The Las Vegas Raiders survived another overtime with a 31-28 win over the Miami Dolphins, bringing their record to 3-0 on the season.
The Las Vegas Raiders started the season 2-0 a year ago, but this year’s 2-0 team looks like a different group of players ready to make a push for the postseason. Derek Carr in year three with Jon Gruden looks comfortable and in command of the offense, while Gus Bradley has helped lead a legitimate defensive unit in Las Vegas.
With both sides of the ball executing, the Raiders are proving to be a legitimate playoff contender.
The Raiders had the chance to continue their unbeaten season in week three with the Miami Dolphins on deck. The matchup had all the makings of a “trap game,” with starter Tua Tagovailoa being placed on injured reserve and backup Jacoby Brissett starting in his place. Even with the quarterback change, Las Vegas could not afford to take their opponent likely if they hoped to stay atop the AFC West.
Raiders battled back from a rough early start
At the onset, it appeared that the “trap game” narrative was to become a reality. After a passing route miscue between Derek Carr and Foster Moreau, Miami’s defense took advantage of a pick-six to put the Dolphins on the board early. After a subsequent Las Vegas three-and-out, the Dolphins took a 14-0 lead courtesy of a 24-yard Malcolm Brown touchdown run. But the momentum would soon swing back in the Raiders’ favor.
After a safety and subsequent field goal, Carr led a 10-play, 95-yard drive to find Alec Ingold in the endzone. After a missed Dolphins field goal to end the half, the Raiders remained in striking distance trailing only 14-12.
In the second half, Las Vegas kept their foot on the gas pedal and never let off. Carr connected with Ruggs and Renfrow to march the Raiders 72 yards down the field. Carr connected with Renfrow in the endzone to take the lead for the first time, 19-14. After Las Vegas’ defense forced Miami off the field, the Raiders rode an 11-play drive with Peyton Barber finding the endzone for the 25-14 lead.
The Dolphins battled back through the literal last second, with Jacoby Brissett running in for the touchdown and converting the successful two-point conversion with only two seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Las Vegas and Miami traded field goals apiece, until the Raiders were given the final drive of OT. Two clutch passes from Carr to Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards helped bring Las Vegas into field goal position. After a missed PAT early on could have potentially cost the game, Daniel Carlson knocked down the winning field goal to give the Raiders the 31-28 win.
Another week, another overtime thriller for Las Vegas, but the motto is and always will be “Just Win Baby.” This matchup was set up to be a potential trap game, and by the time overtime rolled around, the old Raiders could have easily beat themselves to their first loss of the season. But this team is different, they’re resilient and they stay the course. Now, they remain undefeated with a 3-0 record atop the AFC West.