The Oakland Raiders got off to an incredibly quick start on Sunday afternoon, scoring just 13 seconds into the game on Jacoby Ford’s 101-yard kickoff return, but were unable to overcome a well-balanced Miami offensive attack, and fell to the Dolphins, 33-17.
This game was yet another turn on the quarterback carousel for the Raiders. After saying that Jason Campbell, brought in during the off-season to be the starter, would be his signal caller for the game, Coach Tom Cable caught everyone’s attention—including Campbell—when he named Bruce Gradkowski the starter by the end of the week. Many from outside the organization consistently cite the meddling of owner Al Davis in making personnel recommendations as a chief issue with such hastily appearing decisions.
“It’s not an easy thing to be going through,” said Campbell after the game of his understanding of what is going on with the front office. “I’m just caught up between a tough place, and, you know, you don’t know which direction.”
Gradkowski, off of an injured shoulder, threw for a touchdown and two interceptions, but re-injured the shoulder late in the fourth quarter and had to leave right before the conclusion of the game. With a fumble by fullback Marcel Reece in the second quarter, the three turnovers surprisingly led to no points on the board for Miami, but did swing the time of possession in favor of the visiting team by more than 23 minutes.
“Obviously, we’re very disappointed in that performance right there,” said Cable during his post-game press conference. “We played hard and all that. We didn’t play very good. The biggest thing is that we didn’t have the ball very much. We just weren’t playing well enough to get off the field defensively.”
The Dolphins improve to 6-5 on the season with the win and keep their faint hope of the playoffs alive. Meanwhile, the hometown Raiders fall below .500 for the third time this season and, at 5-6, their once lofty goal of the postseason seems like a distant memory. Oakland will look to get back to .500 at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium next Sunday.