A win is a win and as the Oakland Raiders try to get back into the playoff hunt, they’ll take it.

Derek Carr himself said it best post-game when asked for his thoughts on the game, “We Won.”

Now last Sunday morning, RaiderRamble.com brought you “Four Keys to a Raiders Victory Against Miami” where we broke down four areas the Raiders needed to focus on to come out of Miami with a victory. Here we take a look back at those areas and see how the Raiders did.

Focus Area 1 & 2: Pressure Cutler and take away the WR’s

In the 1st half of the game, the Raiders pass rush looked non-existent. Khalil Mack was usually doubled but none of the other defensive linemen were able to get to the quarterback.

Jay Cutler consistently found open receivers on third downs and ended the game going 34 for 42 for 311 yards and three touchdowns. This is the same Cutler who averaged 166 yards a game coming in. The chart below compares his stats last week versus his average the rest of the season and it’s not pretty.

Att Comp Comp % Yds/game Yds/Att QB Rating
Week 2-7* 180 113 63% 166 5.53 78.8
Week 9 42 34 81% 311 7.4 121.3
*Did not play weeks 1 and 8
Source: NFL.com

Without a steady pass rush, the Dolphins wide receivers seemed to be too quick for the Raiders defensive backs as Cutler was able to scramble and make completions when there was pressure as either the Raiders cornerbacks failed to stay with the receivers or the safeties covered the wrong zone.

On a positive note, the front seven kept the Dolphins running game to 86 yards and got key stops in the 2nd half.

Focus Area Grade: D

Focus Area 3 & 4: Pocket awareness and balanced offense

Derek Carr looked much more comfortable in the pocket and routinely hit open receivers. His numbers would have been much better if not for drops by Seth Roberts, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree. Carr also seemed to have established a nice connection with tight end Jared Cook as he hit the veteran a total of eight times for 126 yards.

Carr’s success had a lot to do with the offense being more balanced; play-action, pre-snap movements and complementary routes kept the Miami defense guessing. This adjustment did not go unnoticed by the analysts.

The Raiders offense was not perfect as the run game only mustered up only 84 yards and the wide receivers had trouble holding on to the ball. However, the offense looked vastly improved from Week 8 and hopefully is a sign of things to come.

Focus Area Grade: A

Overall the Raiders offense did enough to overcome Cutler’s best game of the season. Moving forward, however, the Raiders need their injured cornerbacks to return quickly as the defense is having trouble getting off the field. We will go in-depth into the issues with the defensive backs later this week here at RaiderRamble.com.

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