Miami Dolphins coach Adam Gase struck a relatively optimistic tone Monday, a day after his team came up short in a 27-24 decision to Oakland, saying he thinks the Dolphins (4-4), at the midway point of the season, are close to doing good things.
"I feel like our guys last week prepared the right way," Gase said. "That's what has me somewhat excited moving forward."
Quarterback Jay Cutler had a good game with 311 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
"He did a good job of buying some time," Gase said. "He was good with the ball. I thought a couple of his throwaways were smart."
The running back situation with Kenyan Drake (104 yards from scrimmage) and Damien Williams (61 yards from scrimmage) showed promise, despite Drake's second-quarter fumble.
"I like where our running game is heading," Gase said.
The defense had some crucial late-game errors against Oakland such as the 15-yard unnecessary roughness call against safety Reshad Jones and the pass-interference call against cornerback Xavien Howard. Overall, though, the defense has carried the team for most of the season.
They had a key turnover in the fourth quarter when defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh caused a fumble on a strip-sack, a Raiders offensive lineman recovered and ran with the ball when linebacker Kiko Alonso caused him to fumble and rookie defensive end Charles Harris recovered.
"That was us," Gase said. "That's how we should play. It was 11 guys with their hair on fire trying to do something good.
"We've just got to clean some things up. I feel like we're close to doing a lot of good things. We've just got to figure out a way to play together as a team."