying to instill in our football team,” Garrett said. “Him laying out, somehow, some way not letting that guy get to the pylon and ultimately knocking the ball out. It was a helluva play. It was an unbelievable game.”

So unbelievable that the Cowboys’ playoff chances can be symbolized by the piece of paper referee Gene Steratore used to affirm a first down on a fourth-down quarterback sneak by Dak Prescott at the Dallas 39 with 4:49 to play.

“It’s a game of inches, a game of 5-by-7 note cards,” tight end Jason Witten joked.

That was on display on the Raiders’ final drive. Anthony Brown should have ended the game with an interception of Carr with 1:05 to play but inexplicably dropped the pass. On fourth down, rookie cornerback Jourdan Lewis was called for pass interference at the Dallas 15.

A win was looking like a loss or at least a trip to overtime. The season hung in the balance before Ezekiel Elliott could return from his six-game suspension. And then Heath came up to hit Carr as the quarterback was looking for the winning touchdown.

Beyond “fight,” the play was another Garrett mantra.

“He talked about ‘finish’ all week,” linebacker Sean Lee said. “That’s been a big theme for us, and I think it showed.”

Now Elliott’s return can mean more. Now the Cowboys can envision the scenarios they need to get to the postseason in back-to-back years for the first time since 2006 and ’07. But all they have done is guarantee themselves no worse than the fourth 8-8 finish in Garrett’s tenure as coach.

“We got Seattle,” Dez Bryant said. “And we got to reset. As soon as I walk out of this locker room and every last one of us walk out of this locker room, let’s reset. We’ve got to get ready for Seattle.”

The Cowboys’ playoff chances are better but still not in their control. They will likely need to win their final two games and need the Atlanta Falcons to lose two of their last three games and the Detroit Lions to lose one of their final two games.

“Nothing has changed,” Prescott said. “We know where we are. Our backs are against the wall. We’ve got to win and that is what this team is about. We’re excited and we’re loving these matchups. We’re loving the position we’re in. It is what it is. We got ourselves here and we’re excited about next week. Just one at a time.”

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Jerry Jones did not see Tyreek Hill’s 57-yard touchdown on the final play of the first half for the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I was eating my hot dog,” the Dallas Cowboys owner and general manager said.

The Chiefs were at their own 43 with two seconds left in the half, so Jones figured it was safe to go to the halftime buffet. It might have been a good thing he did not see Hill weave his way to the end zone. Jones might have gotten ill.

“We were playing for the Big Ben play,” coach Jason Garrett said. “They had two seconds to go and what teams typically do in that situation, they were just outside the 50, is take guys down the field and they throw the ball into the end zone. We pick them up and we block them out and we do all that. But when they throw the ball underneath we just simply need to come off that spot and we need to go defend the play.”

Hill caught Alex Smith’s pass at the Dallas 42. He did not see a defender until the Cowboys 22. The Cowboys had seven players lined up near the end zone, waiting for the deep throw. Hill was able to work up a head of speed, received blocks from Demarcus Robinson, Travis Kelce and Demetrius Harris, cutting through the defense for the 57-yard score.

“He’s a problem when he gets the ball in space like that,” safety Jeff Heath said. “They had a convoy of blockers and I think the guy broke a tackle or two. Obviously that’s one that we don’t want to give up before half.”

Said defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford, “I definitely said, ‘Are you kidding me?’ and came in a little upset that they got those points on the board.”

Garrett took the blame for the breakdown, saying the Cowboys need to practice that situation more.

The Cowboys took a 14-3 lead with 13 seconds left in the half on Dak Prescott’s 10-yard touchdown run. By the time Prescott touched the ball in the second half for the first time, the Chiefs had a 17-14 lead, driving 62 yards on their first drive of the third quarter.

But the momentum changed back to the Cowboys favor. On the Chiefs’ final three drives of the game, they gained 70 yards.

“Good things are going to happen in games, bad things are going to happen in games and you’ve got to put that play behind you and move forward,” Garrett said. “Sometimes that’s easier said than done. We felt like we gave them one. They did a really good job. It’s a good design on their play. We have to do a better job. I have to do a better job coaching that play and getting our guys in position to make that play. And that’s really on me. But I thought our guys just responded the right way and that’s what you have to do. It ain’t coming back, so you just got to move forward and I think our team did that.”

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With Dan Bailey expected to miss time with a groin injury, the Dallas Cowboys will sign veteran kicker Mike Nugent after he won a competition with Jason Myers and Sam Irwin-Hill on Tuesday.

Coach Jason Garrett would not put a timetable on Bailey’s return but said he would miss “at least a couple of weeks” with the injury that occurred while warming up on the sidelines during a drive. The Cowboys had safety Jeff Heath take over the kicking duties and he made two of three point-after attempts.

Nugent, 34, lost a training-camp competition with Aldrick Rosas to be the New York Giants kicker this summer. In his career with the Cincinnati Bengals, Arizona Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets, he has made 236 of 292 career field goal attempts.

“You want a guy who is reliable. It’s really important at that position you have a guy you can trust and count on. You want that throughout your whole team at every position but that’s a very valuable position,” Garrett said on Monday. “You’re going to put the fortunes of your team in that guy’s hands, or on his foot, and you want a guy you can trust and rely on. Experience matters, but you don’t want to make it all about that. You want to choose the best guy. But reliability and how much you can trust them is certainly a big factor.”

Bailey is the most accurate kicker in NFL history, making 178 of 198 field goal attempts in his career. He had not missed a game since signing with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2011 — until now.

Three of the Cowboys’ next four games will be in climate-controlled stadiums with retractable roofs (two at AT&T Stadium and one at Atlanta’s Mercedes Benz Stadium), which make for easier kicking conditions. The Cowboys play at FedEx Field on Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

To make room for Nugent on the roster, the Dallas Cowboys waived defensive end Damontre Moore. Moore was inactive last week. In three games coaches credited him with seven tackles and four quarterback hurries.W