Raiders will head to Miami for Week 3 tilt with Dolphins

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By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND, Calif — If one road game wasn’t enough, how about a double-dip?

The Raiders are hitting the road once again this time, they are heading to South Beach where they will take on a surprisingly undefeated Dolphins team in a key Week 3 matchup for Oakland this Sunday.

Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. ET, which means 10:00 a.m. PT for West Coasters.

Last season, the two teams faced each other in Week 9 with the Raiders defeating the Dolphins, 27-24, behind a three-yard touchdown run by running back Marshawn Lynch late in the fourth quarter.

Oakland (0-2) lost a heart-breaker last week in Denver, 20-19, wasting an awesome performance by starting quarterback Derek Carr.

Carr was sharp all game, completing 29-of-32 passes for 288 yards and one touchdown. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to complete 90 percent of his passes with more than 30 attempts, per ESPN. It was nice to see Carr bounce back from an ugly game in Week 1, where he threw three interceptions in Oakland’s 33-13 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Rams.

Out of those 29 completions, 10 were to wide receiver Amari Cooper, who also rebounded from a bad first game of the season where he posted just one catch for nine yards on three targets.

Against the Broncos, Cooper was targeted 10 times (catching each one) for 116 yards. It was a welcoming sign for Oakland, albeit in a loss.

Oakland held a 19-7 lead into the third quarter before the Broncos rallied with 13 unanswered points, including kicker Brandon McManus’s game-winning 36-yard field goal with six seconds remaining in the game.

Without stud defensive end/outside linebacker Khalil Mack, who was traded to Chicago prior to the start of the regular season because the Silver and Black were hesitant to reward Mack with a new contract extension, Oakland’s defense has been a no show through the first two games of the season.

The Raiders have had a tough time generating any kind of pass rush this season. Only linebacker Bruce Irvin and rookie defensive tackle Maurice Hurst have recorded a quarterback sack, but that could change against Miami. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been sacked five times this season, which ranks 13th in the NFL. Tannehill has also been hit nine times in the pocket.

Miami (2-0) defeated the Jets, 20-12, in New York at MetLife Stadium behind Tannehill and the NFL’s fourth-ranked scoring defense.

Tannehill completed 17-of-23 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Dolphins a 20-0 lead before halftime. Through two games this season, Tannehill has completed 31-of-57 passes for 398 yards with four touchdowns, two interceptions and a 104.9 passer rating.

Running back Kenyan Drake had 11 carries for 53 yards and one touchdown against the Jets. Drake leads the Dolphins with 25 carries for 101 yards this season.

Backup running back Frank Gore finished with just nine carries for 25 yards, but those yards were all he needed to pass Hall of Famer Curtis Martin (14,101) for fourth place on the NFL’s all-time rushing list with 14,103 yards. Gore, who is in his 14th season, signed a 1-year deal with his hometown Dolphins in the offseason.

Electric wide receiver Jarvis Landry was traded to Cleveland in the offseason, leaving the Dolphins with question marks at the position. Holdover Kenny Stills leads the Dolphins in receiving yards (123) and touchdowns (2) through two games, while free agent addition Danny Amendola leads the team in catches (8).

Amendola, who won two Super Bowl rings in four seasons with the New England Patriots, signed with the Dolphins this past offseason to give Tannehill another reliable target.

Middle linebacker Kiko Alonso and safety Reshad Jones are two of Miami’s prime defenders that Oakland must be aware at all times.

Jones is arguably the Dolphins most reliable playmaker, as he leads Miami with two interceptions this season. Last season, Jones led Miami in tackles with 122.

The two-time Pro Bowler will likely be following Raiders tight end Jared Cook, who has been explosive the first two weeks of the season. In 2017, Cook led all Raiders receivers with 688 yards and this season, he leads Oakland with 229 yards, which includes his franchise record-setting 180-yard performance in Week 1.

After posting back-to-back seasons of 115 tackles, Alonso is a major focal point for the Dolphins defense. Last week against the Jets, Alonso recorded a 13 tackles and two forced fumbles, coming up huge for Miami many times in that contest.

Sunday’s game in Miami is a must-win for Oakland. There’s no way to sugarcoat it.

Falling to 0-3 with a loss before coming home to take on a puzzling Cleveland Browns team in Week 4 at the Oakland-Alameda Coliseum would be catastrophic.

Raiders and Dolphins get ready for London

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

OAKLAND — At 0-3 in the United States, the Oakland Raiders look to foreign soil to gain their first win of the season when they will “host” the 1-2 Miami Dolphins Sunday at Wembley Stadium in the NFL’s International Series in London, England.

Even after the Raiders 15th consecutive loss in the Eastern time zone, a 16-9 loss to the New England Patriots at Foxborough, Oakland gave New England everything it could handle, according to head coach Dennis Allen following the loss.

“Tough loss. Tough pill to swallow,” Allen said.

“I thought our guys fought their tails off, gave ourselves an opportunity to win. I thought we tied the football game or at least got within an extra point of being able to tie the football game there at the end of the game. Disappointed about that. Still we have to be able to…at the moment of truth, there’s time where we have to be able to make some plays and we didn’t do that enough today and came up on the short end of the stick. But I thought it was a better effort by our team and we get on a long flight and head to London and get ready for the next one.”

Oakland appeared to have tied the game on Darren McFadden’s touchdown run, but the play was nullified by a questionable holding call on rookie guard Gabe Jackson. On the next play, Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr’s pass bounced off the hands of wide receiver Denarius Moore, falling into the waiting arms of defensive tackle Vince Wilfork for the game-ending interception.

“I did not [think that was a holding call on Jackson]” Allen would later say.

Carr completed 21-of-34 passing for 174 yards, with that lone interception. Oakland

“I thought Derek was solid. I thought he was solid. I didn’t think we did anything offensively spectacular, but I thought, especially early in the game, I thought we were able to control the clock a little bit,” said Allen.

Carr will be without one of his favorite targets for the foreseeable as wide receiver Rod Streater was lost for next five-to-six weeks after fracturing his foot Sunday.

With a depleted wide receiver group, Carr is going to have to rely on James Jones, the recently signed Vincent Brown, Andre Holmes, and Moore to improve a Raiders passing game that ranks 31st in passing yards (190 ypg), and dead-last in points per game (12.3 ppg).

Defensively, Oakland played strong, holding quarterback Tom Brady to 234 passing yards and one touchdown on 24-of-37 passing. Strong safety Tyvon Branch led the Raiders with seven tackles (four solo) but just like Streater, Branch fractured his foot as well. Branch was placed on injured reserved, ending his season early again. Branch missed the final 14 games in 2013 with a lis franc injury.

Wednesday, Oakland claimed former Dolphins safety, Brandian Ross off waivers. Ross is expected to see plenty of action Sunday.

Ross played in 30 games for the Raiders from 2012-13, making 14 starts. He started 13 games at safety last year for Oakland, totaling 101 tackles (59 solo) and two sacks. His career totals include 31 games played with 14 starts, 115 tackles (72 solo), two sacks, six passes defensed and one forced fumble.

Miami, is coming off a tough loss at home to the Kansas City Chiefs, 34-15 Sunday. Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith threw three touchdowns, but the Dolphins defense sacked Smith five times; linebacker Jelani Jenkins and defensive tackle Randy Starks each recorded 1.5 sacks.

Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has thrown five touchdowns and two interceptions, but his 5.0 yards per pass attempt ranks near the bottom in the league among the 32 starting quarterbacks. In two of the Dolphins three games this year, Tannehill has been sacked four times. Oakland needs to apply pressure to a Dolphins offensive line that has trouble protecting their third-year quarterback.

The Raiders secondary must have their eyes on Dolphins speedster, wide receiver Mike Wallace the entire game. Wallace is one of the more dangerous wide receivers in the League, and can go off in a hurry.

Wallace leads all Dolphins wide receivers in catches (17), yards (211), and touchdowns (2).

Players to Watch:

Oakland – The running backs. Whether its Maurice Jones-Drew or Darren McFadden, Oakland’s ground game has got to wake up sometime. Opponents have out-rushed the Silver and Black 476 to 193. With MJD sitting out Sunday’s game with a broken hand, McFadden rushed for 59 yards on 18 carries upping his team-leading 111 yards rushing for the season. Carr, not MJD, is the team’s second leading rusher with 57 yards.

Miami – Mike Wallace, wide receiver. As I mentioned before, Wallace is a game changer and Raiders defensive coordinator Jason Tarver better have a great game plan to stop him. Wallace and Tannehill have had their issues connecting on deep passes, but if Tannehill gets the ball in Wallace’s hands, look out. Cornerbacks Terrell Brown and Carlos Rogers could be in for a long day.