The Las Vegas Raiders are back in the win column! After a dramatic, one-of-a-kind lateral-pick six from Chandler Jones, the Raiders find themselves standing at 6-8 as they inch closer to the playoff race. Many things went both right and wrong for the Raiders on Sunday, but one thing they did well was establish the running game. Let’s take an in-depth look at the Raiders’ performance in the run game on Sunday.
How did the league’s leading rusher do vs. the Patriots?
The NFL’s leading rusher put together another impressive performance against one of the better rushing defenses in the league. Jacobs got 22 carries, which at this point in the season seems like an easier game for him. Josh was able to tally 93 yards with those carries, good enough for 4.2 yards per carry. The one downside to Jacobs’ performance was that he was unable to score a touchdown. Hey, you can’t win them all.
Jacobs was one of the only bright spots for the Raiders’ offense for much of the game. Josh got the majority of the carries, with his counterpart Zamir White being the only other rusher with just one carry. Besides an encouraging opening drive, the final drive to tie the game at the end, and another drive that was gifted by a blocked punt, there was a period in which the Raiders threw a pick-six and then punted four consecutive times. During that period, Jacobs was the only player who could get anything going on offense.
White, as mentioned before, got just one carry. With that carry, he picked up four yards. White saw some action in the passing game but was largely absent from the rushing attack.
What worked for the Raiders?
A lot of what worked well for the Raiders this week had to do with some sheer talent from Jacobs. One thing Josh has gotten better at this year is his jump cut. He’s gotten so good at it that the commentator even compared his jump cut to LeSean McCoy during the game. Throughout the course of the game, the offensive line failed to open the intended hole several times, but Jacobs was still able to gain some yardage by bouncing the play to the outside.
The Raiders also ran the ball very well off-tackle. Kolton Miller and Jermaine Eluemunor did a great job sealing the deal for Jacobs this week. As Jacobs has tallied more and more impressive outings as the year goes on, a portion of the credit should go to these two. The line has performed better as the year goes on and they gain chemistry. These off-tackle runs are an example of the Raiders’ offense being able to slowly start to put things together.
Next, the Raiders will head to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers in a primetime, Christmas Eve matchup. The Steelers have a very impressive rushing defense, allowing the seventh fewest rushing yards per game, at just 109. Pittsburgh’s front seven boasts one of the best players in all of football in TJ Watt, so the Raiders will have a tough matchup ahead of them.
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*Top Photo: Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images