On Sunday, the Las Vegas Raiders stunned the NFL when they defeated the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Starting quarterback Derek Carr had an exceptional game passing the football. However, Jon Gruden’s utilization of the Silver and Black’s two lead backs was pivotal in the team’s victory as well.
Devontae Booker Shines for the Raiders
On Sunday, Carr led the Raiders offense with three touchdown passes.
Derek Carr 59-yard bomb TD to Nelson Agholor 💣
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 11, 2020
Without a tactical rushing attack though, the Silver and Black may not be celebrating victory today. One of the biggest factors was free-agent pickup running back Devontae Booker, whom the team signed this past offseason. The former 2016 fourth-round draft pick had four quiet seasons for the Denver Broncos but gave Las Vegas’ offense a crucial jolt of energy with this 43-yard run in the second quarter.
— 𝕷𝖚𝖗𝖎𝖉𝕽𝖆𝖎𝖉𝖊𝖗 (@Errickson_NFL) October 12, 2020
Booker’s contributions in the second quarter were key for the Raiders and he ended the game with eight touches for 67 total yards on just 15 offensive snaps. Many pointed out running back Josh Jacobs didn’t look like himself and wondered if he was dealing with injuries, a valid concern at that point in the game.
What’s up with Jacobs? Very odd…just not himself since week 1
— Scott Gulbransen (@LVGully) October 11, 2020
Head coach Jon Gruden was saving Jacobs’ workload for when it really mattered.
As the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game began, the score was tied at 24. Las Vegas Raiders head coach Jon Gruden knew if his team generated a lead, he has a lead back who’s carries have been managed (only 12 rush attempts in the first three quarters) appropriately all game. For the Silver and Black, Jacobs saw his remaining 11 rushing attempts in the fourth quarter. One of his cauterizing late-game runs led to a touchdown that lifted the team to victory over the reigning Super Bowl Champions.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) October 11, 2020
The Raiders head coach ensured his backfield would still complement a humming passing attack, as the offense gladly shifted away from the traditional focal point of the ground game. Gruden also didn’t forget to involve fullback Alec Ingold in the passing game. Ingold fought for every yard when the team needed it most as highlighted by Good Morning Football.
"Alec Ingold, the fullback, lowering his shoulder, and delivering the pain on a Chiefs defender on 3rd and short personified everything the @Raiders were about on Sunday. They were aggressive, angry, and they were the bullies." — @PSchrags pic.twitter.com/oeaCzmmklb
— GMFB (@gmfb) October 12, 2020
In conclusion, when both the passing and rushing attacks are in sync for Las Vegas, they are a team that can score 40 points even on the ‘best’ teams in football.
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Top Photo by Charlie Riedel/Associated Press