Statistically speaking, the 2021 season for Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs has been the worst of his three-year career. Jacobs failed to reach the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career, and while he did post career-highs in receptions and receiving yards, he frequently didn’t quite look to be the same player as just a couple of seasons ago.
But with the Raiders’ season on the line in a ‘Win and Get In’ Sunday night game against the divisional rival Los Angeles Chargers, Jacobs carried the Raiders offense with his best game of the year. Jacobs finished with a season-high 132 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown in the Raiders’ thrilling 35-32 overtime victory to punch their ticket to the playoffs.
Jacobs was especially crucial in the overtime period, totaling 69 yards on two Raiders drives, and this was not by mistake as the running back revealed after the game that he went to offensive coordinator Greg Olson and expressed his desire to close out the game.
“When the four-minute came before overtime, I told them ‘I’m the closer. That’s what y’all brought me here for. Let me close.’,” Jacobs said. “And when we got the opportunity and they tied the game and we went to overtime, I looked at Oly (Greg Olson) and I said ‘It’s time’ and we collectively came together – the offensive line, DC (Derek Carr), everybody – and just made it happen.”
Jacobs asked to be put in that position, and he delivered in a big way as now the Raiders will travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bengals in the Wild Card game. And it will be interesting to see how Jacobs will be utilized against one of the NFL’s stingiest run defenses.
The Bengals rank 5th in the league against the run, so it could be a more difficult outing for Jacobs than he was against the Chargers’ abysmal run defense. But Jacobs has clearly shown that he needs to be an integral part of the Raiders’ offense in the playoffs.
Most importantly, Jacobs wants and desires to be that bell-cow running back who can close down games and help the Raiders hold on to leads late. Against a Bengals offense that has been on fire in recent weeks, utilizing Jacobs to control the ball could be the Raiders’ best bet to come away with a victory.