Raiders winners and losers in OT victory vs. Dolphins

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Suddenly, the Raiders are the most entertaining show in Las Vegas.

Coach Jon Gruden’s squad beat the Dolphins in an overtime thriller on Sunday, 31-28, after Las Vegas fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter. The Raiders stormed back with 25 unanswered points and overcame late-game adversity to get the victory.

Las Vegas’ win put its record at 3-0, the first such mark for the Raiders since 2002. The franchise just so happens to have gone to the Super Bowl that season.

But it’s hard to imagine the Raiders making it to the Super Bowl playing as they did on Sunday. They got the win, but just barely after they had gained a decisive lead in the fourth quarter. Still, it was a huge victory. Here are the players that made the largest impact for the better and for the worse.

Winners

Casey Hayward Jr.

The Raiders’ march to victory started with an incredible play by Las Vegas’ starting cornerback. With the Dolphins still holding a 14-0 lead and in the shadow of their own goalpost on offense, Hayward instinctively jumped on a foolish pass attempt by Miami.

The Dolphins’ receiver was in the end zone when he caught the ball, and Hayward pounced with a textbook tackle for a Raiders safety. The Raiders scored a field goal after Miami’s free-kick, closing the score to 14-5.

It was a historic moment, too. According to Pro Football Reference, it was the first such safety to be recorded in their database, since it was a pass play without a fumble or penalty.

Alec Ingold

Fullback Alec Ingold caught quarterback Derek Carr’s first touchdown of the day, but before that, he had to play hero at the goal line for a completely different reason.

As the Raiders offense drove down the field still down 14-5, they gave the ball to running back Peyton Barber up the middle. He fumbled, and after the football was flung into the air, Ingold swooped in and caught it, falling forward and nearly scoring himself.

One play later, Ingold caught his touchdown on a play-action pass to the right side of the offense, and the Raiders’ comeback had picked up some real steam.

Peyton Barber

When starting running back Josh Jacobs’ health started to become an issue after Week 1, most assumed RB Kenyan Drake would get the majority of carries in his place. Gruden said no, it would be the newly-acquired Barber. Most scoffed at the notion, myself included.

But Barber had an incredible 23 carries on Sunday for 111 yards and a touchdown. His 27-yard run in overtime was crucial, coming right after a 34-yard catch by wide receiver Bryan Edwards. The big plays helped set up a game-winning field goal from Daniel Carlson in the extra frame.

Losers

Kenyan Drake

Drake didn’t have a terrible day for Las Vegas, gaining 24 yards on eight carries to go with 33 receiving yards. But he was playing against the team that drafted him and was outdone by Barber.

It worked out just fine for the Raiders, but you’ve got to figure that Dolphins partisans observed Drake on the field and on the sideline and thought they weren’t missing much after moving on from their former running back. Especially if they look at Drake’s eyebrow-raising salary.

Andre James

The Raiders’ new starting center continues to have issues. If it’s not poor blocks or holds, it’s complications with snapping the ball.

His high shotgun snap to Carr stymied a promising Raiders drive when Las Vegas was still down 14-0 in the first quarter. Carr recovered the football on a fortunate bounce but had to throw the ball away and was called for intentional grounding.

James has to solve his snapping issues, fast. If he’s going to struggle to block, it’s the least he can do for Carr and Gruden.

Zay Jones

This is supposed to be Zay Jones’ year. It started out that way when he caught the game-winning touchdown Week 1, but since then, he hasn’t done much at all on offense. On Sunday against the Dolphins, Jones had just a single catch on one target from Carr.

The Raiders had plenty of other receivers who stepped up, such as Edwards, Henter Renfrow, Henry Ruggs III and Darren Waller, but it would be nice for Jones to have a breakout game, especially with all the vocal support he receives from Carr and Gruden.

But most importantly for Las Vegas, Carr and Gruden weren’t losers this week. Carr threw a pick-6 in the first quarter and Gruden went for it on 4th-and-1 deep in his own territory on the ensuing drive. The play failed, and Miami was off and running to its 14-0 lead soon thereafter.

The Raiders came back, however, and are 3-0 for the first time in 19 years. They’re also 2-0 at Allegiant Stadium in 2021, with each win an entertaining overtime thriller, perfect for Las Vegas.

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