Ryan Fitzpatrick keeps Dolphins' playoff hopes alive in wild comeback as Raiders melt down late
In a wild 10 minute final, the Miami Dolphins benched their quarterback, committed a critical defensive penalty, and allowed an 85-yard TD.
And they won 26:25, saved their playoff hopes in a miraculous season and set their record to 10: 5.
The Las Vegas Raiders, who fell to 7-8, seemed ready to beat Miami and stay in the playoff race after Daniel Carlson's field goal gave them a 25-22 lead with 19 seconds remaining.
But the Raiders committed a horrific face mask penalty and allowed a 34-yard catch in the final seconds to break the lead unlikely.
Ryan Fitzpatrick replaced a healthy Tua Tagovailoa by just under 10 minutes and the Dolphins 16-13. And all Fitzpatrick did in three trips was throw for 182 yards and a TD, which kept Miami's playoff hopes very much alive.
Ryan Fitzpatrick came off the bench to give the Miami Dolphins a dramatic win over the Las Vegas Raiders. (Photo by Harry How / Getty Images)
Tagovailoa made 17 of 22 passes, threw for a TD and didn't flip the ball. But he only put 94 passing yards on safe, short passes and took three sacks with the end of the ride.
By this point, Dolphin's head coach Brian Flores had seen enough. For the second time that season, Flores tore Tua and left with Fitzpatrick.
The move and timing were interesting to say the least, given the close game. Flores' gut served him well in a campaign as coach of the year. He would be right again on Saturday.
It wouldn't be the last controversial coaching decision in the game.
Fitzpatrick nearly doubled Tagovailoa's numbers in the last 10 minutes, completing nine of 13 passes for 182 yards and a 59-yard TD for Myles Gaskin, who gave Miami 23-22 advantage. The Raiders had recently taken the lead on Nelson Agholor's 85-yard score, but kicker Daniel Carlson botched the extra point attempt.
Did Jon Gruden screw it up?
The Raiders still seemed in good shape to win the game. Agholor pulled a pass-to-interference call that hit 49 yards against the Dolphins' Byron Jones with just over two minutes remaining.
Josh Jacobs could have scored a touchdown by about 40 seconds, but deliberately went under just short of the goal line. Had the raiders hit, they would have risen more than one field gate. The Dolphins had run out of time off and the Raiders ran the clock down to the 19-second mark.
At that moment, Carlson seemed to be the hero, atone for his former miss. His 22-yard field goal put Las Vegas in the lead 25-23 in the team's last home game this season.
Jon Gruden admitted after the game that Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs was on his mind when he called to play three instead of six.
The Raiders pulled a charger instead, if you will.
12 seconds more, Fitzpatrick fired a rainbow pass down that somehow got into the hands of a wide-open Mack Hollins 34 meters long. In addition, the Raiders' Arden Key blatantly reached for Fitzpatrick's face mask for another 15 meters.
The pass was, in fact, of the no-look variety as Key Fitzpatrick's neck hunched back. And guess who was watching ...
That was the breathtaking kick from Jason Sanders from 44 meters away. It was a great night for the Dolphins kicker, who made all four of his FG attempts and two extra points, scooping over half of Miami's points.
The blown leadership spoiled brilliant games from Raiders' Agholor and Darren Waller. They bonded for 267 of the Raiders' 418 yards and seemed like the heroes they needed that night.
Instead, their great endeavors were footnotes at the end of the game. The Dolphins heart attack somehow found a way to get another formidable victory when things didn't always look pretty or go as planned.
That seems to go well with Flores, Fitzpatrick, and the rest of the Miami gang.
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