As far as losses go, the Raiders couldn’t think of one that’s stung as much as their crushing, last-second loss to the Dolphins on Saturday night.
Coach Jon Gruden and his players were stunned after Jason Sanders blasted a 44-yard field goal through the uprights with one second left to give Miami a 26-25 win at Allegiant Stadium.
Unbelievably, the Raiders somehow lost after seemingly winning the game on Daniel Carlson’s field goal with 19 seconds remaining. The Raiders tried not to score a touchdown before Carlson’s kick, preferring to rely on the strategy of taking as much time off the clock as possible.
It turned out 19 seconds was just enough time for the Dolphins to officially knock the Raiders (7-8) out of the postseason race while handing them their fifth loss in six games.
The game came down to two costly mistakes on one gigantic play right after Carlson’s would-be game-winner. A blown coverage on a desperation, 34-yard pass from backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to little-used receiver Mack Hollins – while Arden Key was drawing a 15-yard facemask penalty on the play – set the Dolphins up for the game-winner with a second left.
Maybe it’s a good thing Raiders owner Mark Davis decided not to have fans in attendance at their new stadium this season.
Here’s what they had to say following the game:
COACH JON GRUDEN
“Hard to swallow right now. Terrible way to lose a game. I really admire the way we compete but until we start closing out games we’ll continue to be disappointed. That’s a reflection on me, obviously. I don’t regret taking a knee, we wanted to give the Dolphins the ball with as little time left as possible, with no timeouts. I thought we did that – 19 seconds left on their own 25-yard line. They made a desperation play and we had a penalty on top of that, inexcusable. ”
(On decision whether or not to score a touchdown in the final seconds)
“Oh we did that against Kansas City, honestly, we scored with 1:15 left and (Patrick) Mahomes went down and beat us. We felt the play was to eliminate all the clock and all the timeouts and put ’em with their back against the wall with 19 seconds left. I don’t regret it. I didn’t want Fitzpatrick to have the ball, he was doing a good job in the second half. I didn’t want him to be in a four-down situation. He’s a gunslinger, he was hot. That’s all I can say. I don’t regret it one bit. I just regret the results. ”
“There’s a lot of ways to look at this. But 19 seconds left on your own 25-yard line with no timeouts, I’ve called plays a long time, the probability of getting that done is remote. I’m not gonna get into all the scenarios, we played it exactly like we wanted to play it. It was a heck of a job by our offense closing the deal, I thought. But unfortunately they made a desperation play and the penalty was horrific. ”
(On Derek Carr’s performance)
“I thought he did all he could do. I thought he showed a lot of toughness. Obviously, not converting on third down, I think his mobility perhaps played into that a little bit. This is a great football team, a great defensive team, as good as we’ve seen all year. They throw every look at you that you can prepare for. I thought Derek did a great job and I thought he did enough to win tonight. ”
(On Miami switching quarterbacks from Tua Tagovailoa to Ryan Fitzpatrick)
“I think we just missed a couple of tackles. The running back (Myles Gaskin) got out of trouble, made a 60-yard touchdown after we scored and missed the extra point. And Fitzpatrick gives his guys chances most quarterbacks don’t take. He’s willing to throw the ball down the field in tight windows. Once again, we didn’t register a turnover on defense. The pass rush wasn’t good enough and he got us. He got us. ”
(On Josh Jacobs’ health)
“He had an IV. He wasn’t feeling real good coming into here tonight. They’re a hard team to run the ball against. Like I said, defensively in the last several weeks of the season they’ve been one of the very best teams I’ve seen on tape. ”
(On Darren Waller)
“He’s a great player and he plays such a major role in so many different positions. He’s one of the best players I’ve ever seen play football. ”
QUARTERBACK DEREK CARR
(On how tough of a loss this was)
“This one might be the hardest. That’s tough. That’s a tough way to go out, especially with all the emotion of the week for me. Just being able to play this game, I’m just so thankful. And then to watch it go like that, I’m sick for our organization. I’m sick for our defense. I’m sick for our team. I’m sick for all those guys. My heart feels for them. My heart feels for our fans. To be so excited you know, we take the lead, and then it’s gone. I feel bad for our fans. It’s tough. It’s not for everybody, this business. Like I always tell everybody, it’s not for everybody but it is for me. ”
(On the decision to go for a touchdown or not at end)
“I know you can think of a million different scenarios. I thought we did it absolutely perfect. I don’t regret it. You take all their timeouts away. You take all the time off the clock. And you just expect to win that game. This business, Lord knows I know, if the outcome isn’t what we want, there’s gonna be a lot of questions. But the way coach handled that was perfect. His plays were perfect. His communication, the coaching staff, was perfect. The only thing we regret was not finishing it with a win. ”
(On his message to teammates on how to deal with the loss)
“There’s a lot of young guys on this team. It sucks to say, but we’re building something. And sometimes you’ve have to do it with young pieces. And for some of us old guys, little things can get frustrating at times. But I’ve been there, I’ve been in their shoes. I just try my best to encourage them and let them know that not all days feel like this in this league. It’s not always like this. I’ve had plenty of highs, plenty of lows in this league, just like everybody. Crap happens in the NFL, but what can’t change is your attitude and the way you come to work every day. As soon as that starts to change, you’ve been defeated.
“I’ve caught myself in that place sometimes when start getting a little more angry and this or that, you just gotta be you. You gotta be yourself and you gotta give everything you’ve got. I try to encourage them. This is not for the faint of heart. This is not for weak-minded people. Being a Raider is for tough, hard-nosed people, that’s for sure. ”
(On not missing time after his groin injury)
“Friday morning after the game on Thursday I told Coach, ‘I’ll be available this week.’ I sent him a video of me downstairs doing some drops and moving in the pocket, things like that. I didn’t tell him how much it hurt to do that. But I told him I’ll be alright. Our training staff did a fantastic job of getting me ready to play. Finishing this season means a lot to me. It hasn’t been everything we wanted as a team, but I really want to finish this one out. ”
TIGHT END DARREN WALLER
(On whether this is as tough as it gets as far as losses)
“Yeah, absolutely. That’s tough, ain’t no way around it. That just hurts. I don’t know what else to say. It hurts. ”
(On how the Raiders can rebound from the loss)
“I feel like you go back with an honest evaluation. It’s easy to look at that last play, but you want to take the good and the bad out of the game. I feel like the defense did a lot of good things this game. I’m proud of the way that they played. And the ending wasn’t what we wanted but I feel like if you could take out the good and the bad you could move forward the following week without having things linger. If you love playing football, of course it’s a results driven league, but us players and coaches we’re so in the process that we just need to always remember that playing football is fun. And we have one more opportunity to do that. We’re not promised one more opportunity, we’re not promised anything in the future. And if you just go out and view the game like that you can bounce back and look at the game with perspective. ”
(On Derek Carr coming back from an injury)
“I was very proud with how Derek played tonight and how he responded throughout the week (with) his attitude. He wasn’t worried. He didn’t wear any of that on his face or in the way he was carrying himself. He was very focused. I feel like he didn’t miss a beat. And just having him out there was incredible. I saw something earlier in the week, it was a graphic of all the injuries that he’s had. And he just hasn’t missed games – there’s only a couple games he’s missed. It’s incredible how tough he is and just the positive energy he brought tonight. ”
(On the Raiders’ decision to take time off the clock instead of scoring a TD late)
“You can look at it both ways, but with us we went with draining the clock down and kicking the field goal. You’ve gotta play complementary football and trust your defense in that situation and that’s what we did. Things like that, that happen, aren’t characteristic of our defense. I don’t think it defines them on this night or as a whole. I feel like hindsight is 20/20, we could have done things different but we went with what we went with and we felt good about it at the time. ”
(On his record-breaking night)
“It’s definitely cool. It means a lot to break a record. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything like that before. It’s cool and I appreciate everything that goes into that. The quarterback throwing it, the time that he from the offensive line needs to throw it, the receivers that are running their routes and clearing out areas for me to make a play. So it’s a lot of people that goes into that. I feel like playing against Eric tonight definitely brought the best out of me. He has a lot of coverage ability being a former corner. I think we were both freshmen and we played against each other in the Sun Bowl. He’s just like a very versatile player and can do a lot of things. So I feel like his ability alone brought the best out of me, and it was a battle out there between us. ”
(On the ups and downs of the season)
“Man, that’s just life. That’s football, it’s the NFL. There’s moments of jubilation and people are pumping the Super Bowl bandwagon and everything’s great. And there’s moments where it’s just like it’s crushing, the losses that you have. And it’s hard to go through all these things for 17 weeks, 20 weeks including preseason, it takes a lot of mental toughness. It takes a lot of integrity to go through a season and continue to show up, regardless of the results. That’s why I love being part of this team. ”
LINEBACKER RAEKWON MCMILLAN
(On the late turn of events that led to the loss)
“You gotta execute at the end of the game as a defense. There’s no excuses, no nothing. We just gotta go finish. ”
(On whether there’s an explanation for what happened at the end)
“Nah, man. It’s all about execution as a total defense. Can’t put ourselves in that situation. Gotta finish strong. ”
(On how Ryan Fitzpatrick changed the game)
“He’s a 16-year vet. He was able to sit on the sideline, I don’t know really what they’ve got going on but obviously he came in and brought a spark to the offense. We just gotta finish. No explanation. It is what it is. ”