MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Derek Carr’s best throw was his longest, a strike launched from midfield that hung in the balmy night air until Johnny Holton settled under it in the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown.
That early score put the Oakland Raiders ahead to stay, and Carr remained on target to help beat the Miami Dolphins 27-24 on Sunday.
Carr went 21 of 30 for 300 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and helped the Raiders convert 8 for 15 third downs.
The Dolphins recovered an onside kick and came up with a takeaway when Oakland fumbled twice on a single play, but failed to convert either opportunity into points.
“That was a big deal stopping them there,” Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said. “An excellent job of putting the fire out.”
Oakland also overcame 10 penalties for 105 yards, including three for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter.
The Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch, returning from one-game suspension for shoving an official, scored on a 22-yard run, his longest this year. He added another late score and finished with 57 yards on 14 carries.
Oakland (4-5) won for only the second time since Week 2. Miami (4-4) fell to .500 for the third time this season, and lost a close game for the first time in more than a year. In games decided by seven points or less, the Dolphins had won 12 in a row.
Miami’s Jay Cutler, back after missing one game with cracked ribs, completed his first 16 passes and finished 34 for 42 for 311 yards and three scores. His touchdown pass with 1:32 left cut the deficit to three points, but Oakland recovered the ensuing onside kick to seal the win.
“We’ve just got to look at the positives,” Cutler said. “We did some good things. We’re in a good position — 4-4 with a lot of football left to play.”
The Dolphins’ worst-in-the-NFL offense again struggled to the run the ball in its first game since trading running back Jay Ajayi. Replacement Kenyan Drake had a 42-yard run — Miami’s longest this year — to set up a touchdown, but the Dolphins totaled just 86 yards rushing and still don’t have a rushing touchdown this season.
Miami had 11 penalties for 107 yards.
“It seemed like we were going backward there a few times,” Cutler said.
The Raiders’ Johnny Holton outmaneuvered Reshad Jones in the end zone to catch Carr’s 44-yard touchdown pass. Holton’s celebratory dance was impressive, too — he clasped his hands between his knees and hopped along the sideline.
His only other catch this season was for a 64-yard score.
Carr’s favorite target was tight end Jared Cook, who had eight catches for 126 yards.
BEAT THE CLOCK
Carr moved Oakland 42 yards in the final 26 seconds of the first half before Giorgio Tavecchio hit a 53-yard field goal, the longest of his career, on the final play to put Oakland up 13-9 at halftime.
Miami right tackle Ja’Wuan James went to the locker room midway through the fourth quarter with a left hamstring injury.