Josh Jacobs

Until Teams Can Stop You, Feed Josh Jacobs In The Red Zone

Have the Las Vegas Raiders found a cure for their red zone woes? If we’re judging by Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans, it’s possible. Until opposing teams commit to stopping Josh Jacobs, the Raiders need to stick with Jacobs in the red zone.

Josh McDaniels’ ability to make in-game adjustments when it mattered most was on full display versus the Texans. Despite an underwhelming first half, the Raiders’ offense suddenly became a juggernaut in the second. Of course, it was a team effort led by the offensive line, which cleared the way for Jacobs, along with Derek Carr, who continued his precise passing as well. McDaniels himself spoke about coming out of halftime with a different mindset and making the right adjustments. “We talked about it at halftime. There were a few things, subtle little adjustments that we tried to make. I thought the communication was better. And I thought the execution was better. I thought the offensive group up front really gave Josh [Jacobs] an opportunity to get started a bunch of times in the second half and was able to run it in,” said McDaniels.

Keep feeding Josh Jacobs in the red zone

Looking back at the game, McDaniels played his cards well. While Carr has been largely efficient this season, his red zone numbers are down. He had only completed 38.9 percent of his passes in that area of the field prior to Sunday. The thing is, if the Raiders could find a way to punch it in without putting additional pressure on Carr, why wouldn’t they? So many NFL teams make it look easy when it comes to the red zone. There’s no need to shoot yourselves in the foot if opponents can’t stop your running back right now.

Well, that’s exactly what happened. The Texans were unable to slow down Jacobs in the second half, and No. 28 made their defense pay for it. Jacobs ran it in for three touchdowns, with two of them coming when it mattered most: the fourth quarter.

To be honest, Jacobs’s red zone dominance shouldn’t be too surprising. Think about this: before the Texans’ matchup, Jacobs was getting nearly 80 percent of the Raiders’ rushing carries in the red zone. As for Sunday’s red zone snap rate, Jacobs had 100 percent for the Raiders. That’s quite telling considering the weapons surrounding Carr. Though it should be noted that Waller’s presence the last two games (he exited early vs. the Kansas City Chiefs) has made an impact. Nevertheless, to my earlier point, if you can rely on Jacobs for consistent scoring, you eliminate chances for turnovers via interceptions or even fumbles. To Jacobs’ credit, he only has one fumble thus far in 2022. In other words, you can rely on him. With 19 plays of 10 yards or more to his credit now, Jacobs is playing like a man possessed.

Taking it a step further, before going off for three touchdowns on Sunday, Jacobs was already getting almost all of the load inside the 10- and 5-yard lines this season. Combining Carr’s efficiency with Jacobs’ knack for getting into the endzone, the Raiders could now have found the answer to their red zone woes.

Raiders Week 7: 3 Knee-Jerk Reactions After Second Win

*Top Photo: Adam Hunger/Associated Press

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