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Dolphins Narrowly Escape Gritty Raiders in Miami, 20-13

The Miami Dolphins (7-3) narrowly escaped the gritty Las Vegas Raiders (5-6) today, 20-13, and for the Silver and Black, they gave all they had.

MIAMI, Fla.--The Las Vegas Raiders went a long way to come up short.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa passed for 324 yards and two touchdowns while leading the Miami Dolphins to a 20-13 victory over the Silver and Black, who have lost five straight games on the road, on Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

Rookie quarterback Aiden O’Connell, who is 2-2 in four NFL starts, had a desperation pass intended for rookie wide receiver Tre Tucker intercepted in the end zone by cornerback Jalen Ramsey with 22 seconds remaining in the game.

“He’s the best corner in the league, man,” Dolphins wide receiveer Tyreek Hill said of Ramsey. “The way he laid out for that last pass just goes to show how much he cares about this team. A lot of guys, they’ll knock it down, they’ll say: ‘Ah, I could land weird.’ The way he just laid out for his team just really shows how he cares about his brothers.”

The Raiders (5-6) lost for the first time in three games under Interim Coach Antonio Pierce, while the Dolphins (7-3) won for the second time in three games after a brief slump following victories in five of their first six games.

"I think offensively, we've got a lot of things to look at and we'll do that," Pierce said afterward. "For our team, I think we fought. ... The defense battled, the special teams played well. We won a play or two back here and there. 

"And again on offense, you're talking about a game of inches, maybe a yard or two on some throws that are explosive for us and we just didn't make it."

Tagovailoa, who completed 28-of-39 passes, hit running back Salvon Ahmed with an 11-yard touchdown pass to put Miami ahead to stay, 14-10, with 2:28 left in the first half, and Jason Sanders added field goals of 41 and 51 yards in the second after missing from 50 yards.

“The job’s not done,” Tagovailoa said. “There’s nothing accomplished being 7-3.”

The Miami Dolphins narrowly escaped the gritty, no-quit Las Vegas Raiders

The Miami Dolphins narrowly escaped the gritty, no-quit Las Vegas Raiders

Earlier, Tagovailoa found wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 38-yard touchdown pass to give the Dolphins a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. The Raiders couldn’t stop Hill, who caught 10 passes for 146 yards, even though he missed part of the game because of a hand injury.

Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle added four receptions for 55 yards, a few to keep the Dolphins’ offense moving when Hill was out of the game, while Raheem Mostert led Miami with 22 carries for 86 of the team’s 99 yards rushing.

O’Connell completed 24-of-41 passes for 271 yards, including a 46-yard touchdown to All-Pro wide Davante Adams to give the Raiders a 7-3 lead with one second left in the first quarter. However, O’Connell also threw three interceptions in the second half, two of the picks Ramsey, as the Silver and Black were scoreless after halftime.

“I’m learning how hard the NFL is and how hard it is to win,” O’Connell said. “Kudos to our defense. They played so well in the second half. They kept us in the game. It comes down to our offense. We have to be better all around, and it starts with me.

“All around, I have to play better passing the ball, decision making, and all that stuff.”

Adams led the Raiders with seven catches for 82 yards and the touchdown, while wide receiver Jacoby Meyers caught four passes for 49, rookie tight end Michael Mayer had four grabs for 46, and wide Hunter Renfrow made five catches for 42 yards.

Running back Josh Jacobs, the NFL's defending rushing champion who rushed for 214 total yards in the last two games, again struggled as the Dolphins held him to only 39 yards on 14 carries, and he caught one pass for 12 yards.

AJ Cole had another outstanding game with six punts for 315 yards, a 52.5-yard average, and two going inside the 20-yard line.

The Raiders played without left tackle Kolton Miller, their best offensive lineman, for the second straight game because of a shoulder injury, and safety Marcus Epps, who had a fumble recovery, left the game in the first half because of a neck injury and did not return.

Miami limited the Raiders to 36 net yards rushing and outgained them 422 yards to 296 while controlling the time of possession, 32:15 to 27:45. The Dolphins did not have to punt even once in the first three quarters.

Even though the Dolphins also had three turnovers, Las Vegas could only convert them into field goals by Daniel Carlson from 34 yards in the first quarter to make it 3-0 and 47 yards with five seconds left in the half to make it 14-13. Carlson has made his last 10 field goal attempts.

Sanders’ two field goals were the only points of the second half as the Raiders defense rose to keep them out of the end zone, but Silver and Black could not score to either go ahead when they had a chance or at least to tie the score.

The Raiders drove into Miami territory on their last three possessions but came up empty every time.

Linebacker Robert Spillane again led the Raiders in tackles with 13, including one for a loss, and barely missed making his fourth interception of the season. At the same time, safety Tre’Von Moehrig had 10 stops, and cornerback Nate Hobbs made eight tackles, one for a loss and one pass breakup.

Safety Isaiah Pola-Mao, who took over for Epps, had seven tackles and an interception, while linebacker Divine Deablo also made seven stops and had a fumble recovery. Defensive end Maxx Crosby had six tackles, with one sack to give 10½ this season.

Cornerback Xadien Howard led the Dolphins with seven tackles, one for a loss, and two passes defended. In comparison, linebacker Jerome Baker also made five tackles, and linebacker Jaelan Phillips had six tackles, two sacks, and a pass interception.

The Silver and Black will return home next week to celebrate Thanksgiving and take on their AFC West rival, the Kansas City Chiefs, on Sunday, Nov. 26, at 4:25 p.m. EST/1:25 p.m. PST.

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