A heralded draft pick and an underrated free agent signing have given the Las Vegas Raiders a two-headed monster.
The Silver and Black have been on a roll as they head into their Week 11 matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite a suspect and at times, awful defense, the Raiders’ passing attack has been as accurate as humanly possible. However, it’s been head coach Jon Gruden’s power rushing attack the one leading the way in 2020.
The team features one of the NFL’s top fullbacks in Alec Ingold who’s been key in blocking every game. Even more impressive is that this rushing offense has been running behind an offensive line that’s been unable to field its starters. Be that as it may, let’s take a look at the two men responsible for 1998 Raiders 2.0, as Gruden so eloquently put it once.
Jacobs and Booker are carrying the Raiders
When Raiders brass selected running back Josh Jacobs out of Alabama last year, fans were mostly ecstatic due to his playmaking ability. He’s also proven to be one tough customer, playing through injury in his rookie campaign. Despite amassing three touchdowns in the opening game, Jacobs’ season took some time to get going.
After some decent performances, Jacobs came roaring back in Week 8 against the Cleveland Browns. In that contest, Jacobs totaled 129 rushing yards, the first time he surpassed the 100-yard mark in 2020. While Jacobs was heating up, another running back in the Silver and Black’s stable was starting to make noise.
Devontae Booker, who joined the Raiders without much fanfare, was a former Denver Bronco that saw his playing time quickly diminish after his rookie year. The Raiders, however, recognized Booker’s abilities, even during the season, the coaching staff recognized what they had. Overall, Booker is currently graded at 76.2 by Pro Football Focus, is averaging 6.2 yards a carry, and has three touchdowns under his belt.
It Will Be Hard To Bring Down These Running Backs
Jacobs is becoming a more complete back as he’s being featured in the passing game this year. At the same time, Booker is helping to lighten Jacobs’ load while making the most of his snaps. In fact, since Week 7, the Utah standout’s load has been steadily increasing, from seven rushing attempts to 16 last Sunday. With Booker settled in his current role, it’s a safe bet he’ll stay in that range while helping to keep Jacobs healthy.
One thing to keep an eye on as the season progresses is that these two are hard to bring down. One number that will likely continue to climb is broken tackles for these two. Jacobs already has 17 broken tackles and Booker has forced five of his own. Another statistic to keep observing will be their rushing yards after contact this year. Booker has amassed 131 yards with Jacobs ahead of him with 351 before their Week 11 game.
Let’s see if Gruden continues to ride the hot hand and keeps imposing the Raiders’ will with the running game. You can’t win in the playoffs without being able to run the ball, at least the Silver and Black has that covered.
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*Top Photo: Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports