IRVING, Texas — Old pro Jim Plunkett showed Sunday why the Raiders still keep him around at the age of 38.
The 16-year veteran came off the bench at the start of the second half to throw two touchdown passes to Dokie Williams as the Raiders victimized young Steve Pelluer for a 17-13 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.
Five interceptions and six sacks of Pelluer kept the Raiders in the game until Plunkett could get warmed up. Pelluer was starting in place of Danny White, who has a broken wrist.
Raider Coach Tom Flores said Plunkett amazes him.
"Jim is a remarkable guy," Flores said. "He has the experience and confidence to come in during tough situations. That's one of his strong points. He's able to come in and do the job."
Flores said he decided to make a change after Marc Wilson's poor first-half performance.
"We played poorly and that's an understatement," Flores said.
Plunkett said his relief performance is what he's paid to do and praised Williams.
"Dokie made two tremendous catches," Plunkett said. "The last one could have very easily been intercepted, but he just outjumped the Cowboys. Good receivers make a quarterback look good.
"Sometimes it's easier coming off the bench," he said. "You've had a chance to look at the other team's defense. I just did my job."
But Plunkett added that he nevertheless feels he should be starting.
"I've proved it all year," he said. "It's no fun to be on the bench."
Dallas Coach Tom Landry said, "We beat ourselves. We had two touchdowns called back by penalty. It's simple. It was a frustrating game."
Landry said the Cowboys went into the game wary of the Raiders' deep passing ability.
"We were worried about the long passes," Landry said. "That's Plunkett's specialty and he hurt us."
Landry defended Pelluer, saying, "I don't think he lost his poise. He just had some passes he wished he had back. I think any young quarterback will have games like this. He's an excellent prospect and will overcome this game."
The Cowboy offense revolved around Tony Dorsett because Herschel Walker was used sparingly while he nursed a sprained ankle. Walker only carried the ball three times for 5 yards and caught no passes.
The Raiders improved their record to 6-4 in the AFC West. The Cowboys dropped to 6-4 in the NFC East.
Plunkett tied the game 10-all in the third period. He flipped a 20-yard scoring pass to Williams after linebacker Jerry Robinson's interception of a Pelluer pass at the Dallas 23.
With Dallas leading 13-10 early in the fourth period on Rafael Septien's 20-yard field goal, Plunkett hit Williams with a 40-yard scoring pass after Vann McElroy's second interception of the game.
Dallas led 10-3 at halftime with both the Raiders' Wilson and Pelluer suffering three interceptions each. The Cowboys had two apparent touchdowns called back by penalties.
Ron Fellows' interception of a Wilson pass at the Raider 32 led to Dorsett's 13-yard touchdown run which gave Dallas the lead after a tradeoff of field goals.
Dorsett passed O.J. Simpson in the fifth spot on the NFL's all-time rushing list. He rushed 22 times for 101 yards Sunday, for a total of 11,282 yards to 11,236 for Simpson.
The second touchdown from Williams, who recorded five catches for 107 yards, came with 10:15 left when he out-leaped three Dallas defenders for the ball.
The five interceptions tied a Dallas club record held by Danny White and Eddie LeBaron.
Dallas took a 3-0 lead on Rafael Septien's 20-yard field goal in the first quarter, but the Raiders countered early in the second period on Chris Bahr's 45-yarder.
The Cowboys blew three other chances to score touchdowns in the first half, and Septien missed a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Walker fumbled away to Lester Hayes on the Raiders' one-yard line in the second quarter. Pelluer's apparent 25-yard touchdown run was called back on guard Glen Titensor's holding penalty and Dallas eventually punted.
Everson Walls' apparent 47-yard touchdown return with an interception was called back because of Ed Jones' clipping penalty, and the Cowboys failed to score when Jeff Barnes intercepted Pelluer at the Raider 15.
Dallas dropped two games behind the New York Giants and Washington Redskins in the NFC East, and the Raiders edged to within two games of Denver in the AFC West.