LAS VEGAS — Ryan Fitzpatrick completed a 41-yard pass to Mack Hollins while being dragged down by the facemask and the Miami Dolphins moved one step closer to a playoff berth when Jason Sanders’ 44-yard field goal with 1 second remaining gave them a 26-25 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday night.
The Dolphins (10-5) moved a half-game ahead of Baltimore in the AFC playoff race and can clinch a wild-card berth with a win next week at Buffalo.
A Raiders victory would have cleared a path for the Ravens to make the playoffs on their own. Victories in their final two games against the New York Giants and the Cincinnati Bengals would have landed the Ravens in the playoffs as an AFC wild-card entrant. Now, the Ravens will still have to pull for the Dolphins, Browns or Colts to lose.
The Raiders (7-8) chose to run down the clock for a go-ahead field goal instead of trying for a touchdown with Josh Jacobs going down on purpose at the 1-yard line and Derek Carr taking a knee to set up Daniel Carlson’s 22-yard field goal with 19 seconds left.
But the Dolphins had some late-game magic with Fitzpatrick launching the deep pass to Hollins while being dragged down by Arden Key. The penalty moved the ball down to the Las Vegas 26, setting up Sanders’ winning kick.
The Raiders (7-8) were eliminated with their fifth loss in six games and will be out of the postseason for the 17th time in 18 seasons.
The back-and-forth final few minutes from Fitzpatrick and Carr made up for a game that lacked offensive fireworks for most of the night. After the Dolphins tied the game at 16 with 4:01 to play, the Raiders took little time to answer.
A holding penalty on first down put them in a hole, but Carr got them right out of it when he scrambled away from pressure despite an injured groin and launched a deep pass to Nelson Agholor, who outjumped Byron Jones for the catch.
Agholor then juked safety Bobby McCain and raced to the end zone for the 85-yard score that put the Raiders up 22-16 after Carlson missed the extra point.
That looked as if it could be costly when Fitzpatrick answered with a short pass to Myles Gaskin that turned unto a huge gain. Gaskin broke a tackle from Raekwon McMillan and then got sprung from some downfield blocks on the way to a 59-yard touchdown. Jason Sanders’ extra point gave the Dolphins the 23-22 lead.
That proved short-lived when Jones was called for the penalty on a deep throw to Agholor that gave the Raiders the ball at the 22. Las Vegas then ran out most of the clock but not enough.
NOT TUA’S TIME
Dolphins rookie Tua Tagovailoa struggled to move the ball with his 22 passes gaining only 94 yards. He did connect on a 10-yard TD pass to Gaskin that tied the game in the third quarter, but was pulled in the fourth for Fitzpatrick with the Raiders leading 16-13. Fitzpatrick completed two long passes to Mike Gesicki before the drive stalled and the Dolphins settled for a game-tying 22-yard field goal from Sanders.
After setting an NFL record for tight ends with 425 yards receiving the past three games, Las Vegas’ Darren Waller delivered once again for the Raiders. He had five catches for 112 yards, giving him 1,079 yards on the season for his second straight 1,000-yard campaign. The only other Raiders TE with a 1,000-yard season is Todd Christensen, who had three in the 1980s.
Dolphins: WR Jakeem Grant left in the second half with an ankle injury. … LB Elandon Roberts was taken off on a stretcher with a knee injury in the third quarter and didn’t return.
Raiders: G Denzelle Good left the game with an ankle injury late in the first half.
Dolphins: Visit Buffalo on Jan. 3
Raiders: Visit Denver on Jan. 3.