Sep 15, 2019; Detroit, MI, USA; Los Angeles Chargers defensive coordinator Gus Bradley before the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders name Gus Bradley defensive coordinator

The Las Vegas Raiders hired former Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley as their defensive coordinator on Tuesday.

Bradley, 54, coached the Jaguars from 2013-16 and spent the past four seasons as the defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers.

He replaces Paul Guenther, who was fired on Dec. 13 after the Raiders’ 44-27 loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 14.

Bradley was 14-48 as the coach in Jacksonville. Before that he was the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks (2009-12) and a defensive assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2006-08). Raiders head coach Jon Gruden was the head coach in Tampa during Bradley’s tenure there.

The Raiders finished 8-8 in their first season in Las Vegas but ranked 30th in scoring defense (29.9 points per game) and 25th in total defense (389.1 yards per game).

Bradley’s Chargers were 23rd in scoring defense (26.6) and 10th in total defense (343.4) in 2020.

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller (83) against the Los Angeles Chargers at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders hope to finish on high note at Broncos

Now that 2020 is ending without a postseason for the Las Vegas Raiders and Denver Broncos, the teams are looking toward 2021 already.

First, they have to wrap up this schedule and start making decisions for the next one, and that will happen when Las Vegas plays at Denver on Sunday afternoon.

For the Raiders (7-8), their first year in their new home was marked by missed opportunities that cost them a chance to get in the expanded playoff field. Las Vegas is the only team to beat the Kansas City Chiefs this season, but a flat performance against Atlanta and last-second losses to the Los Angeles Chargers and Miami Dolphins turned what could have been an 11-win season into a mediocre one.

Despite the tough losses, there is a silver lining. Tight end Darren Waller is on the verge of 100 receptions; his 98 catches (for 1,079 yards and eight touchdowns) are just seven shy of Tim Brown’s franchise record and earned him a Pro Bowl selection.

Running back Josh Jacobs is 24 yards from a second straight 1,000-yard rushing season and was also named to the Pro Bowl.

“Oh, they’re great,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said of the duo. “(Waller’s) a man that’s on the verge of potentially breaking Tim Brown’s record, one I thought never would be broken. And Josh Jacobs, those are two great building blocks.”

Waller, Jacobs and the rest of the Las Vegas offense could have a big day against Denver’s banged-up defense. Linebacker Bradley Chubb, who was also named to the Pro Bowl, has an ankle injury that kept him out of last week’s loss at the Chargers.

Defensive end Shelby Harris (knee) and safety Trey Marshall (quadriceps) are also nursing injuries. Wide receiver KJ Hamler is in the concussion protocol.

The Raiders listed several players on their injury report — tackle Trent Brown (knee), defensive end Clelin Ferrell (shoulder), guard Denzelle Good (ankle), defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (calf) and cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (thigh).

Denver (5-10) failed to reach the postseason for the fifth straight year, matching the drought from 2006-10. The Broncos hoped to see quarterback Drew Lock make a big leap after he had an impressive ending to 2019, but the second-year QB out of Missouri has struggled.

Lock has thrown 15 interceptions and has at least one turnover in 11 straight games, but he hasn’t lost confidence in himself and embraces the pressure of being a franchise quarterback.

“You feel that from Day 1 when you’re playing quarterback for any team,” Lock said Wednesday. “It’s a given pressure that is put on you, but it’s one that I’m excited about. It’s one that I’m going to carry with me into the offseason, so I can have an offseason unlike any other.

“The only thing I need to prove is that we can win a game with me under center. That’s what every quarterback has to prove — take care of the ball, put us in a good position to win the game and finish it out with a win. That’s all I want to do, and that’s all I care to do. However that needs to happen and however it does happen, I’m going to do everything I can to get us that.”

–Field Level Media

Dec 26, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) drops back to pass against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins rally with last-second FG to stun Raiders

Jason Sanders kicked four field goals, including a 44-yarder with one second remaining, as the visiting Miami Dolphins inched closer to a playoff spot with a wild 26-25 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night.

Sanders’ game-winner came just 18 seconds after Las Vegas (7-8) had seemingly rallied to win the game on a 22-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson. But on first-and-10 on his own 25, Ryan Fitzpatrick hit a wide-open Mack Hollins up the left sideline for a 34-yard reception with Raiders defensive end Arden Key also being flagged 15 yards for grabbing Fitzpatrick’s facemask to move the ball to the Las Vegas 26. One play later, Sanders booted the game-winning field goal.

Fitzpatrick, who entered the game with 9:47 remaining and Miami (10-5) trailing 16-13, completed 9 of 13 passes for 182 yards and a touchdown while starter Tua Tagovailoa finished 17 of 22 for just 94 yards and a touchdown. Myles Gaskin rushed for a game-high 87 yards on 14 carries and also caught five passes for 82 yards and two touchdowns.

Derek Carr passed for 336 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a touchdown for Las Vegas, which was eliminated from the AFC playoff race with its fifth loss in six games.

Nelson Agholor caught five passes for 155 yards and a touchdown and also drew a 49-yard pass interference penalty on Byron Jones to set up Carlson’s field goal with 19 seconds left. Tight end Darren Waller caught five passes for 112 yards, his third 100-yard game in the last four contests, for the Raiders, who finished 0-for-10 on third-down conversions.

Las Vegas, which had allowed an average of 36 points while losing four of its previous five games, held Miami to just 121 total yards and a pair of Sanders field goals while building a 13-6 halftime lead. Carr, who departed the Raiders’ 30-27 overtime loss to Los Angeles nine days earlier with a groin injury, scored the only touchdown of the half when he leaped in from a yard-out over center Rodney Hudson.

Miami tied it, 13-13, with a nine-play, 75-yard drive to open the third quarter, capped by a 10-yard touchdown pass from Tagovailoa to Gaskin on a middle screen.

Las Vegas took a 16-13 lead near the end of the quarter on Carlson’s 20-yard field goal to finish an eight-play, 80-yard drive.

Following three consecutive three-and-outs for minus-6 yards, Miami yanked Tagovailoa for Fitzpatrick with 9:47 remaining. Fitzpatrick then drove the Dolphins 84 yards in 13 plays but Miami had to settle for a game-tying 22-yard field goal by Sanders two plays after Hollins dropped what would have been a go-ahead touchdown pass at the goal line.

After a holding penalty on first down on the ensuing possession, Carr then hit Agholor up the right sideline for an 85-yard touchdown but Carlson pushed the PAT wide to make it 22-16.

Fitzpatrick then needed just three plays to drive Miami 75 yards for the go-ahead score, a 59-yard touchdown pass to Gaskin on a short under route over the middle. Gaskin then eluded a pair of tacklers and raced up the right sideline for the touchdown. Sanders then gave the Dolphins a 23-22 lead with his PAT.

–Field Level Media

Dec 6, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets quarterback James Morgan (4) and Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell (96) and defensive end Maxx Crosby (98) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Raiders DE Ferrell (shoulder) out vs. Miami

Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Clelin Ferrell will miss his second straight game on Saturday with an injured shoulder, the team announced.

The Raiders (7-7) host the surging Dolphins (9-5) in a pivotal AFC game with plenty of playoff ramifications. Ferrell missed last week’s 30-27 overtime loss against the Los Angeles Chargers — one that severely hurt Las Vegas’ playoff chances.

Carl Nassib took Ferrell’s spot against the Chargers and finished with five tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage.

Ferrell, whom the Raiders took with the fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft, has 18 solo tackles, two sacks and two forced fumbles in 11 games this season.

He’s the only Raiders player who has been ruled out for Saturday’s game. Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst, who was limited in each of the past three days of practice, is questionable.

Derek Carr practiced for the second straight day on Thursday, a good indication that the quarterback will play on Saturday, coach Jon Gruden said.

Carr injured his groin as he was running around right end in the first quarter against the Chargers. He was replaced by Marcus Mariota.

Carr was limited in practice on Tuesday but was a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday.

“I’m not going to say anything other than I’m optimistic, but I’m not a mind reader,” Gruden said Thursday. “I just know that he had an injury that caused him to miss the game last week and I respect that. He’s a tough guy, man. I’m optimistic he’ll be ready to go, yes.”

Carr has a career-best 102.0 passer rating this season, throwing for 3,396 yards and 24 touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2020; Paradise, Nevada, USA; Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts as he heads to the locker room after suffering a groin injury against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Gruden ‘optimistic’ QB Carr will play vs. Miami

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr practiced for the second straight day on Thursday, a good indication that he will play on Saturday against the Miami Dolphins, coach Jon Gruden said.

Carr injured his groin will he was running around right end in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers on Dec. 17. He was replaced by Marcus Mariota.

Carr was limited in practice on Tuesday but was a full participant on Wednesday and Thursday.

“I’m not going to say anything other than I’m optimistic, but I’m not a mind reader,” Gruden said Thursday. “I just know that he had an injury that caused him to miss the game last week and I respect that. He’s a tough guy, man. I’m optimistic he’ll be ready to go, yes.”

Carr has a career-best 102 passer rating this season, throwing for 3,396 yards and 24 touchdowns.

Mariota, a former No. 2 overall draft pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2015, made his debut for the Raiders against the Chargers by throwing for 226 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing for 88 yards and another score, in a 30-27 overtime loss.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Dolphins set for playoff push against Raiders

The Miami Dolphins head into the final two weeks of the regular season occupying the seventh and final playoff spot in the AFC. But as far as coach Brian Flores is concerned, his team must approach Saturday night’s game at Las Vegas with a playoff mentality.

“Our playoff is this week against the Raiders,” Flores said. “We’re in a one-game season.”

The Dolphins and eighth-seed Baltimore are both 9-5 heading into this weekend’s action but the Ravens, who host the New York Giants (5-9) before finishing up at Cincinnati (3-10-1), on paper have a big edge in the remaining schedule. After playing Las Vegas (7-7), which mathematically still has a very slim chance at making the playoffs, Miami must travel to Buffalo (11-3), which has already clinched the AFC East crown.

“It’s good to kind of (go) through that and realize we’re still playing meaningful football,” Flores said.

The Dolphins, who will spend their Christmas Day flying across the country to Las Vegas, eliminated the New England Patriots from the playoff race with a 22-12 victory on Sunday. Undrafted free agent Salvon Ahmed led the way, rushing for 122 yards and a touchdown, as Miami, despite starting six rookies on offense, rushed for 250 yards, breaking the 200-yard mark on the ground in a game for the first time since Dec. 24, 2016 at Buffalo, when it ran for 261 yards.

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went 20-of-26 passing for 145 yards and an interception and also rushed for two touchdowns to improve to 5-2 as a starter. The fifth overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft out of Alabama is completing 63.5 percent of his passes in his starts to go with nine touchdown passes and two interceptions.

Depending on how things go in practice this week, Tagovailoa could be matched up against his fellow Honolulu St. Louis High School alum, Raiders backup quarterback Marcus Mariota.

Mariota took over in relief for Derek Carr, who suffered a groin injury late in the first quarter in Thursday night’s 30-27 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He went 17-of-28 passing for 226 yards with one touchdown and one interception before leaving. He also rushed for 88 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, with eight of his runs accounting for first downs.

“I think that would be awesome seeing Marcus (play) because me and (linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill), we’re both from Hawaii,” Tagovailoa said when asked by reporters after Sunday’s win about the possibility of a potential all-Hawaii quarterback battle. “Marcus is from Hawaii. Me and Marcus went to the same high school. I think that (would) be something pretty cool, something special.”

However, Carr alternated snaps with Mariota in practice on Tuesday and said he’s “doing everything in his power” to try and play on Saturday night.

“We’ll see how it goes this week,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “He’s chomping at the bit to play. We’ll do what we think is right for Derek and this team.”

Carr pulled up and grabbed the inside of his left leg while trying to scramble around right end, hopping out of the bounds and heading straight to the locker room.

“I went to sprint for the end zone and it just went,” he said of his groin.

The loss to the Chargers was the fourth in the last five games for Las Vegas, which ends the regular season at Denver. The Raiders are just 5-13 (.278 percent) in December-January games since the start of 2017. Only the Carolina Panthers (4-12) have a worse mark during that span.

Three defensive starters — safety Johnathan Abram, linebacker Nicholas Morrow and cornerback Damon Arnette — who sat out the loss to the Chargers with concussions were limited in practice on Tuesday, while defensive end Clelin Ferrell (shoulder) remained out. Safety Erik Harris joined defensive back Daryl Worley, cornerback Isaiah Johnson and wide receiver Henry Ruggs III on the COVID-19 list while linebacker Tanner Muse was shifted to injured reserve.

Miami guard Solomon Kindley, carted off with a knee injury in Sunday’s win, did not suffer any structural damage and could play Saturday. Kindley, a rookie who has started 13 games, was the only Dolphin to sit out Tuesday’s practice.

–Field Level Media