Josh Jacobs softened up the Denver Broncos’ defense before Devontae Booker seemed to break its spirit.
Las Vegas’ running backs split 193 rushing yards and four touchdowns pretty evenly in the Raiders’ 37-12 win over the Broncos on Sunday.
“They’re a good running team, obviously, and we just didn’t play the run well enough,” Broncos coach Vic Fangio said. “Particularly if you lose your edge in a game, it’s going to show up in the run defense more so than anywhere else. I think in that fourth quarter we just weren’t as sharp as you need to be playing the run.”
The 37 points allowed was the Broncos’ second-most this season. The exception came in Kansas City’s 43-16 win over Denver, though the Chiefs used interception and kickoff returns for touchdowns to get there.
Sunday, Jacobs scored from 11 yards out on the Raiders’ first drive and set up a field goal later in the first half with a 24-yard run. After Jacobs’ second touchdown made it 20-6 in the third quarter, he largely handed off his role to Booker. Jacobs finished his day with 112 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries. Booker scored his two touchdowns in the final 10 minutes, finishing with 81 yards on 16 carries.
“Running the ball no matter how you do it or when you do it is a great accomplishment in this league, especially when your opponent knows you’re running it and everybody knows you’re running it," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said.
Both backs averaged more than 5 yards per carry and broke a long run of at least 23 yards.
"I think it just comes down to, whatever coach calls, we've just got to be ready to fit off each other. Sometimes if you don't maybe trust a guy, or if you're not sure what gap you're supposed to be in, maybe you're not going to hit it as hard. I think we saw a couple of those today where maybe us linebackers or somebody else in the back end didn't hit it as hard as we usually do,” linebacker Josey Jewell said. “That made us soft in the run game a little bit. Like I said, it's going to come down to details and really understanding what gap you've got on every single play, no matter what defense we call.”
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr got the team over 200 yards rushing with a 9-yard scramble. While the defensive linemen and linebackers are primarily the responsible parties for allowing the Raiders to run wild, cornerback Bryce Callahan helped explain it's truly a team effort.
“I can’t talk because I missed a tackle in the run game,” Callahan said. “But just for me, I can make the play and make the tackle, and I figure that’s what I could say for everyone else.”