MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — For the first time since taking over three weeks ago, Las Vegas Raiders interim coach Antonio Pierce will regroup his team after a loss.
The Raiders’ two-game winning streak under Pierce ended in a 20-13 defeat against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Listed as 13 1/2-point underdogs, the Raiders (5-6) limited Miami’s prolific offense to two touchdowns and two field goals. Their final drive at a potential tying score ended on a turnover in the Dolphins’ end zone with 22 seconds remaining.
“That’s what we talk every day, pride and poise, passion,” Pierce said. “Play the game the right way and the guys did. Played hard. Does that give you Ws? No, but it gives you a chance. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game.”
Although the Dolphins gained 422 yards, Las Vegas forced three turnovers. Marcus Epps and Divine Deablo recovered fumbles and Isaiah Pola-Mao had an interception.
The Raiders also stopped a Dolphins drive at the Las Vegas 3, when cornerback Nate Hobbs tackled Tyreek Hill for a 4-yard loss on a fourth-and 1 screen pass play.
“It shows we’re a relentless defense,” said Hobbs, who also forced a fumble against Hill that Deablo recovered late in the second quarter. “We’re going to keep playing no matter the time and place. I definitely feel we came as physical as we needed to and make it a very competitive game.”
Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell finished 24 for 41 and 271 yards but was picked off three times, including two in the fourth quarter. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey intercepted O’Connell’s pass to Tre Tucker in the end zone to secure Miami’s win.
O’Connell replaced Jimmy Garoppolo after the coaching change, and like Pierce, experienced his first loss as a starter.
“I just have to execute better, not turn the ball over,” O’Connell said. “I’m learning how hard the NFL is and how hard it is to win. Kudos to our defense. They played so well in the second half. Kept us in the game.”
While the Dolphins struggled reaching the end zone, the Raiders were held without a first down in the second and third quarters.
“We’re learning how important a possession is,” O’Connell said. “Just how much you’ve got to be locked in on every play. Try to stay ahead of the sticks.”
O’Connell’s 46-yard pass to Davante Adams in the first quarter put the Raiders ahead 10-7. It was Adams’ fourth touchdown catch of the season and first since he caught two against Pittsburgh Sept. 24.
“It’s been too long since I last got in,” Adams said. “That’s what we can do. We just have to do a little bit more of that.”
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