If there was something that should give fans hope that what we saw in Week 9 against the Giants has some staying power, it’s the return of Raiders star running back Josh Jacobs. For all too much of the miserable first half of a season in Vegas, Jacobs epitomized the struggles of the team in general.
His opportunities were limited. His numbers were down. He was playing like he was not quite sure what he should be doing. On Sunday, new coach Antonio Pierce, who took over following the dramatic firing of Josh McDaniels, had a message for his running back.
He wanted the Raiders to see the old Josh Jacobs.
“(Pierce) just told me the way I play the game with passion, it ignites a spark in the guys. That’s what I tried to come out here and bring today,” Jacobs said, via NFL.com.
The Raiders pounded the Giants defense with Jacobs, as he took 26 handoffs and totaled 98 yards, the most of the season for him. He also scored two touchdowns, his first multi-TD day since Week 11 of 2022. Pierce saw Josh Jacobs bring the Raiders a little edge—a little anger.
“When you watch Josh run, he runs angry and he got back to that running style, what we saw last year,” Pierce said in his postgame press conference. “It was just feed him, just go. And do at the end of the game we wanted to get him there and get him to the 100-yard mark and we’ll keep grinding on that. That’s something obviously I don’t take for granted. It’s hard to do the National Football League. We haven’t done it this year.”
Raiders’ Josh Jacobs Now 11th in Rushing
Under Josh McDaniels, Jacobs had been one of the players suffering most. He is coming off a year in which he rushed for 1,653 yards, most in the NFL, and averaged 97.2 yards per game. He also amassed 12 touchdowns.
Yesterday’s game moved him into the NFL lead in rushing attempts (159) and he now has 506 yards rushing. That is tied for 11th in the league.
Jacobs has not been as vocal with his Raiders frustration over the past two months as fellow star Davante Adams, but the fact that he’s been unhappy has shown through with his play, which has been lethargic, as with the rest of the team.
But from the first drive, this looked like a different Raiders team, and a different Josh Jacobs. He had 31 yards on four carries in fueling the team’s opening touchdown drive.
Raiders Were Under Special Pressure vs. Giants
Coming into the game, Josh Jacobs did say the Raiders felt a bit of extra pressure, that firing McDaniels and going with Pierce would have been for naught if they’d lost to the lowly Giants, who played most of the game with a third-string quarterback.
“I feel like, if we went out and laid a egg, it would have been it for the season. You know what I am saying?” Jacobs said.
Now, at 4-5, the Raiders are in the playoff mix in the AFC, with a chance to stay there. The schedule gets very, very difficult—the Jets, Dolphins and Chiefs are on top leading into the Week 13 bye—but at least the team has shown it can play up to its potential.
“It almost feels like a reset for us,” Jacobs said. “Obviously, our record is what it is, we can’t go back in the past. But we know what we can do from here on. So, even, win or lose, we want it to look different, the way we win, the way we lose. I know Tae talked about that a little bit. But man, just, winning with our style. We went out there and put up 30 points for the first time all year. It’s just fun to do. We want to continue that.”