Miami Gardens, FL-The game started out with players slipping and sliding on the wet turf as the Dolphins and Raiders collectively couldn’t run or get a push.
The turf at Hard Rock stadium has been replaced 4 times this season (per Michelle Tafoya of NBC Sports) and after the Miami Hurricanes playing nearly every week at home, it’s not playable nor viable come game day.
Early in the game, the Miami Dolphins managed to surrender an early baseball score of a lead 6-3 after playing a poor first half.
Kudos for the Dolphins to answer the Raiders back with a nice drive of their own.
Shame on Miami kicker Cody Parkey for kicking the extra point sending it off the left upright.
Down 13-9 at the half, the pluses and minuses could be read on the reaction from Mike Tannenbaum as he filled out some type of sheet while the cameras panned over to him and Stephen Ross.
Tannenbaum, as you know has been here before with the Jets and if the nudge by Ross to stop writing and look up at the cameras means anything, we won’t know until a certain Miami reporter breaks news on Monday.
While the Dolphins offense has struggled for weeks bouncing between an offensive identity crisis, the defense couldn’t seem to catch a break with early shots fired by the Raiders signal caller Derek Carr who found a security blanket in Jared Cook.
Carr finished the game 21-28 with 2 TDs and 1 INT.
Cook was well over 100 yards in the first half and was just enough to spell the early rush attempts that went nowhere by Marshawn Lynch.
Cook provided enough body blows to the Dolphins secondary in order to have the Raiders take shots downfield finding Hilton deep for a touchdown after safety Reshad Jones mistimed the jump and the Dolphins quickly lost the lead 10-6.
After the Dolphins and Raiders traded field goals, the Dolphins found themselves down only 13-9 at the half.
The Dolphins are the best second half team in the NFL.
Correction, the Dolphins were the best second half team in the NFL and not even 15 more points were enough.
The calls for the Dolphins to snap out of it came late in the third quarter with a Cutler to Landry Touchdown pass making it 20-16.
Earlier in the game, Cody Parkey missed a makable extra point hitting the left upright.
Surely, trailing 20-16, the Dolphins would close out the game in dramatic fashion.
Enter the man formerly known as Beast Mode-Marshawn Lynch who shouldered the load for 57 yards on 14 carries and 2 Touchdowns.
Sadly, the Dolphins strength, their ability to stop the run showed their age and wears as they succumbed to the big and bruising Raiders offensive line. The Raiders line pushed the Dolphins defensive front backwards and owned the trenches deep into the game.
In the end, too little too late-the Dolphins caught a break with a nice touch pass from Cutler to DeVante Parker and then another Cutler pass, this time to Julius Thomas, his first touchdown pass.
Cutler on the season is 10 touchdowns to 5 interceptions and tonight his three touchdowns showed what the Dolphins can do in spite of this week’s trade of Jay Ajayi who found the end zone for the first time this season.
Cutler finished the night with 34-42 with 311 yards and 3 TDs.
Despite the negativity of the fan base, the Dolphins got back to work and went with their two headed monster-Kenyan Drake 69 yards on 9 carries and 47 yards receiving-1TD for Damian Williams despite 7 carries for 14 yards.
At this point, the Dolphins find themselves at 4-4. They are 4-4 heading into a long stretch of games where the impossible will have to happen versus the Bills (2 games) and Patriots (2 games).
The only thing left to say at this point is we’re on to Carolina next week on Monday Night Football-another road contest and another opportunity for Adam Gase to continue to motivate and grow this Dolphins team.
There are no moral victories, but the morale of this Dolphins team showed they can play all out until the end as they did tonight.