DOLPHINS 26 RAIDERS 25
The Las Vegas Raiders are now eliminated from the postseason following their loss to the Miami Dolphins on a last-second field goal. Vegas’ playoff hopes were already longshot odds entering Saturday’s game as they would’ve had to beat the Dolphins while needing the help of the New York Giants defeating the Baltimore Ravens, and Week 17 results of winning their game against the Denver Broncos, Ravens losing to the Cincinnati Bengals and the Dolphins to lose to the Buffalo Bills. Previously in Oakland prior to the 2020 season, the NFL franchise has not been to the playoffs since 2002 where they defeated the New York York Jets in the divisional round 30-10 before advancing all the way to Super Bowl XXXVII where they ultimately lost 21-48 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Defense for the Silver & Black has played a major part in their losing four out of their last five games allowing an average of 36.0 PPG but against the Dolphins offense led by rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailia for three quarters, they only allowed 6 total points for the 1st half and a receiving touchdown to running back Myles Gaskins in the 3rd quarter.
In a surprising move ‘Fins head coach Brian Flores benched Tua in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick for the 4th quarter. At the time of his benching, Tagovailia was 17-for-22 for 94 yards and 1 touchdown but the offense struggled on his nine led drives to produce touchdowns aside from his lone TD pass to Gaskins.
“We just felt like we needed a spark, trying to win the game”
Dolphins head coach Brian Flores
In opposite of his alter ego FitzTragic, FitzMagic was on in full display after his #14 was called into the game in the 4th quarter for the Dolphins. In his three drives for the ‘Fins offense Fitzpatrick was 9-of-13 for 182 yards and 1 touchdown. He was given the final 19 seconds of the game down 23-25 to get the team down the field in position for a game-winning score. In one magical play from their own 25-yard line, Fitzpatrick while being dragged down by his facemask completed a 41-yard pass to wide receiver Mack Hollins. The facemask penalty atop of the completion yardage moved the ball to the Las Vegas 26-yard line, putting them in position to set up a game-winning kick with :01 remaining in regulation.
“I didn’t know it was complete. My head was getting ripped off.”
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr who has 23 career game winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime would not chalk up his 24th in the contest. In the final 2 minutes Vegas drove all the way down to the Miami 1-yard line but purposely chose to run down the clock to kick a go-ahead field goal to go up 25-23. Running back Josh Jacobs, to the chagrin of his Fantasy Football owners, went down on the 1-yard line on purpose to keep the clock running instead of going in for the touchdown. That was followed by a Carr kneel-down on 3rd-and-goal to set up a kicker Daniel Carlson 22-yard field goal with :19 seconds left in the game.
“I don’t regret it one bit. I just regret the results.”
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden
The high scoring offense for Las Vegas had a tough task against the stout Miami Dolphins defense that has allowed the fewest points per game average in the NFL at 18.4 PPG. They did their damage through the air as they only ran as a team for 104 total yards on the ground. Derek Carr was 21-of-34 for 336 yards and 1 touchdown while also rushing for a 1-yard TD. Tight End Darren Waller had another spectacular game for the Raiders catching 5 receptions 112 yards, those catches earned him the team’s single season-record of most receptions by a TE in Raiders franchise history with 95 total on the year with 1 game left to play. Wide Receiver Nelson Agholor had his third 100+ receiving yard game of the season with 5 receptions for 155 yards which included an electric 85-yard touchdown reception which put the Raiders up 22-16.
The (10-5) Miami Dolphins look to clinch a playoff berth with a win against the Buffalo Bills
The (7-8) Las Vegas Raiders will travel to Denver to play the Broncos in a division game to close out their season.
Image: Las Vegas Raiders (2020, December 27). Full game highlights – Raiders vs. Dolphins – Week 16. Retrieved December 27, 2020, from https://www.raiders.com/video/full-game-highlights-raiders-vs-dolphins-week-16-2020-primetime