Raiders vs. Dolphins score: Ryan Fitzpatrick takes over for ineffective Tua, stuns Vegas with comeback victory


The Las Vegas Raiders struck first on Saturday night, and they held a lead with under a minute to play against the Miami Dolphins. But they could not hold on to save their playoff lives, opting to run down the clock rather than score a touchdown late in the fourth quarter and watching as Ryan Fitzpatrick -- who was replacing a benched Tua Tagovailoa -- led Miami all the way down the field for a game-winning field goal. Despite herculean efforts from star tight end Darren Waller and some big downfield throws from Derek Carr, the Raiders fell 26-25 in prime time, officially missing out on the 2020 playoffs. The Dolphins, meanwhile, remain alive in the AFC Wild-Card picture after a big night for their defense and clutch backup (and/or future starting) QB in Fitzpatrick.

Neither side appeared particularly adept at situational football, at least on the offensive side of the ball, for much of the game. Las Vegas went 0-for-7 on third downs and inexplicably dedicated several key throws to Jason Witten despite a monster performance from Waller. Miami, meanwhile, seemed incapable of pushing the ball downfield as Tagovailoa resigned to short dump-offs and Myles Gaskin hand-offs.

But then everything changed in the fourth, when Flores pulled the plug on his rookie QB and inserted Fitzpatrick, who'd taken over for Tua once before this season. Instantly, the Dolphins began moving the ball with splash plays, and thanks to Jon Gruden's decision to kill time rather than bolster Vegas' late lead with a touchdown over a field goal, Fitzpatrick got the comeback opportunity with just 19 seconds to play -- and delivered, somehow finding Mack Hollins on a deep ball while being brought down by his face mask to set up Jason Sanders' winning kick.

Gruden and the Raiders (7-8) fared just fine on the stat sheet, averaging nearly six yards per play as Carr racked up more than 300 yards through the air and hit Nelson Agholor on several big plays. But they did not come up big when it mattered most, whereas Fitzpatrick absolutely did. He and the Dolphins (10-5) will close their 2020 season against the rival Buffalo Bills on Jan. 3.

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@Raiders via Twitter
December 27, 2020, 3:59 AM

Fitzpatrick can't hit Mike Gesicki on third-and-goal, so on comes the field goal unit, and we're all tied up (again), this time at 16. Raiders have a chance to put this away with four minutes on the clock. Can they string together a time-sucking drive to win it? Or will Fitzpatrick get another chance to play hero?

December 27, 2020, 3:51 AM

On his first series of the night, Ryan Fitzpatrick has already brought more life to the downfield passing game than Tua has all evening. Hitting one shot after another, and they're smart passes, too. That's what a QB with a willingness to push the ball can do.

December 27, 2020, 3:47 AM

This is purely Brian Flores doing what he thinks gives the Dolphins the best chance to win, but it does make for an ... interesting QB dynamic. Tua basically did what he was asked through three and a half quarters, checking it down and playing it safe to lean on the defense, although he also never really attempted to even push the ball downfield. Now Miami brings in a gunslinger for the potential late-game kill shot.

December 27, 2020, 3:44 AM

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a QB change. The Dolphins have benched Tua Tagovailoa for Ryan Fitzpatrick with just under 10 minutes to play.

December 27, 2020, 3:41 AM

Derek Carr gives Henry Ruggs a chance to essentially put this thing out of reach, dropping a perfect deep ball into his hands despite double coverage. The ball just slips out of Ruggs' hands, though, setting up a third-and-long. And then Miami gets to Carr for a sack. We've still got ourselves a ballgame.

December 27, 2020, 3:41 AM
@MiamiDolphins via Twitter
December 27, 2020, 3:38 AM
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