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Raiders vs. Dolphins: 4 Winners, 4 Losers

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Oakland Raiders v Miami Dolphins Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images

For the third week in a row, the Raiders blew a second-half lead. There is nothing more certain in football at this point than the Raiders not being able to close out a victory. With a difficult stretch of games coming up later in the season including two against the world-beating Chiefs, it was imperative for Oakland to have a good start to their season. That’s all gone now, and the season looks like another failure. Bring on the Draft.


1) Jordy Nelson

After being invisible for the first two games of the season, Nelson broke out today in a big way. With the Dolphins missing Reshad Jones at safety, Nelson was shadowed by rookie DB Minkah Fitzpatrick and the veteran WR feasted. He was responsible for almost all the yards the Raiders had on the first drive, and finished with 173 yards and a touchdown.

2) Marshawn Lynch

Yet another good game from Lynch, who had 64 yards on the ground and 22 yards receiving with a rushing touchdown. Lynch ran hard, and with heart, seeming like one of the few Raiders who displayed any. Lynch isn’t breaking off big runs, averaging only 3.4 yards per carry, but he is battering and wearing down opposing defenses.

3) Ryan Tannehill

After a paltry first half, Tannehill was brilliant in the second half, and ended with 289 passing yards and three touchdowns. He spread the ball around, hitting eight different receivers, and also had the Dolphins’ best run of the day with an 18-yard scamper in the fourth quarter. This is the sort of performance that keeps Miami from replacing him.

4) Leon Hall

If you’re looking for strong performances from the Raider defense, you won’t find too many. But Hall was terrific, with three tackles and a batted pass that forced a Miami fumble. After being an afterthought on the Raiders’ cornerback depth chart, Hall is proving to be one of Oakland’s best players overall.


1) Derek Carr

The last four quarterbacks to get monster deals- Carr, Matthew Stafford, Aaron Rodgers and Kirk Cousins- have looked like straight trash at points so far this season. Carr might be the worst-looking of the bunch. He has only one touchdown, thrown today to Jordy Nelson, and three interceptions. None were more costly than the one he threw to Xavien Howard in the end zone in the fourth quarter of this game. The clutch Carr of 2016 is a thing of the past, replaced with someone who makes mental errors and can’t get the job done. Does Carr look like a guy capable of winning the Super Bowl to you? Does he look like a guy worth $25M per season?

2) Dolphins rushing attack

After struggling with big running plays against the Rams and Broncos, the Raiders held Miami to only 41 yards on the ground. 18 of those were on one run from Tannehill, so the Dolphins’ actual running backs only had 15 total yards on the ground. That’s a terrific effort from the Raiders rush defense and an awful one from the Dolphins’ line and runners.

3) Refs enforcing Roughing the Passer

The referees were absolutely awful today, calling nonsense penalties against both teams, but none so egregious as their interpretation of the Roughing the Passer penalty. The interpretation of the rule notwithstanding, it is being enforced inconsistently. Miami pass rusher William Hayes sacked Derek Carr in the end zone with all his weight. No penalty. Later in the game, Maurice Hurst sacked Tannehill with far less force. Penalty. The next play, Miami scored a touchdown.

Now back to the new interpretation of the rule. It’s garbage. Putting your weight on a player when taking them to the ground is not a penalty, it’s a tackle. The NFL went on Twitter with video of what was supposedly a Roughing the Passer penalty. It looked like a normal sack to me, and Twitter exploded with people saying “That’s not a penalty.” This problem is not going away, and the NFL doubling down on their stupidity is only going to exacerbate the situation. This is an absolute disgrace.

4) Jon Gruden

Another game, another total collapse by the Raiders in the second half. The Raiders actually scored three points in garbage time, their only fourth quarter points of the entire season. How does a team look so great in the first half and so bad in the second? The only answer is coaching, and the lack of appropriate and successful adjustments in-game. I don’t have a lot of problems with the guys Jon Gruden has brought in, they’ve all been pretty good so far, but his game management and approach has been a dud so far. If the Raiders don’t beat the Browns, there will be people calling for Jon Gruden’s head.