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At 6-8, Raiders all but done in playoff chase

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Ref uses paper to measure first down (0:33)

In the fourth quarter of the Cowboys-Raiders game, the referee puts a piece of paper in between the nose of the ball and the chain stick to determine first down for Dallas. (0:33)

OAKLAND -- Khalil Mack had two sacks, giving him a team-leading 10.5 for the season.

Sean Smith had two interceptions, doubling the Oakland Raiders' total for the season.

And Michael Crabtree caught a pair of touchdown passes, giving him eight touchdowns. He became the first Raiders receiver since Tim Brown (1994-96) to have at least eight in three straight seasons.

Alas ...

The Raiders lost to the Dallas Cowboys, 20-17, Sunday night in a game that will be most remembered for referee Gene Steratore using an index card to measure a first down and Derek Carr losing a fumble through the end zone as he reached for the pylon and a game-winning touchdown. If not for Giorgio Tavecchio's missed 39-yard field goal at the end of the first half.

Bittersweet, much?

"Nothing sweet about it," Smith said. "It's all bitter. An L's an L. I think we're out of it now so, not much to celebrate there."

Well ...

Sure, in losing the Underachieving Bowl to the Cowboys, the Raiders fell to 6-8, a season after going 12-4 and playing in the postseason for the first time since the 2002 season.

But they are mathematically alive and breathing.

Per the Associated Press, the Raiders need to win their final two games (at the Philadelphia Eagles and at the Los Angeles Chargers), have the Miami Dolphins win twice (at the Kansas City Chiefs and home against the Buffalo Bills), have the Bills lose twice (at the New England Patriots and at the Dolphins), have the Tennessee Titans lose twice (at home against the Los Angeles Rams and Jacksonville Jaguars) and the Baltimore Ravens, who are 8-6, finish above 8-8 (they face the Indianapolis Colts and Cincinnati Bengals at home).

Yeah, rough sledding.

"The fight out there tonight was there," said Raiders tight end Lee Smith. "It was almost like a playoff game. It was two teams that refused to quit. I have so much respect for all my brothers in this locker room and I have so much respect for everyone on the Dallas Cowboys. It was a fight until the bitter end and regardless of the piece of paper on the measuring, whatever, they won and they still have a fighting chance to move on and we don't.

"I can promise you I love every man in this locker room and I assume that everyone watching understands and knows that the Raiders and the Cowboys both refused to give up regardless of what has happened this season."