It was nearly the end of the second quarter before Jay Cutler had his first incompletion of the game. Prior to that he was 16 for 16 for 141 yards and a touchdown. Since the Raiders’ secondary was not getting the job done, that incompletion had to come on a ball tipped at the line by Denico Autry.
Despite that streak of completions by Cutler, the Raiders were still up 10-9 at that point in the game.
Luckily the Raiders offense showed up. Specifically the connection between Derek Carr and Jared Cook. He had his own version of perfection happening in the first half, catching 6 passes on 6 targets for 113 yards. Three of those completions came on the opening drive, all for first downs, two on third and 9. The Raiders got a field goal out of it to go up 3-0 to start things off.
Even with Cutler doing no wrong through the air, the Dolphins couldn’t answer early on, opting to run it on third and 11 and punting on their first possession.
That would change to begin the second quarter, with the Dolphins going on a long touchdown drive. They converted two third downs on the drive, including a 22-yard pass to a wide open DeVante Parker on a slant. Two straight passes to Damien Williams for 11 yards and 10 yards for the touchdown gave the Dolphins the lead, but a missed point after attempt would keep it 6-3.
Immediately after they took the lead, the Dolphins made a calculated gamble and it paid off. They went for the onsides kick and recovered, then went on another drive. Two completions from Cutler to tight end Julius Thomas put them at the Oakland 24-yard-line. Kenyan Drake got the ball on first down and after a short gain, Karl Joseph punched the ball out and the Raiders recovered.
It wasn’t the Raiders first interception of the season, but it was a turnover and they’ll take it. The Raiders capitalized on it too. First play of the series, it was back to Jared Cook for 27 yards.
A series of penalties first on Lee Smith then twice on Cook backed them up to first and 25. They were able to pick it up on three plays and on first down, Derek Carr threw deep to Johnny Holton for a 44-yard touchdown.
In the final three minutes of the first half, both teams drove for field goals. The Raiders got the ball last. Carr completed a 26-yard pass to Amari Cooper and, of course another to Cook for 16 yards to put him over 100 yards (113) for the game. Giorgio Tavecchio came out and hit a career long 53-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 13-9 lead at the half.
Cutler entered the second half with just one incompletion, but his near perfect day wouldn’t continue. His first pass of the third quarter fell incomplete and the Dolphins eventually were forced to punt.
The Raiders went on a drive with their first possession of the second half. It was Marshawn Lynch who got going. His second carry went for 14 yards to put the Raiders at midfield. A 20-yard catch by Amari Cooper put the Raiders at the 30. Three plays later on third and 2, Marshawn took the hand off up the middle and had his longest run of the season, going 22 yards for the score. It gave the Raiders their largest lead at 20-9. But it wouldn’t last long.
The Dolphins would answer with their own long drive, highlighted by a 42-yard run by Kenyan Drake around right tackle. He laid a stiff arm on Dexter McDonald to get the last leg of his run to the Oakland 23-yard-line. A few plays later, McDonald whiffed on a tackle to give up a 6-yard touchdown catch and run to Jarvis Landry, and the Dolphins were back to within a score at 20-16.
That’s where the score would stay well into the fourth quarter in large part to the Raiders receivers forgetting how to catch on the ball. A drop by Seth Roberts helped end a drive, but not before Marshall Newhouse gave up a strip sack, picked up the ball, ran with it, and fumbled it away to the Dolphins. Not pretty.
After the Raiders’ defense held, the offense went nowhere with Amari Cooper having extending his league lead with his 10th drop, followed by Michael Crabtree dropping one right in his gut.
By this point, the Raiders’ defense was suddenly stepping up. They had four straight stops.
In between, the Raiders offense went on another drive. The receivers remembered how to catch the ball, with Crabtree, Cook, and Roberts all making catches. Roberts had the biggest catch for 29 yards up the right sideline. A few plays later, Xavien Howard was flagged for pass interference covering Crabtree to put the Raiders in first and goal at the 3-yard-line. The next play, Marshawn Lynch ran up the gut for his second touchdown of the game.
It put the Raiders back up by 11 at 27-16 with 4:37 remaining.
The following drive, Mack ended the Dolphins hopes when he was held to call back a big catch by Julius Thomas that would have converted on 4th and 9. Then on 4th and 19, he got pressure and chased down Jay Cutler who threw to no one and the game was on ice.
Or so it should have been.
Getting the ball with 2:53 remaining, all the Raiders needed to do was get a first down. They couldn’t get a yard on two runs and on third and 10 Carr went deep to a covered Amari Cooper, the ball was tipped and picked off.
It was still a two score game with 1:54 remaining. The Dolphins would need to score quickly, with a 2-point conversion, recover an onsides kick, and get back into field goal range.
They got the first two parts of that, driving for a touchdown in :22 seconds and adding the 2-point conversion on a run up the gut to pull to 27-24.
Next step was to recover the onsides kick. They went for the double kicker, run by attempt and the kick skipped right to Miami native Amari Cooper who clutches it to seal the win.
The Raiders improve to 4-5 on the season while the Dolphins fall to 4-4.
Jared Cook led all receivers with 8 catches for 126 yards. Marshawn Lynch finished with 57 yards on 14 carries (4.1 ypc) and two touchdowns.
That banged up Raiders secondary made Jay Cutler look like an elite QB. He put up 311 yards with 3 touchdowns and, yes, ZERO interceptions. It extends the Raiders streak without an interception to 9 games. Their lone takeaway came on a forced fumble from Karl Joseph.