Raiders

Three quick takeaways from Raiders' 28-20 loss to Dolphins

Three quick takeaways from Raiders' 28-20 loss to Dolphins

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MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The Raiders held a halftime lead for the third time in three weeks. They let yet another one slip.

That put the Silver and Black in a bind. They aren’t adept getting out of chokeholds.

That, above all else, is why the Raiders haven’t won.

The Silver and Black remain winless after Sunday’s 28-20 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

The Raiders just can’t close, on offense or defense. They are better than 0-3 suggests, but that doesn’t matter at this point. A season that suffered a blow before its start with the Khalil Mack trade still has the Raiders stumbling through three games -- and their season heading downhill fast.

Can they turn things around? Time will tell on that front, but a prolonged winning streak is required to ignite the season. Right now, the Raiders can’t even get the car to start.

Here are three quick takeaways from Sunday’s loss to the Dolphins.

Raiders still can’t finish

The Raiders have struggled mightily to close out games, albeit against tough competition. The offense slowed as Sunday's game wore on, and the defense got beat on a pass from receiver (!!!) Albert Wilson to Jakeem Hunt as the Dolphins took a fourth-quarter lead.

Derek Carr and the Raiders' offense had plenty of time to snatch it back, but the team’s signal-caller threw an interception in the end zone. Two plays later, Albert Wilson took a shovel pass 74 yards to put the Dolphins up two scores with two minutes remaining.

The 2016 Raiders had the fourth-quarter magic, which worked out well in a 12-4 season. That is long gone. They start hot and clearly have solid game plans, but they have struggled to make adjustments late in games, and haven’t executed well enough down the stretch to earn a victory.

As long as this is the case, the Raiders will struggle. Their fans, in turn, will have their hearts broken far too often.

Struggling to break through

The Raiders' offense can move the football. The Silver and Black racks up yards with the best of them but has had trouble crossing the goal line this season. That has been problematic each week, and the trend continued against the Dolphins.

The Raiders could’ve gone up big in the first half, but they only scored one touchdown despite being in the red zone three times. That kept the game close, and a Marshawn Lynch TD run put the team up two scores late in the third quarter. It could’ve been a blowout by then, if the Raiders converted on proper chances. Instead, the Dolphins raged back, took a fourth-quarter lead and sustained it.

The Raiders didn’t exceed 20 points in either of the first two games for the same reasons, and the team needs work inside the 20-yard line to operate at maximum efficiency. It cost the Raiders on this day, and put them in an uncomfortable yet familiar position with seven minutes left in the fourth quarter.

Hey, Jordy

Jordy Nelson had 53 receiving yards through two games. Then he exceeded that on one catch.

Nelson went 61 yards on the game’s second play to set up the Raiders’ first score. He hit another long one later in the game, all while in a matchup that Jon Gruden exploited on several occasions.

This comes after Jared Cook was the primary target in Week 1 and Amari Cooper went off in Week 2.

Nelson had six catches for 173 yards in this game.

Nelson is growing accustomed to a new quarterback and offensive scheme after a decade in Green Bay, but he found a rhythm early against Miami and made a few big plays. It shows he can be a weapon in the passing game, and should force defenses to play honest with Cooper and Cook. That will be a long-term positive for an Oakland offense with plenty of weapons.

Derek Carr might not go with Raiders to Las Vegas, Mike Florio says

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AP

Derek Carr might not go with Raiders to Las Vegas, Mike Florio says

The Raiders have one final season at the Coliseum before they move to Las Vegas in 2020, but will Derek Carr still be the starting quarterback when they get to Sin City?

After ranking in the bottom third of the league in total offense last year, Oakland has been quite busy this offseason, acquiring players to help bolster its offensive attack.

The Raiders traded for Antonio Brown and signed fellow wide receiver Tyrell Williams in free agency. They also used a first-round draft pick on running back Josh Jacobs, and signed massive offensive tackle Trent Brown, who just won a Super Bowl protecting Tom Brady for the New England Patriots.

Given all of these additions on the offensive side of the ball, ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio believes this will be a make-or-break season for Carr, and doubts he'll still be a member of the team when they move to Vegas if he disappoints.

"Think of it this way," Florio wrote. "If the chemistry experiment/Frankenstein monster that starts and ends with [Antonio Brown] fails, whose fault will it be? Brown’s? Nope. [Jon] Gruden’s? Nope. [Mike] Mayock’s? Nope. If the Raiders fail to get the most out of Antonio Brown, it will be the fault of the guy who will be under immense pressure to deliver the ball with the same underrated precision that Ben Roethlisberger delivered it for nine years in Pittsburgh.

[RELATED: Watch Raiders' Brown do insane agility drill involving brick]

"If Derek Carr can step up," Florio continued, "great for him and the Raiders. If he can’t, he’ll quite possibly be the highest-profile member of the organization to not enjoy the freedom from paying state income tax that goes with moving from California to Nevada."

The fact that Gruden and Mayock inherited Carr -- as opposed to drafting him -- seems relevant here. If he can't take a step forward with a significantly improved offense around him, the Raiders might just be debuting a new stadium and a new quarterback a little more than a year from now.

Watch Raiders' Antonio Brown do insane agility drill involving a brick

Watch Raiders' Antonio Brown do insane agility drill involving a brick

Every professional athlete has their crazy workout that most average humans can't do.

Warriors superstar Steph Curry has this ridiculous dribbling drill that involves tennis balls and strobe glasses.

For new Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown, his latest drill involves a brick.

Yes, a brick.

With the assistance of a trainer, Brown snatches the brick out of the air and alternates hands. While he's grabbing the brick, he's reaching behind his back with the other hand and slapping his trainer's hand.

Brown posted the same video to his Instagram account but with a different message: "The product is coming September just wait on it..........."

The Raiders open the 2019 regular season at home on Sept. 9 against the Denver Broncos.

This isn't the first crazy workout video Brown has posted this month. Last week, Brown published video of himself catching footballs while wearing strobe glasses and standing on a balancing ball.

Brown also posted a few workout videos on his Instagram stories.

[RELATED: Brown, Raiders receivers stand out]

The Raiders acquired Brown from the Pittsburgh Steelers back in March. It was the first in a series of moves made by Oakland in an attempt to bolster the offense and rebound from a 4-12 campaign in 2018.

Brown looks like he's ready for the start of the season, let alone training camp later this month. September can't get here soon enough.