When the sun set on the beaches of Miami, Fla., all eyes turned to Hard Rock Stadium.
Under the bright lights, with the cameras rolling, the Oakland Raiders took the field for a primetime showdown with the Miami Dolphins on Sunday Night Football. Throughout the team's preparation all week in Sarasota, Fla., it was apparent that the group needed a win, and they weren't going to leave the Sunshine State without one.
By the end of the night, the Silver and Black had totaled 379 yards, rushing for 84 yards, and passed for 295. The team played well in all three phases of the game, which is a major reason the Raiders were able to walk away with a 27-24 victory.
Following the game, let's recap the three matchups we highlighted heading into the Week 9 tilt, presented by DirecTV.
Offensive Lineman Kelechi Osemele vs. Defensive Tackle Ndamukong Suh
When the Raiders offense and the Dolphins defense locked horns for the first time Sunday night, two of the NFL's most-physical behemoths went to battle. While the skirmish between Osemele and Suh was the featured matchup, the Dolphins tried to pair Suh against fellow Raiders guard Gabe Jackson. Once the clock struck 00:00, Suh had registered one tackle, one sack, and one forced fumble. The Raiders offensive line did a great job of limiting the five-time Pro Bowler, and even had a little fun at his expense.
On 3rd and 2, with running back Marshawn Lynch lined up in the backfield, and Suh facing a potential Jackson and tackle Marshall Newhouse double team, the Raiders offensive linemen did the exact opposite upon the snap. With a full head of steam, Suh burst through the line of scrimmage expecting Jackson and Newhouse to block him, but instead found himself falling flat on his face, leaving an open hole for Lynch to run through.
In my assessment, I think it's fair to say this round goes to the Raiders O-line.
Raiders Secondary vs. Wide Receivers Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker
With cornerbacks Gareon Conley and David Amerson unable to participate, the team turned to Sean Smith, TJ Carrie, and Dexter McDonald against the Dolphins. Facing one of the most-productive receivers in the game in Landry, the group limited him to 32 yards, and allowed 76 yards to Parker. The duo of Fins wide outs have big-play capabilities, and one of Raiders Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.'s points of emphasis is not allowing anything over the top of the defense, and Sunday night the defense prevented that from happening.
Dolphins quarterback Jay Cutler had an efficient day at the office, as he completed 34 of 42 passes for 311 yards, and three touchdowns, but in regards to the performance from Landry and Parker, the Raiders secondary did its job, and kept them in check for a majority of the game.
A look at the best images from the Raiders' Week 9 matchup against the Miami Dolphins.
Raiders Defensive Line vs. Running Back Kenyan Drake
In Miami's first game without running back Jay Ajayi, the team managed to rush for 86 yards, with 69 of them coming from second-year back Kenyan Drake. This was the former University of Alabama running back's first opportunity to take over the reins, and while he didn't have a bad day on the ground, he fumbled, and was unable to find pay dirt.
For the most part, the Raiders defensive line kept Drake and the rest of the Fins running back corps from gaining chunk yards – minus one Drake run for 42 yards. The defensive front has only allowed one 100-yard rusher all season, and their next challenge will be the New England Patriots in Week 11.