Jon Gruden’s call to kneel instead of going for TD backfires in Raiders loss: ‘I don’t regret it’

Raiders coach Jon Gruden doesn’t regret kneeling the ball instead of scoring a touchdown in the final minute of Saturday’s 26-25 loss to the Dolphins.

Las Vegas, down 23-22 at the time, had ample opportunity to net six points with goal to go after the two-minute warning. But Gruden let the clock wind down to 22 seconds before attempting a field goal; that includes a third-and-goal try at the 1-yard line, with Miami’s defense ready to let the Raiders score a go-ahead touchdown. That would have made the score 29-23 — point-after attempt pending — with about a minute left in regulation.

But Gruden instructed quarterback Derek Carr to kneel in an attempt to leave as little time as possible for Miami to score.

“I don’t regret it,” Gruden told reporters after the game. “I don’t regret it one bit. I just regret the results. … Nineteen seconds left, on your own 25-yard line, with no timeouts, I’ve called plays a long time, the probability of getting that done is remote. … I’m not going to get into all the scenarios. We played it exactly like we wanted to play it.”

Kicker Daniel Carlson nailed the 22-yard attempt from the 4-yard line, giving his team a 25-23 lead with just 19 seconds left for Miami to attempt a game-winning score. Unfortunately for Gruden and Co., they were the victims of “Fitzmagic.”

It only took one play for Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to get his team within field goal range: His miracle heave to Mack Collins — with a Raiders defender jerking his head left by the facemask — connected for 34 yards. The 15-yard penalty moved Miami to the Las Vegas 25:

Two plays later, Jason Sanders’ 44-yard field goal sailed through with just one second remaining, giving the team an improbable 26-25 win.

Give credit to Gruden for trying to analyze the situation. Just this season, the Falcons cost themselves a win against the Lions after scoring a late touchdown that gave Detroit a chance to win the game. It has even happened on the college level. It’s easy to nitpick a decision in hindsight, but it’s clear Vegas would have rather had the points after the fact.

Especially considering the loss drops the Raiders (7-8) out of playoff contention.

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