2:15 to go. The Cowboys are down by a point and have the ball. Oh, and half of Jerryworld is empty. Such is the nature of the preseason.

And only in this fake brand of football would Tony Romo be on the sideline without shoulder pads in this situation playing assistant coach as Matt Nichols tried to engineer a game-winning drive against the Raiders.
Nichols, at best coming to a practice squad near you, threw an interception that was returned for a clinching touchdown. Oakland walked away with a 17-9 win. Count on the owner waking up in a cold sweat after having a nightmare that this was actually a regular season game.

At least the Cowboys defense was dominant again, but the starting offense still hasn’t hit paydirt through two exhibition games. No matter that Tony Romo and company continue to display a vanilla attack. It could be Neapolitan and the first unit wouldn’t want to allow three sacks like it did on its first of two possessions. Dallas had to settle for a 42-yard field goal by David Buehler.

“You can’t have those negative plays like that and you have to produce in the red zone, so we’re still working,” Jason Witten said. “We’re not perfect yet. And there’s that fine line of not showing too much of your packages, but that’s not an excuse for not scoring touchdowns.”

The next opportunity to reach the end zone comes next Saturday in San Diego . In the meantime, Jason Garrett’s offense has to return to “training camp mode” as it heads to Oxnard .

“In a normal preseason with four preseason games, this was really our first preseason game,” Garrett said. “We have a lot of preseason to go and a lot of training camp to go and a lot of development we have to go through.”

Ted Emrich for KRLD Sports