January 20, 2018

An Ugly Night In Miami

After a horrible defeat in Buffalo, the Raiders headed down to Miami to take on the Dolphins.  Just before the game began, it started to rain.  That was the last thing I wanted to see.  But it was just a passing shower and it didn’t do anything to make the Raiders throw screen passes all night like they did last week.  This game was ugly as the teams combined for 21 penalties for 212 yards.  Yet, somehow the Raiders do better when they are getting flags thrown at them throughout the game.

Just like last week, Carr had lots of time to throw and he was only sacked once.  His favorite target was Jared Cook.  Early in the game, it looked like Cook was the only one who knew how to get open.  Carr found Cook three times for 59 yards and the Raiders managed to get a field goal on their first possession.  But the biggest play of the game was a completion to the seldom used Johnny Holton.  Holton is a speedster who is usually used as a decoy.  But sometimes Carr will throw the ball his way.  On first down from the Miami 44-yard line, Carr put up a bomb and Holton hauled it in for a touchdown.  After he scored, he hopped off the field like he was riding an imaginary pogo-stick.  That’s something you don’t see every day.  Carr completed 21 of 30 passes for 300 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  Cook was the leader in catches and yards.  He finished the game with eight catches for 126 yards.

Last week, I took it easy on the defense.  Due to the offense playing so poorly, I figured they were just worn out.  But, against the Dolphins, the scheme was horrible.  Cutler had all day to throw and he completed 34 of 42 passes for 311 yards and three touchdowns.  Tight end Julius Thomas led the team in catches with six and yards with 84 and a touchdown.  Also, for the ninth consecutive game, the Raiders didn’t pick off a pass.  That is simply mind boggling.

On the ground, the Raiders had absolutely no luck at all early in the game.  Lynch would get carry after carry and run into a brick wall.  Richard and Washington also had some carries and went nowhere.  But, if you keep chipping away, some daylight will appear.  On the first possession of the third quarter, some daylight finally started to appear and Lynch got loose for a gain of 14 yards.  Carr also connected with Cooper for a big gain.  On third and two from the 22, Lynch got the call again and broke free for a touchdown.  Lynch led the team in rushing with 57 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns.  All totaled, the Raiders rushed for 84 yards on 27 carries.

As poorly as the Raiders played against the pass, they did a pretty good job against the run.  With the exception of Kenyan Drake getting loose for a gain of 42 yards, the Dolphins had nowhere to run.  Drake was the leading rusher with 69 yards on nine carries.  As a team, the Dolphins rushed for 86 yards on 18 carries.  I still am wondering why they traded away Jay Ajayi.  It didn’t make much sense.

Towards the end of the game, the Raiders had a relatively comfortable 27-16 lead with 1:54 remaining.  The Dolphins were at their own 17 and needed to get moving.  That’s exactly what they did as the Raiders rushed three and dropped the rest into “coverage.”  A 14-yard pass to Kenny Stills and a roughing the passer penalty on Bruce Irvin moved the ball near midfield.  Two completions to DaVante Parker put them at the 15.  From there, Cutler found tight end Julius Thomas wide open in the end zone.  Drake ran up the middle for a successful two-point conversion and all of a sudden, the score was 27-24.  All the Dolphins could hope for was a successful onside kick.  Their hopes were dashed as Cooper recovered the ball.  Carr took a knee and the Raiders came away with a 27-24 victory.

Hey, a win is a win.  It was a game full of penalties and bad tackling.  Still, I like the fact that they won a road game and Carr took some shots downfield.  They also didn’t give up on the running game.  It was the complete opposite of what happened in Buffalo and their record improved to 4-5.  Since the Broncos got blasted by the Eagles, that put the Raiders in second place in the AFC West.  Up next is a bye week and then another long road trip to Mexico to take on the Patriots.  Until then, take it easy.

The Raider Guy

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