OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Darren McFadden needed one series to show he's in midseason form for Oakland following a foot injury that cut his last season short.
Most of the rest of the first-team offensive players for the Raiders and Dallas Cowboys need plenty of work to get back to that level.
McFadden picked up where he left off last season by gaining 38 yards on Oakland's first three plays of the exhibition season and the Raiders went on to lose to the Dallas Cowboys 3-0 on Monday night.
"He was able to make some explosive gains," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "That's what we anticipate out of him. He's an explosive playmaker. We have to find ways to get him the ball and give him an opportunity to be explosive for us."
McFadden, who missed the last nine games of 2011 with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot, opened the game with a 4-yard run, an 18-yard reception and a 16-yard run to delight of the Raiders fans.
But Carson Palmer threw an interception to Gerald Sensabaugh on the next play for Oakland (tied for No. 23 in the AP Pro32) and both the Raiders and Cowboys (No. 15, AP Pro32) struggled to generate much of anything until the reserves took over in the second half.
"We made some mistakes and it cost us," Dallas quarterback Tony Romo said. "There will be some good stuff to evaluate and get better. We have to get better from tonight's game and we will."
Kyle Orton took Dallas 67 yards on the opening drive of the second half to set up Dan Bailey's 33-yard field goal and that proved to be the only scoring of the night.
McFadden left after that first series and Palmer couldn't move the Raiders without him. Matt Leinart played the rest of a scoreless first half and completed six passes to undrafted free agent Rod Streater, but couldn't put any points on the board.
Dez Bryant, whose status was in question after leaving practice early Saturday because of hamstring tightness, came up with the only big play for Dallas' first-team offense when he made a good adjustment in the air for a 24-yard gain from Romo on the first offensive drive for the Cowboys.
That was the only first down in three series with Romo under center. Only two of Dallas' other 10 plays with Romo in the game went for more than 1 yard and both of those were on third-and-longs when the Cowboys couldn't convert.
But the Dallas defense did the job after the fast start by McFadden.
"We just had to settle down," Sensabaugh said. "Once we got settled down and everybody just kept doing their job, there weren't too many big plays coming after that. (Our) guys were able to make plays."