2020 Las Vegas Raiders: Better record, same disappointing result

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /
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Paul Guenther was fired in-season. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Paul Guenther was fired in-season. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

Raiders fire Paul Guenther

It is very rare to see coaches fired on a short week, but Gruden made an executive decision following the Colts game and fired Paul Guenther. Guenther had clearly worn out his welcome in Las Vegas, and a case could have been made that he should have been terminated before the season beginning.

The hardest of the losses late in the season was a must-win game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday night. During that game, Carr injured his groin early in the first half, and backup Marcus Mariota stepped in nicely. He put the team in a position to win, but once again, poor play-calling reared its ugly head late in the game.

After the loss to Los Angeles, the Raiders had a long week to plan, recover and prepare for the Miami Dolphins, who boasted the league’s highest-rated pass defense. Carr returned as the starter following the groin injury that sidelined him the week prior, and he looked poised to take on the Dolphins.

The Raiders’ defense had improved significantly in terms of fluidity and tackling under interim defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli, and the Raiders were extremely efficient in moving the ball. Where the Raiders lacked efficiency was in the red zone, oftentimes Gruden would call designed rollouts which only left tight end Jason Witten open, instead of opting for more creative plays using Darren Waller or Foster Moreau.

The Raiders defense took a step back when in the fourth quarter, rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was benched for veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick led the dolphins down the field to score a field goal to tie the game. From there, Carr connected quickly with Nelson Agholor, who in a career yea,r led all Raiders wide receivers in yards responded and added another touchdown, but kicker Daniel Carlson, who had been clutch all season missed the extra point.

The Dolphins struck fast and scored in three plays giving the Raiders time to drain the clock and go in for a final score. The Raiders made it to the red zone, where Gruden instructed the team not to score a touchdown, and they took a field goal with 19 seconds left on the clock. The Dolphins needed a miracle to win the game, and the miracle came in the form of an Arden Key face mask and blown cover-2 scheme (the same one we saw the previous week against the Chargers)