It was a good ol’ fashioned shootout in Miami between the Raiders and the Dolphins. It probably shouldn’t have been considering the Raiders field an offense that was just last season one of the league’s best and the Dolphins have the league’s worst defense. But such is the imbalance of this team.
The first half was reminiscent of the Raiders’ win over the Chiefs in which the two teams traded leads and scores to head into the half with the Raiders up 13-9. Each team scored a touchdown, with the Dolphins’ missing an extra point attempt and the Raiders driving for a second field goal late.
Twice in the second half, it appeared the Raiders might pull away. But each time, the Dolphins would respond with a touchdown of their own. A turnover on downs by the Dolphins with under three minutes remaining looked like it would seal the win for the Raiders, but a three-and-out by the Raiders would take just a minute off the clock, giving the Dolphins another shot.
In just :22 seconds of game time, the Dolphins drove for a touchdown and a successful two-point conversion to bring it to within a field goal. But the onsides kick was unsuccessful and the Raiders escaped with a 27-24 victory.
Derek Carr, Jared Cook
Just like Carr and Coop two weeks ago, I had to give Top Baller to both the QB and his top target. They were both so imperative to this victory.
Two times on the opening drive the Raiders found themselves in 3rd and 9 and both times Carr found Cook for the first down. The first pass Cook streaked up the left sideline to make a perfect over-the-shoulder grab for 35 yards. Cook added a 10-yard catch on 2nd and 9 to put the Raiders at the 13-yard-line. Three plays later, and backed up to the 17, the play broke down and Carr opted to throw the ball into the turf than to try to make a play and the Raiders settled for a field goal.
Come the second quarter, the Raiders went on another scoring drive. And again, it was sparked by Carr to Cook. On the first play Cook caught a pass for 27 yards. A couple of penalties by Cook – one for illegal motion and the other for holding – put the Raiders in a hole in first and 25. Then Carr went to Cook for 11 yards to get some of it back. The next play, Cook laid a key block to spring DeAndre Washington for an 11-yard run. Two plays later, Carr went deep to Johnny Holton for a 44-yard touchdown to take a 10-6 lead.
A Dolphins field goal would bring it to 10-9 and with :28 seconds left in the first half, the Raiders got the ball back. Carr hit Amari Cooper on a slant on the first play for 26 yards. Three plays later, in third and 10, Carr went back to his favorite receiver and Cook made the catch for 16 yards. It set the Raiders up at the 35-yard-line and they took the timeout with :01 second on the clock. Giorgio Tavecchio came out and nailed a 53-yard field goal to go up 13-9 at the half. Much better final play of the first half than last week’s Fail Mary dump off.
The Raiders would score a touchdown on their first drive of the second half as well. Along the way, Carr hit Coop again for 20 yards.
Drops by Coop and Crab would stall a drive early in the fourth, but when they got the ball back, they would get back on track. First Carr completed a 15-yard pass to Crabtree, then a 7-yard completion to Cook, and finally a 29-yard completion to Seth Roberts up the right sideline. Two plays later, they were in for the score to take a 27-16 lead.
Carr would threw an interception on his final pass, but it came on third down and the Dolphins got the ball at their own 17-yard-line, so outside of the time they could have run off the clock had they run it, the pick was basically like a long punt.
Carr finished completing 21 of 30 passes for 300 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Eight of those completions went to Cook for 126 yards.
Khalil Mack, Bruce Irvin, Mario Edwards Jr, Denico Autry
Mack led the defense as he typically does, but all of these guys were making plays along the defensive front all game long.
Bruce Irvin started things off with a tackle for loss on the first play. Then it was Mack and Autry who stopped the drive on third and 11 with Autry maintaining gap discipline to set up Mack to make the stop for a 4 yard gain an force a punt.
Despite run stops by Mack and Irvin with help from Autry on the next drive, the Dolphins still managed to get their first touchdown. An surprise onsides kick gave the Dolphins the ball right back and kept the Raiders’ defense on the field. Autry started it off with a run stop for no gain and Irvin finished it off with a forced fumble which the Raiders recovered. It was the only takeaway of the day and it took points off the board as the Dolphins were in field goal range at the time.
The Raiders offense would drive for a touchdown on the next series and it was again up the defense to try and keep the lead. An encroachment penalty on Autry on third and 4 didn’t help. Two straight tackles by Mario Edwards Jr would put the Dolphins in third and 2 at the Oakland 31. At this point, there was :47 left in the first half and Jay Cuter had yet to throw an incomplete pass. That streak ended with Denico Autry batting the ball down at the line to force them to settle for a field goal and allow the Raiders to retain the lead.
The two teams would trade touchdown drives In that the quarter, after which the Raiders defense would stiffen up for a bit. In the third quarter Edwards added two run stops, one for no gain, and Mack and Autry both getting pressures to force an incompletion.
A series in the fourth started with Edwards getting held and two plays later, Mack got pressure around the right side, and when Jay Cutler stepped up, Irvin and Edwards converged for the shared sack.
After that the Raiders went on another scoring drive to go up 27-16. With 4:37 remaining, it looked like the Dolphins were down to their last chance. They drove to the Oakand 34-yard-line in five plays. A fumbled snap set them back to the 38-yard-line and suddenly they found themselves in fourth and 9 and essentially out of field goal range. What appeared to be a conversion on a 14-yard pass was called back because Mack got around the edge and was held. This put the Dolphins in 4th and 19 and Mack again got around the edge to chase down Cutler and force an incompletion and a turnover on downs.
That should have ended the game, but it didn’t. The Raiders offense could do nothing and the Dolphins would get the ball back with plenty of time to drive for another score. That’s exactly what they did, though it wasn’t the fault of these four defensive linemen. They did what they had to do to ensure the win.
Amari Cooper, Johnny Holton
After the Dolphins pulled to within 3 points, the next step was to attempt an onsides kick. They did the dual kicker, run-by maneuver and the ball skipped right into the waiting arms of Coop who secured the ball and the Raiders’ win.
Before that, these two childhood friends and Miami natives making their first return home to play as pros, had a very good day.
Holton felt the glow of his hometown fan contingency first. Midway through the second quarter, with his team down 6-3, he went deep and Carr threw the bomb his way. He bodied up his defender and came down with the 44-yard touchdown.
Carr’s very next pass went to Coop, who got free on a crossing route for 26 yards. It led out the Raiders’ final drive of the first half for a field goal and a 13-9 lead.
Coop would receive the first pass of the second half as well, catching it for 20 yards to set up the Raiders’ second touchdown of the day. Coop would then get the first pass of the fourth quarter, catching it for 6 yards on third and five.
Unfortunately, the next pass he saw he dropped. Then the final pass he saw was tipped an intercepted. But Coop gave everyone a lasting memory with that game ending onsides kick recovery. He finished with 4 catches for 58 yards while Holton had his second catch of the season; both for long touchdowns.
Back from his suspension, he provided the Raiders with the rushing attack they were lacking in their loss in Buffalo. We pick things up in the third quarter. Lynch burst through the line for 14 yards. Later in the drive, in third and two at the 22-yard-line, Marshawn took the hand off, made a guy look silly on a diving tackle attempt, and ran for the 22-yard touchdown. It was Lynch’s longest run of the season.
In the fourth quarter, he got the ball on the three, went toward the right guard gap only the cutback through the left guard gap to find paydirt and his second touchdown of the day. He finished the game with 14 carries for 57 yards (4.1 ypc) and two touchdowns. And he actually had more yards after contact than actual rushing yards.
Giorgio Tavecchio – Perfect on two field goals and three extra points including a career-high 53-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
Eddie Vanderdoes – Looked probably the best I’ve seen him since the season opener, making a couple stops and getting some pressure too.
Obi Melifonwu – Three tackles in seven snaps is a good day’s work for this rookie making his NFL debut. Two of those tackles were third down stops.