The Oakland Raiders needed a win, and Sunday night, in front of the NFL world, they got just that, beating the Miami Dolphins 27-24 at Hard Rock Stadium.
On the shoulders of a big night from Marshawn Lynch, and some timely defensive stops, the Raiders tallied a well-earned win over a Dolphins team that entered the game winners of three of their past four.
The Silver and Black will fly back to Northern California tonight, with a big win in tow; here are four, quick observations from the Raiders Week 9 win over the Miami Dolphins.
1. Some familiar faces came back into the mix
The Raiders welcomed some familiar faces back into the fold for their Week 9 Sunday Night Football clash against the Miami Dolphins on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.
Offensively, running back Marshawn Lynch suited up against the Dolphins after serving a one-game suspension, and "Beast Mode made his impact felt, scoring his third touchdown of the season on a 22-yard run in the third quarter, and then adding another one late in the fourth quarter for good measure.
On the defensive side of things, after being promoted from the reserve/injured list Saturday, rookie safety made his NFL debut against the Dolphins, entering on the first defensive series of the afternoon, and then playing situationally after that.
2. Jared Cook paid big dividends early
The Raiders signed Jared Cook this offseason to be another weapon on an already very dynamic offensive group, and Sunday night – the first drive in particular – the veteran tight end showed that he was just that.
En route to the Silver and Black taking an early 3-0 lead, Cook hauled in three catches on the opening drive – two on third and longs – good for 59 total yards.
Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and the Raiders wide receivers understandably garner a lot of attention from defenses, but at 6'5", 254 pounds, and with the ability to stretch a defense, Cook is a formidable playmaker in his own right.
With their history together, Crabtree might be still be No. 4's favorite target on third down, but Cook might be giving him a run for his money now.
Cook was outstanding Sunday night, finishing his night with eight catches for a team-high 126 yards.
3. Welcome home, Johnny Holton
Johnny Holton grew up in Miami.
He went to high school in Miami, and Sunday night, he played in front of his hometown for the first time as a member of the Silver and Black.
The speedy wide receiver had 100 friends and family in the house at Hard Rock Stadium Sunday night, and No. 16 made sure he sent them home happy, as he hauled in a 44-yard touchdown pass from Carr in the second quarter.
The score – Holton's second of the year – not only gave the Silver and Black a lead, but also infused a little bit of energy into the group at a vital point in the game.
Homecomings are always cause for celebration, but Holton made sure that his return to South Florida was cause for a major one.
4. The Raiders were able to close
They sure did make it interesting, but the Raiders withstood a late, fourth quarter attack by the Miami Dolphins to fly out of Florida with a much-needed win in tow.
The defense made several, key stops in the fourth quarter, and Marshawn Lynch put the nail in the coffin with a one-yard score, helping lift the Raiders over the Dolphins.
With the win, the Raiders are now squarely back in the thick of things in the AFC West; Head Coach Jack Del Rio wanted to get off to a hot start in the second half of the season, well, mission accomplished in that regard.