Josh Jacobs key to unlocking the Raiders offense

HENDERSON, Nevada (AP) — The Las Vegas Raiders have had the best of their season when running back Josh Jacobs put much of the offensive load on his shoulders.

He did it again Sunday in Denver, and it’s a little coincidence that the Raiders ended their three-game losing streak by beating the Broncos 22-16 in overtime.

Because Jacobs was so effective at rushing for 109 yards and catching three passes for 51 more, it helped open up a Raiders passing game that was limited by tight end Darren Waller and wide receiver Hunter Renfrow on injured reserve.

Derek Carr passed for a season-high 307 yards, the second time he passed 300 yards this year.

It was also Jacobs’ first 100-yard rushing game since the three games stretch a month earlier in which he rushed for 144, 154 and 143 yards. The Raiders beat the Broncos and Houston Texans and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs by one point.

Then over the next three-game period, Jacobs failed to breach 80 yards, and Las Vegas went 0-3 against teams all with losing records.

Jacobs will need to keep turning over if the Raiders are going to do much the rest of the season.

“To me, one of the most impressive things about him is that he never asked to be taken off the game,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said Monday. “I’ve been coaching for a while and it’s a tough situation to play and I’m never going to get out because you get hit and you get hit and guys fall on you and all the rest.

“He runs out there, takes a bunch of hits, and doesn’t even look at the sideline. It took me a few weeks to get used to it because you usually think you’re going to work running backs fairly regularly. I got used to it from the recent past where we used Lots of different appearances, but this guy gives us such a high level of confidence in him and he never seems tired or worn out.”

Jacobs went into training camp in the best shape of his career, and he’s played this season with added motivation after the Raiders didn’t pick a fifth-year option. So he plays for the Raiders and 31 other teams.

The Raiders have played their best this season when Jacobs was at his best, and that includes a much needed win in Denver.

“We put in some crucial plays there at the end to win it,” McDaniels said. “It’s always nice to win. Even better when you’re in class on the road.”

what to do

Wide receiver Davante Adams. Given how short the Raiders are at receiver, defenses are focusing more attention on stopping Adams. Did not matter. Just put the ball close to him, and Adams will likely make magic. He did it against the Broncos, catching seven passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns that included the OT winner on a beautiful fake to open it wide.

What needs help

Penalties. Sheer numbers are bad enough. Las Vegas ranks 28th in all kick returns (6.9) and average receiving yards (56.7). It’s the timing too. The Raiders have disabled a number of drives with a false start here or a held call there. It happened again on Sunday when penalties helped the Raiders finish their first two drives with zero points.

storage

Defensive end Max Crosby. Six tackles, two sacks, three quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, one forced fumble, a blocked field goal. Both of his sacks came on the third throw, forcing a Denver punt. On another drive, Crosby forced a fumble on third and short, which resulted in a field goal attempt that was saved.

Low stock

Cornerback Sam Webb. The Broncos scored their only touchdown on a drive as Webb committed pass interference and a key fouled handling. He was called for a defensive catch—the penalty was denied—on another drive that ended in a field goal. Tough day for the uncut newbie.

injuries

OT Colton Miller did not play in Denver due to shoulder and abdominal injuries. CB Net Hoops is qualified to get rid of a broken hand.

key number

3 – Crosby has blocked three kicks in his entire career against the Broncos. The other two came in a Week 17 matchup in the 2020 season.

next steps

The Raiders finish their stretch of road games in Seattle on Sunday. This will be the fourth match in Las Vegas in five weeks. Four of their last six matches are at home.

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