Ricky Brown burst up the middle, eluded a block from running back Tashard Choice and sacked Dallas quarterback Jon Kitna.
A blitz from an Oakland Raiders linebacker once was a rarity. That could all change this season under new defensive coordinator John Marshall, who is bringing the blitz to an organization that has long eschewed the strategy.
"I think our personality is becoming that of an attacking group," coach Tom Cable said. "We like who we have in the secondary, so why not use those other guys as weapons, certainly."
The Raiders have often blitzed during training camp, although it usually was for the benefit of the offense that needed to prepare for the season.
Now many of the defenders believe the strategy will last beyond August and become a staple of the defense as long as it is successful.
"In the past, I guess we could have called it more, but now we are calling it," linebacker Thomas Howard said. "I am not even worried about the past anymore. I am worried about now and John likes to call pressures. I am just so excited about it, and he is calling it. The biggest difference is we are calling the plays now."
According to STATS LLC, the Raiders blitzed just 196 times over the past two seasons, the second worst total in the NFL to Indianapolis. Owner Al Davis has always preferred a defense that gets pressure with its front four and plays tight man-to-man coverage in the secondary.
That's why some veterans are still skeptical that the change will hold once the regular season starts. Pro Bowl cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha took a wait-and-see approach heading into the first exhibition game and was pleased that Marshall stuck with the plan and that it actually paid off.
Oakland was unable to get to the quarterback on a few blitz attempts earlier in the game, but Asomugha hopes the success on Brown's play will lead to more of those calls in the future. Asomugha is even lobbying for a cornerback blitz so he can have his first sack since 2006.
"It was good that they got there," Asomugha said. "He called some blitzes early on that weren't getting there but that's not on him. The ones that got there was definitely nice to see. It was good to see linebackers get some sacks and not just d-linemen."
Marshall has been an NFL defensive coordinator in four other stops since entering the league in 1980. He ran defenses in Atlanta, San Francisco, Carolina and Seattle before being hired by the Raiders.
He says a trademark of his defenses is that they will bring pressure. Over the past two seasons, he called more than twice as many blitzes in Seattle as former defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called in Oakland.
"If you can't get enough pressure with your four-man front, then you have to add additional pressure," Marshall said. "That means bringing one extra guy or two extra guys or emptying the post and bringing everybody."
That's what Marshall did a few times in the exhibition opener against Dallas. In the most successful situation, Brown got his sack in the second quarter to thwart a Cowboys drive.
"I just kind of hit it and things opened up," he said. "It was me and the back one-on-one. In the NFL, you have to win when you have that opportunity to go one-on-one with the back, and I was fortunate enough to get that sack. We really need to execute it out there so we can give Coach Marshall confidence in us."