Raiders reflect on hot start to season


Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) celebrates after wide receiver Hunter Renfrow scored a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 26, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Las Vegas Raiders are off to their best start since 2002.

Coach Jon Gruden isn’t about to nitpick about how they’re winning.

Reigning AFC Special Teams Player of the Week Daniel Carlson’s 22-yard field goal as time expired in overtime lifted the Raiders to a 31-28 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. It marked the second time in the Raiders’ first three games — both at home — they overcame a two-touchdown deficit to win in overtime. They also did so against Baltimore in Week 1 on a Monday night.

“I don’t apologize for winning these games, no matter how we won them,” Gruden said. “When you’re down 14-0 and score 25 unanswered in the NFL against a team like that, something’s going right.”

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr found Bryan Edwards for 34 yards before Peyton Barber put together runs of 27 and 8 yards to put Las Vegas on the Miami 11-yard line. That eventually set up the winning score for Carlson, who missed an extra point in regulation and kicked two field goals in the extra frame.

The comeback was sparked on defense. Late in the first quarter, cornerback Casey Hayward, Jr., who is in his tenth year in the NFL and first with the Raiders, tackled Dolphin receiver Jaylen Waddle in the end zone for a safety.

“Right before that play I talked to Trey and said, ‘somebody has to make a play,’ and it just happened to be me,” said Hayward. “I think it was a momentum shifter after that we got it going. Offense got it going a little more defense started playing a little faster with a little bit more urgency.”

Las Vegas is the first team to open 3-0 against teams that all won 10 or more games the previous season.

The Raiders are winning games without their top running back from last season. Josh Jacobs remains sidelined with a foot injury.

“I met with Josh (Monday) morning,” said Gruden. “We’re going to see how he feels on the practice field this week. Not making any predictions, but we’re hopeful that we can get him back on the grass at some point this week.”

The Raiders will travel to Los Angeles for their first AFC West game, taking on the Chargers, who are 2-1 on the season.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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