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Raiders-Dolphins: Offense not good enough in Antonio Pierce’s first loss

Defense takes advantage of Dolphins’ miscues, but offense couldn’t cash in

Las Vegas Raiders v Miami Dolphins
Antonio Pierce
Photo by Bryan Cereijo/Getty Images

This game was so much like the Las Vegas Raiders’ Week 8 defeat at the Detroit Lions.

Like the Lions did, the host Miami Dolphins dominated the Raiders for much of the game, but kept giving Las Vegas opportunities to win.

Like that Detroit game, the Raiders couldn’t take advantage on offense, losing 20-13 to the Dolphins to fall to 5-6 and 1-2 under interim coach Antonio Pierce.’

Let’s look at some key aspects of this game:

Offense was not good again:

The Raiders’ offense has been not good enough for most of the season. Other than the Josh McDaniels’ firing party when they scored 30 against the dreadful New York Giants, this offense has floundered and hasn’t produced more than 19 points in a game. In the past two games, the Raiders’ offense has scored 29 points and have scored just two touchdowns. It’s a problem. The Raiders were 4 of 16 on third and fourth downs Sunday and went the second and third quarters without registering a first down.

Tough day for Bo Hardegree:

The Raiders’ interim offensive coordinator and play caller had a rough day. The Raiders weren’t aggressive when they should have been and they were too aggressive at other times. His inexperience showed in this game.

Defense was game:

Yes, the Dolphins moved the ball. It had 422 total yards, 322 in the air. And, yes, the Dolphins shot themselves in the foot often. But the Las Vegas defense was game, taking advantage of three turnovers. The Raiders’ defense made some big stops in the second half and had a fourth-and-goal stop. It kept Las Vegas in the game, but the offense had no answers.

Where is the running game?

The Raiders ran the ball in their two wins under Pierce. That didn’t happen Sunday. Josh Jacobs had just 39 yards rushing on 14 carries. in the past two games, Jacobs, who has been mostly quiet this season, had 214 rushing yards on 53 carries. The Raiders have to go back to that formula next week at home against Kansas City.

Hill strikes again:

Tyreek Hill continued his Raiders’ killer ways. he had 146 yards on 10 catches and a touchdown in which he went into warp speed. A hand injury hampered him for awhile, but he had a big overall day against the Raiders as he often has had when he was with Kansas City from 2016-21.

Ball bounces well early:

The Dolphins had a scoop and score on a fumble recovery for a touchdown on the first possession of the game. But a review showed tight end Michael Mayer didn’t have control of the ball. Then, on the next drive, Las Vegas linebacker Luke Masterson forced Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa to fumble deep in Miami territory and the the Raiders turned it into a 3-0 lead. The Raiders got another fumble recovery late in the first half. The Raiders were only able to turn the two Miami fumbles in their territory into six points, though.

O’Connell’s turnovers continue:

Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw three more interceptions. It has been a problem for the fourth-round pick from Purdue. He has thrown six interceptions in just over four games played. He has had some nice moments, but he has to fix this issue if he wants to be considered to be the starter of the future.

AFC East slate is over:

This game concluded the Raiders’ season against AFC East competition. They went 2-2 with two home wins against New England and the Jets and road defeats at Buffalo and Miami.

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Miami Dolphins
Hunter Renfrow
Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Renfrow production:

Forgotten slot receiver Hunter Renfrow had five catches for 42 yards. It was a season high in both areas. It wasn’t a ton of production, but for a player who had a total of 13 catches for 129 yards in the first 10 games, it’s something to build on.

Hobbs starts outside:
Raiders’ starting nickel cornerback Nate Hobbs started on the outside and Tyler Hall played nickel. They then moved Hobbs back to the slot and played rookie Jakorian Bennet on the outside. This all just shows so much better depth this team has at cornerback this season. Hobbs had a nice game. He made a big stop on fourth and goal and then forced a fumble.

First adversity for Pierce:

It had been nothing but smiles and victory cigars for the Raiders under Pierce until Sunday. Let’s see how this team reacts to a tough day going into a game the Raiders must win if they want to stay relevant in the playoff chase as November football ends with the Chiefs game.