June 25, 2024

Raiders-Dolphins: Winners and losers; Las Vegas’ offense goes dormant in Miami

Hard to win with no first downs for 2 quarters

Week 11 was a tough one for the Las Vegas Raiders as their defense played well enough to pull off the upset against the Miami Dolphins, but the Raiders offense laid an egg after the first quarter.

Las Vegas held a 10-7 lead heading into the second frame but only managed to score three points the rest of the afternoon while the defense held the league’s best offense 10 points below their season average.

So, it should come as no surprise that defensive players headline the winners in this week’s column.

WINNER: Nate Hobbs

A good argument could be made that Nate Hobbs was one of the Raiders’ best players on Sunday. He finished third on the team with eight total tackles, including one TFL where sniffed out a screen and delivered a big hit. He also logged a pass breakup to give him a career-best six on the year and forced a fumble that led to a Raiders’ field goal that made it a one-point game before halftime.

What makes the third-year pro’s outing even more impressive is he lined up as an outside cornerback more often than he normally does as the team was beat up at the position. They needed someone to step up and he answered the call in a big way.

LOSER: Bo Hardegree

Bo Hardegree received a lot of praise for being creative and tweaking Las Vegas’ offensive play calling over the last two weeks. However, it felt like he got a little too cute in Miami which played a factor in the team’s collapse. Running the ball out of the shotgun on third and one to begin the second half is one play that comes to mind.

Also, it seemed Hardegree became more conservative in the second and third quarters as the offense didn’t even get a first down in those periods. Ultimately, a 13-point outing just isn’t good enough and falls on the offensive coordinator’s shoulders.

WINNER: Luke Masterson

NFL: Las Vegas Raiders at Miami Dolphins

Luke Masterson didn’t get a ton of playing time with just 23 defensive snaps, but he certainly made them count. Masterson recorded four total tackles and forced a fumble that led to Las Vegas’ first score of the game.

He also earned a team- and career-high 84.4 coverage grade from Pro Football Focus and wasn’t even targeted. The linebacker has been playing well for a few weeks now and is making a strong case to earn more playing time moving forward.

LOSER: Aidan O’Connell

Bad games are going to happen with rookie quarterbacks and Sunday was certainly a performance Aidan O’Connell will want to quickly put behind him. After dropping a dime to Davante Adams for a 46-yard score to end the first quarter, O’Connell went cold and began missing throw after throw.

Aidan O'Connell to start at quarterback for Raiders vs. Chargers - NBC  Sports

He got out of his nature a bit by trying to push the ball down the field too often instead of letting the game come to him and taking those measured shots that he became known for. That played a big factor in the offense’s inability to move the ball for two quarters and led to a crucial turnover on downs in a fourth-and-three situation.

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