Rick Scuteri / Associated Press
Published Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 | 2 a.m.
Updated Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021 | 4:53 p.m.
They never make it easy on themselves.
That’s what Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said after the team’s season-opening win over the Ravens at Allegiant Stadium, and it’s a statement that could apply just as easily to their second home game of the year. Las Vegas blew a two-score lead to Miami in the final 10 minutes of regulation today and then allowed a 4th-and-20 conversion in overtime to help prolong the game but recovered from both to win 31-28.
The Raiders are now 3-0 for the first time since 2002 when they reached the Super Bowl.
They marched right down the field after winning the overtime coin toss but stalled at the 20-yard line, leaving kicker Daniel Carlson to make a 38-yard field goal that looked like it would be the game-winner for a moment.
Las Vegas’ defense had Miami backed up to its own 15-yard line on the next possession, but Dolphins quarterback Jacoby Brissett hit Mike Gesicki with a 27-yard fourth-down converting pass. Jason Sanders made a 50-yard field goal a few minutes later, knotting the game up at 28-28.
Las Vegas got the ball back with just less than three minutes remaining and quarterback Derek Carr was able to engineer a game-winning drive. He hit Bryan Edwards with a 34-yard completion, and then running back Peyton Barber broke loose for a 27-yard rush to get into sure field goal range.
Carlson hit an 22-yard field goal with no time left on the clock for the real game-winner.
Carr kept up his torrid, NFL-leading pace to start the season with 386 passing yards by completing 26 of 43 attempts and throwing for two touchdowns. Barber, poached off of Washington’s practice squad less than a month ago, had a breakout game in relief of the injured Josh Jacobs in picking up 111 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Barber dove over a pile at the goal line from 1-yard out at 13:50 of the fourth quarter to give the Raiders 25 unanswered points and a 25-14 lead. Alec Ingold and Hunter Renfrow had also caught touchdown passes as part of the onslaught.
But the Raiders turtled up from there, which allowed the Dolphins to come back in a game where they were statistically outgunned throughout. Las Vegas had a 497-330 yardage edge.
The Dolphins’ first two touchdowns were a direct result of Raiders’ mistakes, as Elandon Roberts first returned an interception 85 yards for a touchdown. Then, the Raiders went for a 4th-and-1 deep in their own territory but got stuff, leaving a short field that allowed Malcolm Brown to break free for a relatively short 18-yard touchdown run.
Las Vegas is now tied with Denver atop the AFC West standings, and starts divisional play next week against the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football.
Check back to lasvegassun.com later for more coverage and read below for live updates from the game.
End of regulation
Las Vegas got conservative too soon, and now must win its second straight overtime game at Allegiant Stadium to get to 3-0 on the year.
The Raiders’ offense went three-and-out on two straight drives to end the game, and the Dolphins took advantage, tying the game at 25-25. Jacoby Brissett dove into the end zone with two seconds remaining and completed an ensuing two-point conversion attempt with a pass to Will Fuller.
The final scoring drive was 13 plays and 82 yards for the Dolphins. The Raiders still hold a big statistical edge overall on the afternoon but have made too many costly mistakes to force overtime.
Miami makes it a one-score game
Don’t get too comfortable yet.
Miami only trails by a touchdown, 25-17, after a 46-yard field goal from Jason Sanders with 8:34 to play in the game. A missed extra-point by Las Vegas kicker Daniel Carlson after Barber’s touchdown run could loom large.
Raiders go up two scores
Make it back-to-back touchdown drives for the Raiders’ offense.
Peyton Barber dove over a pile at the 1-yard line to give Las Vegas a two-score lead over Miami with 13:47 to play at Allegiant Stadium. “Rai-ders” chants after are ringing out loudly after an 11-play, 94-yard scoring drive that featured the emergence of Barber.
The depth running back, whom the Raiders picked up off of the Washington Football Team’s practice squad, has 89 combined rushing and receiving yards and a touchdown. Derek Carr is also keeping up his torrid passing pace with 301 yards through the air by completing 22 of 35 passes.
Raiders score on opening drive of second half
Hunter Renfrow scored his first touchdown of the season to put the Raiders up 19-14 over Dolphins midway through the third quarter.
The Raiders’ touchdown drive went 67 yards on nine plays in 5:16 of game time after they forced a three-and-out on the Dolphins’ opening possession of the third quarter. The only bad news for Raiders’ fans is, Henry Ruggs went down with what appeared to be a knee injury after a seven-yard rush.
His return is questionable.
Raiders cutting into gap at halftime
Las Vegas has registered the game’s last three scores, but still sits behind Miami 14-12 just inside the first half’s two-minute warning.
Alec Ingold just secured Las Vegas’ first touchdown, catching a 1-yard pass from Derek Carr after a 9-play, 95-yard drive that lasted just more than six minutes. The Raiders have dominated the box score against the Dolphins in the first half, outgaining the visitors 218 to 90, but an early pick-six and failed fourth-down conversion gave the road team a pair of touchdowns.
Henry Ruggs has been a standout for the Raiders, hauling in three passes for 62 yards including two catches of more than 20 yards on the touchdown drive.
Raiders get field goal to go with safety
Daniel Carlson stayed perfect on the season, knocking through a 50-yard field goal to get the Raiders within single digits of the Dolphins.
It’s 14-5 in favor of Miami at Allegiant Stadium. Las Vegas continued to struggle on the offensive line in its first drive of the second half, with Derek Carr taking a sack on the last play before the field goal attempt.
Carr has gone 9-for-18 passing overall with 129 yards and an interception returned for a touchdown.
Raiders get on the board
The Raiders’ first points of the game came from a….safety. They now trail 14-2.
The Dolphins were backed up to the final inches of the field after an unnecessary roughness penalty at the 1-yard line on a punt return. To get some breathing room, they attempted a quick screen from Jacoby Brissett to Jaylen Waddle but Casey Hayward Jr. was there to stuff it well into the end zone.
Las Vegas now has the ball back after a free kick at the start of the second quarter where they must try to revive an offense that’s already made its fair share of mistakes.
Dolphins score second touchdown
There are a lot of Dolphins’ fans today at Allegiant Stadium, and therefore, there’s a lot of celebration going on Allegiant Stadium.
Miami now leads 14-0 with three minutes to go in the first quarter after an 18-yard touchdown run from Malcolm Brown. The Dolphins stuffed the Raiders on 4th-and-1 from their own 31-yard line to set up the quick scoring drive.
Pick six puts Dolphins on board first
The Raiders were in position to score first, on their second drive of the day, and then disaster struck.
The offensive line failed to pick up a blitz, and Derek Carr flung an ill-advised pass that Elandon Roberts returned 85 yards for a touchdown. The Dolphins lead 7-0 early in the first quarter.
The turnover ended what had been a good drive from Carr with long completions to Hunter Renfrow and Brian Edwards. Las Vegas went three-and-out on its first possession before the turnover.
Josh Jacobs will miss his second straight game today against the Dolphins.
He led the list of the Raiders’ just-released inactives after coach Jon Gruden designated him as doubtful going into the weekend with toe and ankle injuries. For the second straight week, Peyton Barber and Kenyan Drake will split up Jacobs’ duties in the backfield with the former likely getting more carries and the latter more involved in the passing game.
Practice squad rookie running back Trey Ragas was also elevated to the 53-man roster this week. The Raiders’ other inactives are safety Dallin Leavitt, safety Roderic Teamer, defensive end Malcolm Koonce, tackle Jackson Barton, tight end Nick Bowers and defensive tackle Damion Square.
Leavitt and Teamer are both dealing with injuries, leaving open the possibility that rookie safety Tyree Gillespie could see more snaps against the Dolphins. The Raiders’ offensive line is also in disarray, though it showed less on the inactive list after they moved Richie Incognito to injured reserve earlier this week.
• Who: Dolphins (1-1) at Raiders (2-0)
• When: 1:05 p.m.
• Where: Allegiant Stadium
• TV: CBS Channel 8
• Radio: Raider Nation Radio 920 AM, KOMP 92.3
• Betting line: Raiders -4, over/under: 48.5
Atonement is on Las Vegas’ agenda when Miami becomes the surprising first opponent to visit Allegiant Stadium twice today. The Dolphins played in the final game at Allegiant last year and celebrated the occasion by all but eliminating the home team from playoff contention with a 26-25 victory in the final second. Las Vegas led most of the game and went up 25-23 with 19 seconds remaining off a Daniel Carlson field goal. But an ensuing heave by-then Miami quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick while his head was being twisted via a Raiders’ face-mask penalty put the Dolphins in position for a game-winning field goal. Raiders coach Jon Gruden looked back on the defeat as “heart-breaking,” “gut-wrenching,” and “disgusting” this week. Quarterback Derek Carr said the memory should help keep the team focused on the task at hand instead of being happy with their pair of upset victories over Baltimore and Pittsburgh to start the season. If the Raiders can realize the vengeance they seek this week, they’ll start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2002.
Favorable matchup: Raiders’ defense vs. Jacoby Brissett
With Dolphins starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa out with fractured ribs, backup Jacoby Brissett will make his first start of the year. Brissett struggled when pressed into action in a 35-0 loss to the Bills last week, and the Raiders’ defense doesn’t look like it will provide much of a respite based on its performance in the first two weeks. Las Vegas’ pass rush, led by defensive ends Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue, has been among the best in the NFL. Miami’s offensive line, on the other hand, hasn’t protected well, sitting 30th in the NFL with a 11.4% adjusted sack rate. The Raiders’ defensive backfield also appears to have made major improvements, with free agent acquisition Casey Hayward Jr. currently the top-graded cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. Brissett has proven to be a serviceable quarterback throughout a six-year NFL career, but the Dolphins built their offense around Tagovailoa this offseason, so some drop-off can be expected.
Problematic matchup: Myles Gaskin vs. Raiders’ defense
“There’s a lot of people paid a lot of money for the Twitter hits and YouTube videos and encourage you to feed your mind with negativity and I don’t really care about that stuff. I’m at the point now where I like to feed the birds, I like to go fishing and I like to have a good time and I’m going to have a good time coaching.” — Gruden goes on a tangent when asked about his keeping his team focused after a 2-0 start to the season
• • •
“My nephews are always sending me, ‘Oh look at this guy’s Madden rating, you guys should go after him.’ I’m like, ‘Don’t look at that crap. That stuff is lying to you.’” — Carr taking issue with Howard’s 91 Madden rating
• • •
“I actually played against myself in fantasy (last) week. That was tough because I had a tough loss. I definitely contributed to that.” — Carlson on last week’s 4-for-4 kicking performance
• • •
“They should listen to me. I’ve got a lot of wisdom. I’ve got a lot of accolades. I’ve got some Super Bowls under my belt. In Year 11, I have a lot of insight and knowledge. I’ve seen a lot of football.” -Wright on how his teammates have quickly taken to his advice
Miami’s top running back hasn’t been a big factor in the Dolphins’ first two games, but if last year’s Las Vegas trip is any indication, this could be a get-right spot. Gaskin had a career night in gaining 169 combined rushing and receiving yards with two touchdowns last time against the Raiders. Much has changed with Las Vegas’ defense, but its weakness in defending running backs in the pass game may remain. It’s a small sample, but the Raiders rank 28th in defending running backs as receivers, according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings. That’s largely because they gave up five receptions, including a 25-yarder for a touchdown, to Pittsburgh’s Najee Harris in last week’s 26-17 victory. Stopping Gaskin has become something of a personal mission for Las Vegas linebacker K.J. Wright. The former Seahawk has spent the past couple of offseasons working out and developing a friendship with Gaskin, a Seattle native and University of Washington graduate. Bragging rights are on the line in this game for when this year’s offseason training begins.
Gamebreaker: Wide receiver Henry Ruggs III
Ruggs quite literally broke open the Steelers’ game last week with a 61-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter. He had four other receptions, for a total of 113 yards, and there’s no reason to believe he can’t keep living up to his status as the Raiders’ No. 1 receiver. After an inauspicious start in Week 1 against Baltimore, Ruggs came on in the fourth quarter and hasn’t slowed down since. He could face a tough matchup against Xavien Howard, whom Carr called the best cornerback in the league this week, but maybe not if the Dolphins deploy him like they did last year. Howard spent a lot of time covering tight end Darren Waller in December, allowing then-top Las Vegas receiver Nelson Agholor to go off for 155 yards and a touchdown. Ruggs will likely be running most of those routes this time around, leaving open the possibility of another big game for the second-year player.
Big Number: 24.
That’s the Dolphins’ streak of games having forced at least one turnover, the longest active streak in the NFL. Howard led the NFL with 10 interceptions last year, and the Dolphins also recovered 10 fumbles. Statistical studies have shown that turnovers, especially fumble recoveries, are far more random than conventional wisdom indicates and tend to regress to the mean. But there’s often a team or two that emerge as outliers and buck the trend. The New England Patriots under Bill Belichick were one such team for years, and perhaps second-year Miami coach Brian Flores learned a trick or two after 10 years as an assistant in the organization. Or maybe luck is evening out this year, as Miami is neutral in turnover margin through two games, as opposed to its +9 figure last year. Las Vegas has gone from -11 in 2020 to +2 in its first two games this year.
Best Bet (1-1): Myles Gaskin over 39.5 rushing yards
No disrespect to Wright, but Gaskin should be able to break through the Las Vegas defensive front on a few occasions. Miami’s offensive line is better suited to run block, and there are still questions surrounding how well Las Vegas will fare against ground games season. Although he’s only gotten 14 carries on the year with game states conspiring against him, Gaskin has done well with the small workload, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. This is a good buy-low opportunity on a talented player who’s had success against the Raiders in the past.