Antonio Pierce - Stud
We talked about the potential end of the honeymoon stage with head coach Antonio Pierce, and many predicted the Raiders would get blown off the field against Miami. Instead, Pierce and the coaching staff had the team well-prepared, and they fought until the very last second of the game.
Pierce chose to travel to Miami on Saturday instead of earlier in the week, a departure from the norm, but it didn't seem to negatively impact the team—they looked fresh and ready to go right from the opening kickoff.
One of the criteria for Antonio Pierce to secure the job long-term is late-game decision-making. There were two decisions in particular that made sense from an aggression standpoint but, perhaps with hindsight, could have gone the other way. The first was with 8:30 left in the game when the Raiders reached the Miami 30, facing a fourth and three.
Down by only seven points at the time, they could have opted for a field goal to cut the Miami lead to four. Instead, they went for it on fourth and 3 and turned the ball over on downs.
Five minutes later the Raiders faced a similar situation on the Miami 24, and rather than kicking another field goal, they went for it, resulting in an interception in the backfield. While it's great to see coaches being aggressive, in a close and tight game like this, perhaps taking the points when given the chance would have been the right decision. If the Raiders had kicked two field goals in those situations, all they would have needed was another field goal to win the game when driving down the field after the two-minute warning.
Hindsight is 20/20, and we can't completely fault Pierce for his aggression. Instead, let's take it as a learning moment and move on to Kansas City.