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MIAMI GARDENS (CBSMiami) – It wasn’t pretty for about three quarters, but the Miami Dolphins got the job done.
Scoring 21 straight points during the second half, the Dolphins improved to a perfect 3-0 record with Sunday’s 28-17 victory over the visiting Oakland Raiders.
It’s the first time since 2013 that Miami has opened a season with three straight wins.
Speedy wide receivers Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant stole the show for the Dolphins during the second half.
First, Grant took a shovel pass from Ryan Tannehill and sped around the corner for an 18-yard touchdown that trimmed the Raiders lead to 17-14 late in the third quarter.
Two drives later, it was Grant again finding the end zone, but this time there was a bit of trickery involved.
It began with a handoff to Frank Gore, who then flipped the ball to Wilson, who threw a perfect pass to a wide-open Grant. That touchdown gave Miami a lead they would not relinquish.
After the game, Grant was asked how often Miami had practiced the trick play.
“Every practice man,” Grant said. “Every practice we had, me and Albert were practicing and you know it was just like that chemistry. I knew that it was going to be a touchdown and all he told me was, “Make sure you score and if you get tackled by one man in the open field, you owe me $100.” And now he owes me $100 for scoring because that’s what we do.”
Just for good measure, the Grant-Wilson combo teamed up again on Miami’s next possession but in a different way.
A shovel pass to Wilson turned into a 74-yard touchdown, one that saw Wilson and Grant high-fiving as the pair ran towards the end zone with no Oakland defender anywhere nearby.
“You could tell it just took all the air out of them and it was just like ‘man, there it goes, there goes the game,’” Grant said of the play. “And that’s what we feed off of. We like that.”
TANNEHILL LOOKING GOOD
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill was about as solid as you could ask for, completing 17 of 23 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns.
That’s good for a passer rating of 155.3.
So far this season, Tannehill has completed 72.9% of his passes and has a touchdown-interception ratio of 7-2.
“I believe we’re on the right track,” Tannehill said. “The patterns that we have established so far, the way we work in practice, the way we support each other and stick together through adversity, we’re on the right track. Are we there yet? No. But the patterns we’re establishing are going to take us there. We just have to stay the course, keep working and take it one game at a time.”
His passer rating through three games is 121.84, which will likely land him somewhere inside the top 5 for QBR so far this season once Week 3 is over.
RAIDERS CAN’T CLOSE
For the third consecutive week, the Raiders went into halftime with the lead.
And for the third consecutive week, they went back into that same locker room without a win to show for it.
Dolphins cornerback Xavien Howard had two more interceptions against Oakland, bringing his season total to four.
He’s becoming one of the best cornerbacks in the AFC, and head coach Adam Gase doesn’t seem the least bit surprised.
“He looks like the guy we have been seeing since training camp, so I think he’s just trying to figure out a way to get better every day,” Gase said. “He’s done it. He’s practiced well and we’re starting to see that translate to the game.”
Howard now has seven interceptions over his last eight games, dating back to the end of 2017.
No player in the NFL has had more interceptions since Week 13 of last season.
“I just think his ability to stay tight in coverage and then he does a great job of finding the ball and finishing the play. It’s tough to do,” Gase said. “When all of a sudden you become the receiver and the receiver’s hanging on you and it’s vice versa than what he’s used to, it’s not an easy catch to make.”
The last two times Miami started a season 3-0, (2013, 2002) they failed to make the playoffs.
Next week, they head to Foxboro for a matchup with the New England Patriots.
“I don’t think they’re really focused too hard on that right now,” Gase said of the Pats game. “We’ll enjoy this one for the next 24 hours and then after that, we’ll worry about moving on to the next one.”