The Las Vegas Raiders can’t seem to catch a break this season. The team has lost two straight ugly games and is now losing a key player for the season. Fullback Alec Ingold had to leave Sunday’s game early against the Kansas City Chiefs due to an injury. He had to be carted into the locker room and was quickly ruled out.
The Raiders’ worst fears were realized as an MRI confirmed that he suffered an ACL tear, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The silver lining is that the tear was isolated and there’s no other ligament damage. While his 2021 season is over, Pelissero noted that he’ll be ready for 2022. Though fullbacks have fallen out of fashion in the NFL, Ingold has developed into a very important player for the Raiders. He was named a team captain heading into the season and has caught 10 passes for 85 yards this season. Las Vegas uses their fullback in many packages and Ingold is one of the best in the league. The team will now need to look for a replacement.
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Jalen Richard Suffered Cracked Ribs
Ingold’s injury wasn’t the only one dealt to the Raiders backfield. Backup running back Jalen Richard also left the game early and didn’t return. According to Tashan Reed of The Athletic, Richard cracked his ribs and had to be sent to the hospital.
While that’s an incredibly painful injury, it shouldn’t be as serious as Ingold’s. Richard will likely miss several weeks but should return before the end of the season. This is an unfortunate development for the running back as he missed the first four games of the season due to a foot injury suffered before the season. Richard doesn’t do much in the running game but he’s the team’s best blocker at the position and really good in the passing game. Prior to this season, he missed only three games in five years. He could more than double that this season.
Raiders Running Game Is a Mess
The Raiders running game has been a disaster this season and this injury news to Richard and Ingold will only make matters worse. The team has only rushed 765 yards in nine games, which ranks 28th in the NFL. Las Vegas has a Pro Bowl running back in Josh Jacobs and a pricey veteran in Kenyan Drake. There’s no reason the running game should be this bad.
The offensive line isn’t helping much. Many times, the running backs don’t have holes to run through. Jacobs is a good runner of the football but he’s getting close to no help and the Raiders are abandoning the run early in games. The team is 27th in rush attempts this season. The Raiders need to balance the offense better or they will continue to lose. The losses of Ingold and Richard will only make it tougher to get the run game going. Regardless, if offensive coordinator Greg Olson doesn’t figure out how to run the ball more effectively, the Raiders will be finishing up the season early.