Raiders need loads of Jacobs to advance to the playoffs | Ap thread


HENDERSON (AP) – Josh Jacobs couldn’t have produced the best game of his three-year career at a better time.

As Las Vegas plunges into what seemed like a traditional end-of-season meltdown, Jacobs set a career-best record equaling 129 yards on 27 attempts to lead the Raiders to a 17-13 victory over the Denver Broncos last Sunday. to keep the playoff hunt alive.

It was the type of effort Las Vegas could certainly use this Sunday, when they visit the playoff contending Indianapolis Colts.

“To block for someone like Josh Jacobs you have to love him as an offensive lineman because you know he’s going to give it his all,” Raiders center Andre James said. “We don’t want to block for anyone else. “

Sunday’s effort was Jacobs’ first 100-yard game of the season and the eighth of his career.

And although he touched 129 another time, it was the determination and anger with which he ran in the first practice of the second half that made 129 Jacobs’ best performance this year since he was 24th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft.

The 23-year-old ran for 57 yards in seven attempts during a 75-yard, nine-play drive that ended in a 5-yard TD from Peyton Barber that gave Las Vegas the lead in earnest. .

“Anytime he’s got that mean look on his face, you can feel it in the squad, you can feel it on the sidelines,” said Las Vegas wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. “He’s a special player. He hasn’t been able to show it so much this year, but he’s deadly and we’re going to need him these last two games. I think we’re at our best when we can run the ball. He’s a baseball player and we’re going to need him if we’re going to win these next two and make the playoffs.

First stop Indianapolis.

Jacobs, who is averaging 3.9 yards per carry this season and 4.2 per attempt over his career, will face a Colts defense that allows for 4.6 yards per carry for seventh in the league.

A much improved line that has been maligned much of the season, and an attacking front that had not given Jacobs the freedom to execute his style until Sunday, will also be needed against the Colts, who have held five of their last matches. eight opponents at 93 rushing yards or less.

“I’ve noticed a lot of things lately in the last few games, the second or third round, you can see all the guys picking up the pace,” Jacobs said of his offensive linemen. “Just to see this growth and development… just to see them come out and put everything in place and show the world what they’re capable of, I think that’s huge.”

Although Indianapolis allowed a tie in the league for the fourth lowest of nine rushing touchdowns, it was the blue-collar week he posted last week on hard practices the Raiders will count on.

Whether it’s moving the chains, setting up the playing action for quarterback Derek Carr, blocking from the backfield or softening the defensive line with his powerful bruising and rushing style. , Jacobs must produce for the Raider to be successful.

“We all like to play with anger,” said interim Las Vegas coach Rich Bisaccia. “We would like to play with an advantage. Josh runs like this when he carries the ball.

Carr said: “Aggressive – I think that would be the word I would use from my point of view. A very aggressive style of racing.

Jacobs said that once he finds his rhythm, creativity comes to life. He’ll start making extra moves around the opposition, leaving the defenders to stumble over themselves or, if need be, just put a shoulder on someone and walk through them.

“Everything is slowing down for me,” said Jacobs, whose 4.78 yards per carry on 27 attempts against Denver was his third highest of the season. “I just entered this area.”

NOTES: Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins is questionable with a back injury after participating in limited workouts each of the past three days. … Linebacker KJ Wright and substitute quarterback Marcus Mariota were activated from the reserve / COVID-19 roster and trained on Friday. … Bisaccia said cornerback Casey Hayward, defensive tackle Darius Philon and linebackers Denzel Perryman and Cory Littleton are expected to be activated from COVID protocols on Saturday and fly to Indianapolis.

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