INDIANAPOLIS -- The Raiders had firm control of Sunday’s 31-24 win over the Colts. Most of it, anyway. Until Indianapolis made a comeback bid.
They Colts cut the lead to seven points late in the fourth quarter, armed with three time outs and momentum on their side. The Raiders needed a first down to seal victory, and called rookie running back Josh Jacobs’ number right away.
No. 28 got seven yards off right tackle. Then he got five yards off the right end. Bang. First down. Game over.
The Raiders, it seems, have found a closer.
“There’s a lot of pride in that,” Jacobs said after the win. “As a running back, you are relied upon to close the game. It was a close game at the end. It was huge for us to finish.”
Jacobs started fast and finished strong in this one, totaling 79 yards on 17 carries, with 29 more on two receptions. He ran hard and he ran smart, slicing through the Colts defense even when the whole world knew he was going to run.
“We just wanted to come in and be physical and establish the run early,” Jacobs said. “We were playing a very fast defense, but we knew there was potential to find gaps in the run game. We just tried to be patient and execute.”
Jacobs got going early, with four carries for 22 yards on the opening drive.
“We started off hot, and I felt like I was in a rhythm the whole time,” Jacobs said. “I knew there were going to be plays to be made.”
While coach/offensive play-caller Jon Gruden used some lateral runs and sweeps to great effect, he was most proud of how the entire operation executed more traditional runs.
“We like our running game,” Gruden said. “Obviously with the rotating guards as we’ve had -- I think we’ve played three different left guards in three different right guards, I’m really pleased and proud -- very proud. This guy Josh Jacobs is going to be a great back. As long as I don’t screw it up, he’s going to be one hell of a player. He can really run -- he’s got great vision. I think he’s got breakaway speed and power.
“It’s a credit to everybody when you run the ball the way we ran it. It wasn’t a bunch of RPOs and single-back lateral runs. It was old-fashioned, hard-nosed football. It takes tight-ends, it takes every lineman, it takes everybody to do it.”
Jacobs praised the offensive line's play, especially right guards Jordan Devey -- he’s done for the year with a pectoral tear -- and replacement Denzelle Good and the interior line for tough work inside. The Raiders totaled 188 yards and a touchdown on 32 carries.
They had near perfect offensive balance, as Gruden prefers. Several contributed to the solid effort on the ground, with Jacobs leading the way. He’s completely comfortable operating against NFL defenses, and has thrived when given the opportunity despite some concerns about adjusting to speed in the pro game.
“Honestly, it’s not what everybody told me it was going to be,” Jacobs said. “Since camp, I feel like I have a grasp on the pace of the game. Right now, it has gone smooth.”