The Las Vegas Raiders‘ running game has been effective to start the season but the team has quickly abandoned it in favor of the passing game. That was not the case in Week 4 against the Denver Broncos. The team ran the ball 38 times for 212 yards and two touchdowns, which are all season highs.
Leading the charge was Josh Jacobs, who finished with a career-high 144 rushing yards. He put together his best performance of the season and looked like the rookie version of himself when it was thought he could be the NFL’s next great running back. If the Raiders can get Jacobs going consistently, they are going to have one of the most potent offenses in the league.
Las Vegas’ passing game was supposed to be dominant this season but that hasn’t been the case yet. Hunter Renfrow has missed two games in a row and there’s clearly been growing pains for Derek Carr. He was thrilled to see Jacobs go off against the Broncos in Week 4.
“I’m just so proud of him because he works extremely hard and he has a great smile on his face every day. … If teams want to play help on Davante [Adams], and things like that, then Josh … that running game will only help,” Carr said after the game.
Carr then went on to specifically talk about an impressive 43-yard run by Jacobs that came in the third quarter.
“Some of the cuts that Josh made today,” Carr said of the run. “I think there was one on the little zone run to the left and he stopped and he spun and he went back up through. That’s different. He didn’t even know there was a hole there until he spun back into it. He got a huge run out of it … which was special.”
Josh McDaniels Praises Jacobs
This offseason wasn’t ideal for Jacobs. He saw the Raiders decline the fifth-year option on his contract and draft his possible replacement in Zamir White. He’s also seen all the other top skill players on the Raiders offense get new contracts while he’s on the last year of his deal. If he keeps having similar performances for the rest of the season, the team might need to figure out a way how to keep him.
Head coach Josh McDaniels had some very high praise for the running back after the game.
“He’s one of the best runners that I’ve ever been around,” McDaniels said. “Take that for what it’s worth. And I’ve been around some good ones. He has a great ability to make yards after contact and the ability to make yards even if there’s not a whole lot there right away.”
Raiders Finding Offensive Identity
Through the first three games, the Raiders wanted to be a pass-happy offense. It led to them losing all three games. The offense finally showed some balance in Week 4 and controlled the Broncos for the entire second half. It’s clear that the Raiders need to commit to the run going forward.
Jacobs is a Pro Bowl-level running back when he’s healthy. He’s been healthy to start the season so the Raiders need to take advantage. The team does have the tools to be an elite passing offense but having an effective run game is what leads to wins.