Patriots

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

raiders_dolphins_derek_carr_110517.jpg

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.

SURPRISE TARGET

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.

BEAT THE CLOCK

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.

MIXED BAG

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.

HOT POTATO

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.

INJURIES

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.

UP NEXT

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.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Jerod Mayo breaks down the best way for Patriots to attack Jaguars defense

quickslantspodcast.png

QUICK SLANTS THE PODCAST: Jerod Mayo breaks down the best way for Patriots to attack Jaguars defense

Jerod Mayo talks with Tom E. Curran and Phil Perry about the Patriots AFC Championship matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

(2:00) Jerod Mayo gives his X’s and O’s breakdown of the Jaguars defensive schemes and traits.

(5:00) Jerod gives his opinion on how the Patriots offense should attack the Jaguars defense.

(8:30) Could Gronkowski be the key to the Patriots offense? What would be the best way to use him?

(15:00) Does the Jaguars defense have a weakness against vertical routes?

(17:00) Jerod Mayo explains why James White could be a key once again for the Patriots. 

(21:00) Will Jaguars change their defensive scheme after allowing 42 to the Steeler?

(23:00) Will much will the Jaguars having the ‘nothing to lose’ mindset impact the game?

Replacing Patriots coordinators not easy, but 'the culture is built'

josh-mcdaniels-matt-patricia.jpg

Replacing Patriots coordinators not easy, but 'the culture is built'

FOXBORO -- The Patriots are looking at losing both coordinators, Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels, to head coaching jobs in the near future. When it happens, that will prompt questions. What's next? How will this impact the on-the-field product? What about the culture?

The short answer: As long as Bill Belichick is around, the Patriots will be the Patriots. The expectations. The culture. The schemes. They all remain. 

"I mean, I believe so," said Patriots captain Duron Harmon. "The culture is built. The culture is built. This is two decades of winning. A winning franchise. Coach Belichick is going to make sure whoever is in the defensive room is going to be the right guy to display the message and the picture that he wants his defense to play with. That goes through the defensive coordinator, whoever he hires."

That's not to say that filling the coordinator job on either side of the football will be easy. Consistency at those positions has value, whether it's in how new players pick up the system, or how certain fundamentals are taught. 

"Whenever you're trying to get something done professionally, to be able to have consistent leadership and foundation upon which to build is important," Patriots captain Matthew Slater said. "A consistent message, understanding what you're trying to get done. And we're fortunate not only with Josh but obviously Coach Belichick and the rest of our coaching staff.

"That consistency with the character of the coach, with the message of the coach, with what he demands of you is important because it helps set a standard. And then when players come in you say, 'OK this is what's expected of me and anything less is not going to be good enough.' " 

Harmon acknowledged that the consistency of having one coordinator in place for several years -- both Patricia and McDaniels have held their titles since 2012 -- can help. But, as just Slater pointed out the consistency coming from the team's head coach, Harmon explained that everything starts with Belichick.

"It's important," Harmon said of having consistency on staff. "Not only is it important coming from the defensive coordinator, but it's important coming from the head coach. Coach Belichick does a great job of always portraying the message he wants, and how he wants his team to play, and it goes through the coordinators and then to the position coaches and then to the players. I think the consistency is not always built straight from the defensive coordinator. I think Coach Belichick does a great job of doing that as well."

It won't be an easy job to replace McDaniels and Patricia when they leave, particularly since the favorites to be their successors could in theory leave with them. But as long as Belichick remains, so too will the standard he's set.