Raiders’ Run Game Is Back At The Best Possible Time

The Las Vegas Raiders are back in the playoffs for the first time since 2016. A huge reason for this is that the running game for the Silver and Black has been chugging along, carrying and willing this team to victory.

The old adage is that “defense wins championships,” and while that’s true, having a dominant running game also helps. Quarterback Derek Carr had some huge passes in last night’s victory, such as the one to Zay Jones to essentially seal the game. However, the Raiders have been relying on a resurgent run game the last few weeks, and this was once again the case against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Josh Jacobs Is A Closer…

Jacobs struggled for most of the season, though there were a myriad of reasons for this. The offensive line’s struggles are the most likely culprit. The Raiders’ offensive line was decimated by injuries early on, especially to Denzelle Good and Richie Incognito. The latter was never able to suit up after injury rehab issues. Combined with essentially a rookie starting center, the line’s interior was destined to struggle. And struggle they did. Be that as it may, the narrative has changed lately. Jacobs has rushed for 100 yards in two of the last three games—129 against Denver and 132 last night. It should also be noted his average yardage per attempt in those contests was 4.78 and 5.08, respectively.

What’s more impressive about Jacobs and his resurgence is that he’s proving his toughness yet again during this stretch. Battling with injured ribs is no easy task, but Jacobs knows what’s on the line and he’s pushing through.

“I feel like we kind of knew what was at stake. I’ve never been in the playoffs since I’ve been in the league… I told them there’s no way I don’t play in this game. Hurt or not they were going to get everything out of me. That’s how it played out. It was amazing for real.” -Jacobs said following the Raiders’ OT win, via Levi Damien

Once regulation was over and the teams headed into overtime, Jacobs wanted the ball. He dubbed himself “the closer,” citing that this type of situation is why the Raiders brought him in. And boy did he close, amassing two runs that went for 28 and 18 yards, respectively. Also worth mentioning that according to Pro Football Focus, Jacobs forced 12 missed tackles in the game, which was more than the two previous games combined. That definitely sounds like a closer to me.

Moving forward, the Raiders need to keep this momentum going with Jacobs as they look ahead to the Cincinnati Bengals this Saturday.

The Forgotten Hero?

While Jacobs deserves all the praise in the world for his efforts, the Raiders have an unsung hero to thank for yesterday’s win. Jalen Richard, who was buried in the depth chart following Kenyan Drake’s signing, had a huge, game-defining moment last night.

The 3rd and 23 conversion where Richard ran for his life was pivotal, and that’s putting it lightly. The momentum was arguably trending in the Chargers’ favor, and this play changed the game. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Richard’s conversion had a 1.6 percent chance of being converted. Once he did it, the team’s chances of winning improved by 8 percent, going from 32 to 40. Richard defied the odds in a play we might not see repeated for a long time and will be etched in Raider Nation’s memory for the foreseeable future.

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*Top Photo: Getty Images

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1 thought on “Raiders’ Run Game Is Back At The Best Possible Time”

  1. Omg that Richard run for 23 on 3rd down was huge. JJ finally showing his talent from his younger days.

    We’ll need much more of that next week!!

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