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Raiders week 9 Report Card at Dolphins

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NFL: Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins
Lynch is really really from the end zone though
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders bounced back from an embarrassing loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 8 to beat the Miami Dolphins. The game was closer than the Raiders would have liked but at this point beggars can’t be choosers, so the 27-24 win still counts. Losses by K.C., Denver, Buffalo and Baltimore gave the Raiders at 4-5 a gasp of air in the playoff and division hunt.

Passing Offense

The passing offense was solid with Derek Carr throwing for 300 yards, going 21 for 30 and 1 TD. Carr also threw a pick in this game but it was in garbage time as the Raiders had the game mostly in hand. Carr still has to find a way to get his team in the end zone a little more but he did a solid job of keeping the chains moving.

The game started off poorly as the game plan seemed to indicate another short of the sticks game plan. However, as the game went on Carr seemed to utilize the Jared Cook underneath to create space for his receivers to make plays downfield. This was Cooks best game as a Raider with 8 catches for 126 yards, he was flat out unstoppable against the Dolphins.

Grade: B+

Would have liked to see them start off more aggressive with less check downs but it seems like the Raiders desperately want to start every game this way. Fans are tiring of the dinks and even more tired of the short of the sticks 3rd down attempts. However, after halftime the team did much better with these issues and finished 8 for 15 on 3rd downs.

Rushing Offense

The Raiders could not get Marshawn Lynch and Co. going in the first half, almost every run was for 1 yard or less. Then at halftime they decided to run more power runs and things changed. Lynch all of the sudden became the force Raider Nation has been waiting for all year long.

Lynch scored twice in the 2nd half of the game, once from 22 yards out and again in the 4th quarter from 3 yards out. This is the role the Raiders envisioned when he was signed but had yet to see, Marshawn Lynch “The Closer.” If the Raiders can learn from the 2nd half and start incorporating more power in their run game the results should start to show up.

Grade: C

This grade would be higher but the 1st half run game was absolutely atrocious and hindered the offense heavily. Todd Downing would be wise to continue to incorporate more and more power runs into the game plan as this favors his line. If the Raiders want to be successful running the ball they need to play to the strength of their mammoth offensive line.

Passing Defense

This section will be ugly and hurt feelings just like the Raiders passing defense. Jay Cutler had not thrown for more than 164 yards or 2 TD’s in a single game this season, enter the Raiders defense. Jay Cutler was Bradyesque going 34 for 42 311 yards and 3 TD’s, it was hard to watch. Between the Raiders lack of pass rush in the 1st half and their lack of consistent coverage throughout the game it wasn’t pretty.

Grade: D-

The Raiders defense stopped the Dolphins when it mattered thanks in large part to the pass rush in the 2nd half. Khalil Mack was a monster in the 2nd half and it was enough to get the win. That is the only reason this is not an F grade. They need more consistency from everyone not named Khalil Mack on defense.

Obi Melifonwu looked fantastic in limited snaps, really liked what the kid did out there. Those of you calling him a bust just a couple weeks ago, don’t change your tune now.

Rushing Defense

The Raiders defense led by Navarro Bowman was superb once again, the lone mistake a 42 yard run by Kenyan Drake. Outside of that 1 big run the Raiders were only allowing 2.44 yards per run, they flat out got it done. They played well against the run and it forced the Dolphins to become 1 dimensional in the 2nd half.

Bowman in his 3rd game led the team again in tackles with 10, 5 of which were solo tackles. Bowman has been phenomenal for this Raiders run defense and his leadership is showing up in the play of the other young LB’s on the roster. He has cleaned up the issues that occurred early in the season that led to big runs being broken off regularly against Oakland.

Grade: A-

This grade would be an A+ but the 1 big run dinged them a bit. Still overall this was an impressive effort by the run defense. The run defense helped the pass rush change the game in the 2nd half and that is exactly what the Raiders needed.

Special Teams

The Raiders got themselves back on track this week on special teams after a bad showing last week against Buffalo. Giorgio Tavecchio continued his dream season and went 2 for 2 on FG’s and 3 for 3 on XP’s, Sebastian Janikowski who? All world punter Marquette King appeared to be recovered enough from a groin injury to get 2 of his 3 punts inside the 20 again.

Punt returner Jalen Richard averaged a solid 10.5 yards per attempt, while kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson did his thing averaging 30.5 yards per return. The coverage teams were equally on point and held Dolphins punt returners to 1 return for 5 yards, and kick returners to an average of 23.5 yards with a long of 25 yards. Fantastic job by the coverage units who starred in this game.

Grade: B+

I couldn’t give them an A with the return units struggling with penalties. They continue to commit silly penalties even on fair catches or punts that go out of bounds. They need to get those cleaned up because this unit has the potential to break one at any moment and a penalty will wipe that out.

Coaching

Jack Del Rio, Ken Norton Jr., and Todd Downing had their units better prepared for this game than they did Buffalo. The gameplan wasn’t great to start but they seemed to make the necessary adjustments after halftime to win the game. It wasn’t there best piece of coaching but it was enough to win.

Grade: C+

The Raiders entered with a not so great game plan and as a result they barely held the lead going into the half. They made some adjustments and that made the difference between a win and a loss. They have to come in much better prepared in week 11 or the Patriots will massacre them on national television after a bye.