- Dolphins running backs Kenyon Drake and Damien Williams rushed for a combined 83 yards and added a combined 85 yards and a touchdown through the air against the Raiders, who still don't look quite right.
Three quick thoughts from the Raiders' 27–24 win against the Dolphins.
1. From a competitive standpoint, it’s understandable why the Dolphins were comfortable dealing Jay Ajayi to the Eagles, despite his obvious talents. His one-time understudies, Damien Williams and Kenyan Drake seem capable of duplicating his production and then some, especially when it comes to catching passes out of the backfield. In a game that Miami trailed for much of the second half, Drake rushed for 69 yards on just nine carries and the pair combined for 12 catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. Miami’s biggest shortcoming on offense, outside of an apparent lack of interest in throwing downfield, was offensive line depth. When right tackle Ja’Waun James went down with a hamstring injury, it was open season on Jay Cutler, and a previously quiet Khalil Mack showed up to close out Miami’s comeback hopes.
2. On paper, this looks like a solid win for the Raiders, with 300 yards passing for Derek Carr, a pair of rushing touchdowns for Marshawn Lynch, a breakout game for tight end Jared Cook (eight catches, 126 yards) and a bend-but-don't-break defensive performance. But there’s still something off about a team that was billed as the toast of the AFC West before the season. For one, Amari Cooper is still dropping very catchable footballs in critical situations. On the other side of the ball, the interior of Oakland’s pass defense (which has somehow yet to pick off a pass this season) was gashed repeatedly by Williams, Drake and Julius Thomas, the tight end who caught a season-high six passes for 84 yards and a late touchdown Sunday night.
3. From an effort perspective, Miami appeared to respond well to Adam Gase’s very blunt, blanket criticism of a week ago. Cutler was efficient, if not spectacular, and went 60 minutes without an interception for the first time since a Week 1 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Ultimately, some poor interior line play and a lack of a pass rush made things easy for Lynch in the red zone and Carr in the pocket. It didn’t help that Raiders quarterback Derek Carr pushed the ball downfield aggressively and accurately for what felt like the first time in a long time.