Dolphins fall back to .500 after 27-24 loss to Raiders


Dolphins fall back to .500 after 27-24 loss to Raiders

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- Derek Carr's best throw was his longest , a strike launched from midfield that hung in the balmy night air until Johnny Holton settled under it in the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown.

That early score put the Oakland Raiders ahead to stay, and Carr remained on target to help beat the Miami Dolphins 27-24 on Sunday.

Carr went 21 of 30 for 300 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and helped the Raiders convert 8 for 15 third downs.

Oakland (4-5) won for only the second time since Week 2.

"That's what we needed," Carr said. "Guys were on edge this week, a little chippy, including me."

The Dolphins recovered an onside kick and came up with a takeaway when Oakland fumbled twice on a single play, but failed to convert either opportunity into points.

"That was a big deal stopping them there," Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. "An excellent job of putting the fire out."

Oakland also overcame 10 penalties for 105 yards, including three for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter.

The Raiders' Marshawn Lynch, returning from a one-game suspension for shoving an official, scored on a 22-yard run, his longest this year. He added another late score and finished with 57 yards on 14 carries.

Miami (4-4) fell to .500 for the third time this season, and lost a close game for the first time in more than a year. In games decided by seven points or less, the Dolphins had won 12 in a row.

Miami's Jay Cutler, back after missing one game with cracked ribs, completed his first 16 passes and finished 34 for 42 for 311 yards and three scores. His touchdown pass with 1:32 left cut the deficit to three points, but Oakland recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win.

"We've just got to look at the positives," Cutler said. "We did some good things. We're in a good position - 4-4 with a lot of football left to play."

The Dolphins' worst-in-the-NFL offense again struggled to run the ball in its first game since trading running back Jay Ajayi. Replacement Kenyan Drake had a 42-yard run - Miami's longest this year - to set up a touchdown, but he also lost a fumble.

The Dolphins totaled just 86 yards rushing and still don't have a rushing touchdown this season. They were hurt by 11 penalties for 107 yards.

"It seemed like we were going backward there a few times," Cutler said.


Holton outmaneuvered Reshad Jones in the end zone to catch Carr's 44-yard touchdown pass. Holton's celebratory dance was impressive, too - he clasped his hands between his knees and hopped along the sideline.

His only other catch this season was for a 64-yard score.

Carr's favorite target was tight end Jared Cook, who had eight catches for 126 yards.

"He seemed to find a way to get open," Dolphins coach Adam Gase said.


Carr moved the Raiders 42 yards in the final 26 seconds of the first half before Giorgio Tavecchio kicked a 53-yard field goal, the longest of his career, on the final play to put Oakland up 13-9 at halftime.


The Dolphins' Cody Parkey missed an extra point but recovered his own onside kick. Miami failed to take advantage, with Kenyan Drake losing a fumble at the 20. Parkey also made a tackle on a kickoff.


Oakland fumbled twice on one play. When Carr was hit by Ndamukong Suh and coughed up the ball, 330-pound tackle Marshall Newhouse scooped it up and took off. He also fumbled when hit, and Miami's Charles Harris recovered.


Miami: RT Ja'Wuan James went to the locker room midway through the fourth quarter with a left hamstring injury. DT Ndamukong Suh briefly went to the locker room with an unspecified injury but returned to the game and said afterward he was fine.


The Dolphins play their third prime time game in a row when they're at Carolina (6-3) on Monday, Nov. 13.

Following a bye, the Raiders travel to Mexico City to face AFC East leader New England (6-2) on Nov. 19.


Patriots release Shea McClellin

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Patriots release Shea McClellin

Shea McClellin will be blocking kicks for somebody else next season. 

The Patriots announced Monday they've released the veteran linebacker, ending his tenure with the team after two seasons.  ESPN's Field Yates broke the news.

The Pats signed McClellin to a three-year deal prior to the 2016 season, but that was the only season in which he played for the team. McClellin missed all of last season due to injury. Prior to coming to New England, McClellin played four seasons with the Bears, who chose him 19th overall in 2012. 

McClellin's biggest contribution with the Pats came when he blocked a Justin Tucker kick in Week 14 of the 2016 season against the Ravens.

Pinning down the best lesson Vince Wilfork could teach Danny Shelton

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Pinning down the best lesson Vince Wilfork could teach Danny Shelton

When the Patriots traded for Danny Shelton earlier this offseason, sending a 2019 third-rounder to Cleveland in exchange for the defensive tackle, they traded for a player who was already being mentored by one of their own. 

In a conference call with reporters on Monday, Shelton explained that one of his agents put him in touch with former Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork so that Shelton could pick up some tips from one of the best defensive tackles in football of the past 15 years. 

"For me, he’s someone that I still look up to even when he was with the Texans," Shelton said. "I got the opportunity to reach out to him and kind of pick his brain and just learn a couple of tips from him. He’s been really responsive. He’s been a guy that has been really helpful this offseason and I’m looking forward to reaching out more and learning some more from him."

When Shelton was coming out of the University of Washington in 2015,'s Lance Zierlein's "NFL comparison" was Wilfork. Both carried similar builds -- Shelton is now listed at 335 pounds -- and both were viewed as surprisingly good athletes for their body types. Shelton was also viewed as the top two-gapping tackle in the draft that year, which is exactly what the Patriots ask their interior linemen to do. 

Shelton has made good on those projections over the last couple of years. Last season, he was a key part of a Browns defense that ranked fourth against the run by Football Outsiders in terms of DVOA. In 2016, Shelton was ranked by Pro Football Focus as its eighth-best interior lineman against the run. Per PFF, he was second that year -- behind only Damon Harrison -- in terms of the number of run stops he recorded from the interior.

It's clear that Shelton, the No. 12 overall pick three years ago, understands what his strengths are. 

"Honestly, I’m just going to go with whatever Coach [Bill Belichick] wants me to do," Shelton said. "My best feature is stopping the run, so if he wants me to play at a specific position I’ll do it, and I’ll make sure I do my job for the team’s success."

So how can Wilfork help? If he has any tips on how to be a consistent player from the inside in Belichick's system, that could go a long way. Over the course of Wilfork's 13-year career, few defensive tackles were as effective from week to week and year to year. Wilfork played at least 830 snaps in four of his last five seasons with the Patriots (he was injured in 2013), and even during his two seasons with the Texans, he averaged about 600 snaps per year. He made five Pro Bowls with the Patriots and was named a First or Second-Team All-Pro four times.

In what form might Wilfork's advice on consistency be delivered? Would it be nutritional, which was an aspect of his preparation he embraced later in his career? Would it be technique-based? Would it be simply how to take the coaching dispensed inside the walls of Gillette Stadium? 

Shelton, who missed two games last season and played in 469 snaps, doesn't have a long-term contract with the Patriots to be able to prove his worth over multiple years the way Wilfork did. And he may not be asked to take on the myriad roles Wilfork was during his time under Belichick. But if Shelton can pick up some advice from Wilfork on how to stay on the field and how to help the Patriots win on first and second downs, that might make him the team's most valuable offseason addition. 

New England finished the season 20th in rush yards allowed per game, and they were 31st in yards per attempt allowed. In the Super Bowl, with run-stuffing defensive tackle Alan Branch a healthy scratch, the Patriots allowed 6.1 yards per carry to the Eagles on their way to 164 yards rushing. 

Shelton is in the final year of his rookie contract and scheduled to make $2.03 million this season. The Patriots may not be willing to pick up his hefty $11.7 million fifth-year option for 2019, but if he can continue his upward trajectory then maybe the Patriots will work to extend him before the end of the year. 

How Wilfork impacts that trajectory, if at all, remains to be seen. But he's certainly not a bad guy for Shelton to have in his corner as the 24-year-old embarks on life with the Patriots.