Grading the Miami Dolphins for their 27-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders

Jay Cutler was back from a rib injury for the Dolphins. (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

 

MIAMI GARDENS — Grading the Dolphins for their 27-24 loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday night:

Quarterback

Jay Cutler’s ribs looked fine and so did his arm in his first game back. Cutler was nearly perfect, completing 16 of 17 passes in the first half. He continued his accuracy into the second half for one of his best performances as a Dolphin. It included touchdown passes of 10 yards to Damien Williams, 6 to Jarvis Landry and 15 to Julius Thomas.

Grade: A-minus

Running backs

Damien Williams isn’t the D Train, but he chugged his way to 10-yard TD reception like the little train that could. He was met at the 2-yard line by cornerback Dexter McDonald but bounced off and pin-balled his way into the end zone. Kenyan Drake’s fumble wrecked momentum from Cody Parkey’s successful onside kick and ruined nice rhythm the offense had going. But Drake came back in the third quarter to rip off a 42-yard run, setting up Jarvis Landry’s 6-yard TD reception. And Williams and Drake probably set a tone for an offense now lacking Ajayi, combining for nine receptions.

Grade: B

Receivers

DeVante Parker was back from an ankle injury and a few moments early. Jarvis Landry scored on a 6-yard pass in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 20-16. But a holding call on Landry negated a big reception by Damien Williams that brought the crowd to its feet. TE Julius Thomas had perhaps his best game of the season, including a 15-yard touchdown, six catches and 84 yards.

Grade: C-plus

Offensive line

Argh. You’re tired of hearing this, but … penalties haunted this group all night. Ja’Wuan James began by getting called for illegal formation, negating a key third-down conversion throw to Jarvis Landry. On the next play, Mike Pouncey was guilty of holding, and although it was declined, he later was called for another holding penalty. Then Jermon Bushrod was nailed for holding twice and Jesse Davis once. On an offense challenged to sustain any drive, this just can’t happen.

Grade: D-minus

Defensive line

Ndamukong Suh stripped the ball from Derek Carr, setting off a wild play in which the ball eventually ended up in rookie Charles Harris’ hands. Another rookie, Davon Godchaux, had an active night.

Grade: C

Linebackers

Kiko Alonso couldn’t handle TE Jared Cook, who had three receptions for 59 yards on the first series, which resulted in a field goal. That’s a decent impact by Cook, considering the drive officially went down as a 58-yarder. Cook was a thorn for the Dolphins all night, finishing with seven catches for 119 yards and perhaps giving future offensive coordinators something to think about.

Grade: C

Defensive backs

Derek Carr’s bomb to Johnny Holton in the end zone was just out of the reach of a lunging Reshad Jones. Jones had a rough night, getting nailed with an unnecessary roughness penalty on Seth Roberts on a play that netted Oakland 44 yards. The Raiders parlayed that into Marshawn Lynch’s 3-yard TD run for a 27-16 lead with 4:37 left.

Grade: C-minus

Special teams

Cody Parkey atoned for his missed extra point by recovering his surprise onside kick. But considering it was Parkey’s third missed extra point this season, it’s a concern. Parkey did hit from 49 yards. Jordan Phillips was guilty of holding on the Dolphins’ first kickoff return.

Grade: C

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