The Las Vegas Raiders won a close one on Monday Night Football versus the Baltimore Ravens. One of the key factors that got the offense going early on was the run game.
Quarterback Derek Carr will surely get the spotlight, and deservedly so, but some of the hard work was done on the ground. Surprisingly, backup signal-caller Marcus Mariota opened up things early on. Mariota took part in an option play that resulted in 31 yards for the Raiders early in the first quarter. While this was the only impact that ‘8‘ had on the game, it was noteworthy. Clearly, the Raiders coaching staff wasn’t kidding when they said in the offseason that they’d find a way to get him involved.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) September 14, 2021
The Raiders’ run game showed up when it mattered…
Overall, it wasn’t the greatest of performances for the offensive line. At least not in the run game department. Missing Richie Incognito inside was big but this was also the first game without center Rodney Hudson. To add to the struggles, Josh Jacobs was hobbled and him playing was in question all the way up until game time. However, the Pro Bowl running back made his presence known. Though he was held to a pedestrian 34 rushing yards, his two touchdowns were difference-makers. Playing hurt, Jacobs continues to cement his reputation as one of the toughest players in the NFL.
One of the team’s biggest offseason acquisitions was running back Kenyan Drake. The move received a mixed reaction by fans. After all, why spend so much money on a position that appeared to be set? Well, last night’s matchup helped to quell some of that concern. Yes, Drake only totaled 11 rushing yards, yet, his impact went beyond the stat sheet. He was big in pass protection, coming up clutch in overtime. Moving forward, Drake’s ability to pick up blitzes will be key along with the threat that his speed poses will keep defenses honest.
Looking ahead to next week’s matchup, it will be vital to have Jacobs rest. The Raiders will need their two-headed monster to get going on the ground sooner rather than later.
*Top Photo: Adam Hunger/Associated Press