ALAMEDA – Raiders running back DeAndre Washington had 23 carries in Sunday’s victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. That was a career high by ton.
He had 14 carries two weeks ago against the Titans when he filled in for Josh Jacobs, who has a still-nagging shoulder injury. Washington had 12 carries twice in three previous seasons, reaching double digits four times in that span.
Washington made the most of a true featured back role Sunday, rushing for 85 yards and a touchdown. He also had two receptions for 21 yards, kicking his all-purpose total over triple digits.
That’s a good sum for someone longing to prove his mettle as a full-time back. That it came in a must-win game, with the Raiders still in the playoff hunt, enhanced that showing as Raiders coaches graded it out.
“We were excited coming out of the game because we didn’t know, you just don’t know what you’re going to get at times when a guy hasn’t played,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “He has been a role player for us. He hasn’t really had a chance to tote the rock for an extended period of time. So, to me, it was a great evaluation game as a coaching staff to be able to evaluate him in big football game.
“He came out of it where he got the support of the staff and the support of the head coach and the support of the entire organization. We were really happy with how he ran the ball and how he protected in the passing game and how he caught the ball coming out of the backfield. It was a good day for DeAndré Washington and couldn’t be happier for him.”
Heavy workloads aren’t foreign to the Texas Tech alum, who had 274 touches as a senior with the Red Raiders.
Touches have been foreign in the pros though, as he and Jalen Richard have offered run support to Latavius Murray in 2016, Marshawn Lynch in 2017, Beast Mode and Doug Martin in 2018 and Jacobs this year.
That’s why Sunday’s game was so important for Washington individually.
“I think it was a big opportunity being able to showcase myself not only to the coaching staff but also to the rest of the league,” Washington said. “I wanted to show that I can carry the load.”
With Jacobs a dominant player just starting his career, those opportunities might not come with the Raiders.
Washington is set for unrestricted free agency this offseason and certainly look for more prominent roles on the open market. There’s no reason why he wouldn’t with Jacobs entrenched here for a long time.
That’s why Washington mentioned proving himself to the rest of the league.
“It’s a business,” Washington said. “It what it is, so I wanted to make sure I put it out there.”
Washington has always been a tough runner. He’s super strong and harder to take down than his size suggests.
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He has had good moments, but his performance against the Chargers made an impact among Raiders power players who might view him in a slightly different light.
“We talk often times about our scouting department and the guys that have put our team together," Olson said. "They had a vision of who he was and had a chance to see him around here in preseason games. I think he exceeded those expectations in this football game. Maybe not for himself because I know he has high expectations, but I think for a lot of people within the organization. It’s really just a chance, an opportunity that he took advantage of to get out on the playing field and showcase his skill set to us.”