Armando Salguero

Miami Dolphins pull out the trickery. Beat Raiders to improve to 3-0

Dolphins coach Adam Gase : We’ve got guys that can do a lot of different things

Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase talks to the media after their 28-20 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.
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Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase talks to the media after their 28-20 win over the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

This one was sealed as Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant ran untouched toward the end zone, high-fiving and celebrating a 74-yard “pass” from Ryan Tannehill that started when the quarterback flipped the ball to Wilson on what looked like a Jet sweep.

The noise that echoed around Hard Rock Stadium belied the truth that the Dolphins had struggled on offense much of the afternoon.

But not this moment. And not the previous drive that had given the Dolphins a tenuous 20-17 lead on another trick play.

So, yeah, back-to-back trick play touchdowns.

Whatever it takes, folks.

Dolphins 28.

Raiders 20.

The Miami Dolphins are 3-0 and continue to lead the AFC East.

The statistics after this one look gaudy for the Miami offense.

Ryan Tannehill completed 17 of 23 passes for 289 yards, three TD passes and a quarterback rating of 155.3

Amazing that Tannehill didn’t have the highest QB rating for his team on Sunday. That went to Wilson who threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Grant to give Miami their fourth-quarter lead with the first trick play TD of the afternoon.

(More on that in a minute).

The Dolphins got all four of their scores off touchdown passes. Makes sense.

The Raiders obviously decided they were not going to be beaten by Miami running the football. The Dolphins came into the game as the sixth-best rushing team in the NFL and 11th in yards per rush average.

So Oakland crowded the tackle box and dared the Dolphins to throw.

Dolphins quarterback Tannehill did just that. He had a 34-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills. And his quarterback rating was in orbit -- it was over 100 throughout the game.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jakeem Grant (19) speaks to the media in the locker room after the Miami Dolphins defeat the Oakland Raiders 28-20 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, September 23, 2018.

But something was missing. Something just wasn’t there.

(Dolphins fans might argue it was the poor officiating that stalled the Dolphins. I’d say there was some of that but there was also missed opportunities.)

There was the second-quarter drive that stalled at the Raiders 26 yard line when Kenny Stills was called for offensive pass interference after Daniel Kilgore was called for a holding and then Tannehill was sacked.

The Raiders also held the ball so long that Miami had to make the most of their possessions. The Dolphins, for example, ran eight plays in the third quarter.

Oakland ran 18 plays in that quarter.

No matter because the Dolphins, down 17-7, pulled within a score when Tannehill flipped a “pass” to Jakeem Grant who burst 18 yards for a score.

At the point where this game was 17-14 in Oakland’s favor, it became clear one of these teams had at least another touchdown in them. A winning touchdown, I thought.

And then Miami’s trick play explosion happened.

Miami Dolphins wide receiver Albert Wilson (15) speaks to the media in the locker room after the Miami Dolphins defeat the Oakland Raiders at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on Sunday, September 23, 2018.

The Dolphins have been working on trick plays featuring Wilson for months. And so far this season he’s caught the ball, triggered the Wildcat formation as the quarterback, run an end around, and on Sunday, the pass to Grant.

Grant was wide open on the 52 yard score, but he had to beat a couple of defenders to the pylon after catching the pass.

Yeah, he did that.

Look, I’ve been saying (writing) that good teams find away to win games like this.

The Dolphins were without Reshad Jones this game. They lost William Hayes, Andre Branch, Chase Allen and A.J. Derby during the game.

The Raiders arguably played with more urgency during the first three quarters. The officiating was definitely not on Miami’s side.

And, despite all that, Dolphins found a way to win.

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill doesn't care what the national media thinks about his team, he cares about the players in the building.

Follow Armando Salguero on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

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