Josh Jacobs has been a man on a mission for the Las Vegas Raiders this season. After getting off to a quiet start through the first three games, the running back has 441 rushing yards and six touchdowns over the past three games. He’s a major reason the team has gone 2-1 over that stretch.
With Sunday’s 143-yard performance in the 38-20 win over the Houston Texans, Jacobs surpassed Hall of Famer Marcus Allen for most rushing yards by a Raiders running back through 50 games with 3,720. Allen had 3,688 rushing yards through his first 50 games. Despite Jacobs’ great play, the Raiders are 2-4 and have a lot of work to do to get back into the playoff race. He’s not buying into the hype surrounding his recent play yet due to the team’s record.
“It’s hard to have self-satisfaction,” Jacobs said after Sunday’s win. “Because, obviously, we’re still on the bottom end of the winning pole. And then it’s still a long season. If I don’t play good the rest of the season, everything I did up to now don’t really mean nothing. The biggest thing for me is, man, I want to get in the playoffs.
“I want to go on a run and actually feel what it feels like to actually experience that. I think we have a special group of guys. When we’re all clicking offensively and defensively, we’re a scary team. I’m just trying to find a way to approach going about working every day to bring out the best out of everybody.”
Jacobs Growing as a Leader
Jacobs may have gotten the fifth-year option on his contract declined in the offseason but he’s been one of their most important players since he was drafted in 2019. When he first started, he kept his head down and just tried to focus on himself. Last year, he was even named a team captain. This season, he didn’t earn a captain’s patch but he’s been growing as a leader. He’s much more frequently seen talking to his teammates on the sideline and working with the offensive line to fix any issues.
“I was always the type, man, I don’t really like to talk too much; I kind of just lead by example,” Jacobs said, “but I’ve learned that when you’re the guy that people look up to and you’re the guy that people are looking for an answer from, you gotta be able to step into that role.”
Jacobs’ leadership has certainly played a factor in his improved play. He’s always been a very good running back but hasn’t always had a good offensive line to work behind. He’s clearly in much better sync with this current group than he’s been with previous groups.
Raiders Teammates Praise Jacobs
There’s no telling where the Raiders might be right now if Jacobs wasn’t on fire. They could feasibly be 0-5 without his recent stretch of performances. Fullback Jakob Johnson spoke about what Jacobs is doing well.
“He’s just really running the ball hard,” Johnson said, via The Athletic. “You always need more than one defender to bring him down, he’s doing a great job with the ball security and the piles are moving forward. No matter how many defenders are in there, he’s moving the ball in a positive direction. That’s all we can ask for.”
Center Andre James is very happy to be playing with Jacobs right now.
“It’s real easy to block for a guy like that,” James said. “It’s good to see; it’s finally starting to jell.”