LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Raiders are off to their best start since 2002.
Coach Jon Gruden isn’t about to nitpick about how they’re winning.
Reigning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Daniel Carlson’s 22-yard field goal as time expired in overtime lifted the Raiders to a 31-28 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. It marked the second time in the Raiders’ first three games — both at home — they overcame a two-touchdown deficit to win in overtime. They also did so against Baltimore in Week 1 on a Monday night.
“I don’t apologize for winning these games, no matter how we won them,” Gruden said. “When you’re down 14-0 and score 25 unanswered in the NFL against a team like that, something’s going right.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr found Bryan Edwards for 34 yards before Peyton Barber put together runs of 27 and 8 yards to put Las Vegas on the Miami 11-yard line. That eventually set up the winning score for Carlson, who missed an extra point in regulation and kicked two field goals in the extra frame.
Las Vegas is the first team to open 3-0 against teams that all won 10 or more games the previous season.
Carr, who completed 26 of 43 pass attempts for 386 yards and two touchdowns, used his talented receiving depth for the third straight game. The eight-year veteran completed passes to nine targets, led by Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller, who each had five receptions. Renfrow also scored a touchdown.
With star running back Josh Jacobs sidelined with an ankle injury, recently signed Barber led the rushing game with 111 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.
“I think he did more than just run it — we went to him as our third-down back … he caught a pass out of the backfield, he picked up some blitzes, he was helpful in protection, he didn’t blow any assignments, he ran hard,” Gruden said. “I don’t even hardly know this guy. But I gave him a big hug and a game ball.”
And while the Raiders’ offense outgained Miami 497-330, it was their special teams and defense that ignited the comeback after Miami scored the game’s first 14 points.
One play after Zay Jones raced downfield on a punt to down the ball on the 1-yard line, cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. caught Miami receiver Jaylen Waddle on a screen pass in the end zone for a safety.
“That one little moment of Zay just giving an extra effort, an extra burst, to go pin that ball, I mean that allows us to get two points and get us back going,” Carr said. “He made a huge play for us on the special teams in that moment.”
Carlson booted a 50-yard field goal to get the Raiders within nine. Then, after a defensive stop, Las Vegas drove 95 yards to cut Miami’s lead to 14-12. Fullback Alec Ingold was rewarded by having his number called after recovering Barber’s fumble on the goal line on the previous play.
The Raiders scored on their next two possessions when Carr and Renfrow connected for a 12-yard strike and Barber dived over the pack for a 1-yard touchdown to open a 25-14 lead.
The Dolphins weren’t done, though.
After Miami’s Jason Sanders made it a one-score game with a 46-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter, Jacoby Brissett scrambled on fourth-and-goal for a 1-yard touchdown with :02 left in regulation. Brissett passed to William Fuller for the 2-point conversion, forcing overtime.
The teams exchanged field goals in overtime before Carlson’s winner. The Dolphins elected to kick a field goal on fourth-and-2 from the Las Vegas 32. That tied the game with 2:49 remaining, but Miami never got the ball back.
Brissett, playing in place of injured Tua Tagovailoa, finished 32 of 49 for 215 yards. Waddle led Miami with 12 receptions for 58 yards, while Mike Gesicki hauled in 10 passes for a team-high 86 yards.
“There was definitely a little bit of a lull there in the second and third quarter,” Miami coach Brian Flores said. “We just couldn’t get much going offensively. (Brissett) got a lot more comfortable as the game went on, stepping up in the pocket and making some big throws in the end. Ultimately, it wasn’t enough. We’ve got to play better across the board.”
THICK AS THIEVES
When linebacker Elandon Roberts darted 85 yards for a pick-six touchdown, it extended an NFL-best streak of 25 games with a takeaway for the Dolphins.
Edwards has six catches for 101 yards in regulation this season; he has four catches for 109 yards in overtime. The 109 yards receiving in overtime by Edwards are the most in a season for any player since at least 1991.
Dolphins: host Indianapolis next Sunday.
Raiders: travel to Los Angeles to face the Chargers on Oct. 4.
KICKOFF: Dolphins win toss and defer to second half. Raiders take the opening kickoff. Raiders without RB Josh Jacobs.
FIRST QUARTER: Dolphins linebacker Elandon Roberts intercepts Derek Carr pass and runs 82 yards for TD. DOLPHINS 7, RAIDERS 0, 6:34 left.
Dolphins RB Malcom Brown with 24 yard TD run. DOLPHINS 14, RAIDERS 0, 3:07 left.
Raiders Casey Hayward with a safety on the Dolphins. DOLPHINS 14, RAIDERS 2, with :32 left.
SECOND QUARTER: Raiders Daniel Carlson with a 50 yard FG. DOLPHINS 14, RAIDERS 5, with 11:36 left
Raiders QB Derek Carr to RB Alec Ingold 1 yard TD pass. DOLPHINS 14, RAIDERS 12 with 1:52 left until halftime
THIRD QUARTER: Raiders Derek Carr TD pass to Hunter Renfrow to the right for 12 yard touchdown (Daniel Carlson made PAT). RAIDERS 19, DOLPHINS 12. 7:17 left in third.
FOURTH QUARTER: Raiders RB Peyton Barber rushed up the middle for 1 yard touchdown. RAIDERS 25, DOLPHINS 14. early in quarter.
Dolphins Jason Sanders kicks 46 yard field goal. RAIDERS 25, DOLPHINS 17, 8:00 left in regulation.
Dolphins Jacoby Brissett scores on 2 yard TD run, two point conversion good. RAIDERS 25, DOLPHINS 25, heading to OT.
OVERTIME: Raiders Daniel Carlson with a 38 yard FG, RAIDERS 28, DOLPHINS 25.
Dolphins Jason Sanders kicks a 50 yard FG. RAIDERS 28, DOLPHINS 28.
Raiders Daniel Carlson with 22 yard FG to beat Dolphins in OT. RAIDERS 31, DOLPHINS 28.
This is the pregame story
MIAMI (1-1) at LAS VEGAS (2-0)
Sunday, 1:05 p.m. PDT, CBS, 8NewsNow
OPENING LINE: Raiders by 5 1/2, according to FanDuel SportsBook.
AGAINST THE SPREAD: Miami 1-1; Las Vegas 2-0.
SERIES RECORD: Raiders lead 20-19-1.
LAST MEETING: Dolphins won at Raiders 26-25 on Dec. 26, 2020.
LAST WEEK: Dolphins lost to Bills 35-0; Raiders beat Steelers 26-17.
DOLPHINS OFFENSE: OVERALL (31), RUSH (27), PASS (30), SCORING (32).
DOLPHINS DEFENSE: OVERALL (15), RUSH (28), PASS (12), SCORING (18).
RAIDERS OFFENSE: OVERALL (1), RUSH (30), PASS (1), SCORING (7).
RAIDERS DEFENSE: OVERALL (16), RUSH (16), PASS (16), SCORING (10).
TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Dolphins even; Raiders plus-2.
DOLPHINS PLAYER TO WATCH: CB Xavien Howard. Howard had an INT and two passes defensed last week after getting a forced fumble and recovering a fumble in the opener. He’s the only player with an INT, forced fumble and fumble recovery this season. Howard is tied with New England’s J.C. Jackson for the most INTs over the past two seasons with 11.
RAIDERS PLAYER TO WATCH: QB Derek Carr. Carr has thrown for 821 yards the first two weeks, the seventh-best total in NFL history. He has at least 375 yards passing and two TDs in both games so far and has topped 300 yards in four straight dating to last season. Rich Gannon has the only longer streak for the Raiders with six straight 300-yard games in 2002.
KEY MATCHUP: Raiders DL vs. Dolphins OL. The Raiders have been one of the best pass-rushing teams early this season led by edge rushers Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue. They have five sacks and have generated consistent pressure in both games. Now they face a Dolphins line that has allowed eight sacks, including six last week.
KEY INJURIES: The Dolphins will be without QB Tua Tagovailoa, sidelined by a rib injury. Jacoby Brissett will start in his place. … OL Jesse Davis and WR Jakeem Grant, who left the Buffalo game with injuries, were back at practice on Wednesday. … WR Will Fuller, who didn’t play in Week 2 for personal reasons, is practicing and the Dolphins expect him to play against the Raiders. … Las Vegas will be without G Richie Incognito (calf) for a third straight week. … RB Josh Jacobs (ankle) is doubtful after missing last week.
SERIES NOTES: The Dolphins have won 10 of 12 in the series, including a last-minute comeback last year in Las Vegas. … Raiders QB Derek Carr has thrown for at least 300 yards in his last three meetings against the Dolphins. … Las Vegas coach Jon Gruden is 2-5 all-time against Miami, winning in the 2000 playoffs for the Raiders and the 2005 regular season for Tampa Bay.
STATS AND STUFF: The Dolphins have been on the losing end of three of the last four shutouts by 35 or more points. … Miami has allowed opponents to convert 62.1% of third downs, the worst mark in the league through two weeks. … The Dolphins are looking to win their first two road games of the season for the first time since 2013. … Miami has two takeaways in each of the first two games of the season, giving the team at least one takeaway in 24 straight games. That’s the longest active streak in the NFL and the longest since New England did it 36 games in a row in 2011-13. … Miami’s Jaylen Waddle has 10 catches for 109 yards and a TD, ranking second among rookies in receptions and third in yards. … The Raiders are looking to become the first team in NFL history to open the season with three straight wins against teams that won at least 10 games the previous year, according to SportRadar. They’re the 22nd of those 38 teams to win the first two after beating Baltimore and Pittsburgh. … The Raiders last started a season 3-0 in 2002, when they went to the Super Bowl. … Las Vegas K Daniel Carlson has made 26 straight FGs. … Las Vegas has three takeaways through three games. The Raiders had three takeaways in their first six games last season. … The Raiders have failed to score on the opening drive in eight straight games with four three-and-outs, two other punts, an INT, and a fourth-down stop. It’s their longest opening-drive drought since a 13-gamer in 2012-13.
FANTASY TIP: Stay away from Raiders running backs even if Jacobs is able to play. Raiders backs are averaging just 2.39 yards per carry behind a makeshift line, the second-lowest mark after two games in franchise history.