That was quick! The Las Vegas Raiders already played their first game of the 2020 season against the Carolina Panthers. Moreover, they came out of Bank of America Stadium with their first win of the year. Although football is a team sport, running back Josh Jacobs was a driving force behind their victory.
Josh Jacobs carried the Raiders in Week 1
Week 1 dispelled any early notions of Jacobs having a sophomore slump. The running back was a factor all game both on the ground and in the air. He finished the game with 25 carries for 93 yards and a monster three touchdowns. Also, he hauled in four catches for 44 yards and stayed true to his desire to have a bigger role in the passing game.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr was efficient and completed 22 of 30 passes for 239 yards and one touchdown. Sunday’s game plan didn’t ask him to be aggressive and instead, be precise on his shots downfield. He didn’t have to do much as Jacobs carried the team on his back. Head coach Jon Gruden may ask Carr to sling the ball in an upcoming day. Nevertheless, today wasn’t it and the Gruden’s offensive approach worked.
Of course, Jacobs didn’t do everything alone and he received plenty of help from their offensive line even though they lost right tackle Trent Brown and backup Sam Young. The group committed zero penalties and paved the way for Jacobs. In fact, the running back’s second touchdown was possible thanks to the superb blocking of center Rodney Hudson and guard Richie Incognito.
— Chris Reed (@ChrisReed_NFL) September 13, 2020
Jacob’s backup, Devonta Booker also played well. He ran hard and ended the game with four carries for 29 yards and a 7.2 yards-per-carry average. Rookie wide receiver Henry Ruggs III added 11 yards in two carries and the Raiders finished with 133 rushing yards.
Head coach Jon Gruden praises Josh Jacobs
Many fans think Josh Jabobs was robbed of the Offensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2019, which went to quarterback Kyle Murray. Regardless of how valid that opinion is, maybe we should start talking about the sophomore running back as an Offensive Player of the Year. In his press conference after the Raiders win, Gruden said Jabobs reminded him of a legendary player. Moreover, the coach says the Alabama standout should get national recognition.
I’m not going to put any more pressure on him than he puts on himself. I’ve been the son of a backfield coach my whole life. My dad coach at Tampa Bay, Notre Dame. I’ve seen a lot of running backs for a long time, but that was a little bit like Walter Payton used to play. It was hot as hell. He got beat up early, he insisted on coming back, he insisted he get the ball as a runner and receiver. He’s special, he deserves some national attention. I hope you guys give it to him.
Although the Walter Payton comparison may be a bit too much at this point of Jacobs’ career, he’s definitely a special player. He displayed toughness in 2019 when he played hurt. Now, he is showing he can carry the Raiders offense in his shoulders. If Jacobs keeps playing the way he did against the Panthers, it won’t be too long before he gets more mainstream recognition.
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