It was close. It went into overtime. And both teams left nothing on the field Sunday evening.
The Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins played an entertaining, stirring, heart-stopping game.
And it will go down as an amazing day for the Raiders.
And it will most definitely be a bitter disappointment for the Dolphins.
The Raiders remain unbeaten at 3-0. The Dolphins, underdogs before the game, have a 1-2 record and are tied with New England for second place in the AFC East.
And here’s where this leaves everyone:
Superior talent seemed to win out. Anyone who watched this game saw the Raiders have put together a better offensive line, have better skill in the backfield, have a better quarterback and have a much more dangerous defensive front.
But the Dolphins were the more disciplined team.
Were it not for Las Vegas flubs, miscues, and mistakes of every variety, this one would have never gotten to overtime.
A Maxx Crosby roughing the passer penalty on fourth down kept a Dolphins field goal drive alive in the fourth quarter.
A defensive pass interference call in the end zone led to a Dolphins touchdown with 2 seconds to play, which helped force overtime.
And the Dolphins converted on a fourth-and-20 play on their first possession in overtime when the Raiders played man against tight end Mike Gesicki with a much smaller defender. That didn’t quite work out.
Still, we go back to talent.
GM Mike Mayock in his three seasons has obviously cobbled together more of it than Dolphins GM Chris Grier in his last three years in combination with coach Brian Flores.
You have to understand the Raiders were without starting running back Josh Jacobs this game. No problem.
Peyton Barber rushed for 111 yards.
The Dolphins addition of Jaylen Waddle this year? They need him to be more like Henry Ruggs III is for Las Vegas. Waddle is mostly a mid-range or bubble screen player instead of a downfield threat right now.
And all the talent the Dolphins have put together on defense? It hasn’t exactly translated the past two weeks, as Buffalo scored 35 points and the Raiders added 31 on the unit.
The Raiders, by the way, had two possessions in overtime. They scored on both possessions.
That’s a problem.
Allowing 66 points the past two weeks is a problem for a team that relies on good defense and playing error-free football to win.
The Dolphins were without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa this game. That’s not the reason they lost.
Backup Jacoby Brissett played a good game in that he delivered a number of clutch throws in tough moments. He also scored the tying touchdown in regulation, threw for the successful two-point conversion to send the game into overtime, and withstood a withering Las Vegas pass rush.
Carr, meanwhile, had his way with the Miami defense after a very slow start.
He finished with 386 passing yards and two touchdown passes.
It did not, however, seem that was the direction it would go initially.
The Dolphins led 14-0, fueled on an 85-yard interception return touchdown by linebacker Elandon Roberts — one of Miami’s few moments of clarity on defense this day.
But at 14-0, Miami’s two offensive coordinators called a receiver bubble screen to Waddle from their own 1 yard line into the end zone.
And the ill-advised play-call had the tangible result of leading to a safety because Waddle was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
But the intangible result of that play?
It woke up the Raiders.
It turned a dormant Allegiant Stadium into a raucous venue with life.
And the Raiders then scored 23 more points in what was a 25-0 points run for Las Vegas.
Give the Dolphins credit. They mounted a furious late rally. They made improbable play after improbable play as they refused to quit.
But the Miami offense is ugly, folks.
The Raiders’ lack of discipline that extended what otherwise were finished drives helped. The Raiders defense did dumb things.
But one simply cannot rely on the other team beating itself to move the football.