Reshad Jones has been having an excellent season.
Or at least he had been until Sunday.
Jones, the Dolphins’ excellent safety, found himself in an unfamiliar position against the Raiders:
He was a defender to target, not one to avoid.
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Jones surrendered two critical catches and was flagged for a costly penalty in the Dolphins’ 27-24 loss to Oakland.
Let’s take those bad plays in order:
Midway through the second quarter, the Raiders traveled from their own 19 to the Dolphins’ 44 and they were there presented with a first-and-10.
Johnny Holton was lined up in the slot to Derek Carr’s left then ran a deep crossing route, with Jones alone in coverage. Holton boxed out Jones, got outside position and pulled in the perfectly thrown touchdown pass over his right shoulder.
“I shoved, kind of overran it and the guy made a good play on the football,” Jones said.
Was he supposed to be alone in coverage?
“I was supposed to be shoving,” Jones said. “I wasn't supposed to be that far, but I was pushing.”
Two quarters later, with the Raiders up four and in search of a game-clinching touchdown, Jones again was beaten for a completion, this time on the right sidelines to Seth Roberts for 29 yards.
That was bad. What was worse: the officials deemed Roberts a defenseless receiver, and assessed an unnecessary roughness penalty for what they saw as an illegal hit.
Jones, and many impartial observers, saw it otherwise.
“The ref made the call,” Jones said. “I don't think it was unnecessary roughness. I thought he turned his head, got around and I made a good play. Ref made the call, so it is what it is. ... I could have done nothing different.”
The completion plus penalty moved the Raiders from their 35 to Miami’s 21. Two plays later, they were in the end zone, and the game was essentially over.
Carr finished 21 of 30 for 300 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
“Those guys did good,” Carr said. “They did a good job of catching the ball, being where they were supposed to be. Just got to break down the film and do better. Got to give credit to those guys. They made enough plays tonight to win the football game, and we didn't.”