Because Week 1 finished with a thrilling road victory over Denver, it was a little easier to overlook the fact that Raiders running back Josh Jacobs struggled in the game, gaining only 48 yards on 19 carries for an average of 2.5 yards per carry.
It will be much more difficult to conceal Jacobs’ difficulties after Week 2 for two reasons: Jacobs had a dismal stat line, with negative-2 yards rushing on nine rushes, and the Raiders were thrashed 38-10 in Buffalo on a day when little went right for the silver and black.
If you were frustrated with Jacobs’ performance, the Raiders’ inability to create holes for him, or a combination of the two, take heart: Jacobs was, too. There were moments when it appeared that the Raiders were going to play their own brand of football, such as the first drive of the game, when Vegas took a 7-0 lead with a score, but those moments were swiftly absorbed by ineptitude.
“I think that’s what makes it so frustrating for me, the potential,” Jacobs said after the game. “You can see glimpses of how good we could be. Simply putting it all together on a consistent basis is what we need to figure out.”
Jacobs blamed himself, even though it was evident that he wasn’t getting enough blocks against Buffalo’s tough defensive front. Jacobs was not throwing fingers, but he did note that mistakes were made.
“I honestly feel like I need to do more,” Jacobs remarked. “I need to do more, create plays when the opportunity arises.” Make the guys right, even if they make a mistake on the field. We need to figure out what went wrong, fix it, and focus on it again next week. And come out and be ready for the Steelers on Sunday.”
Raiders coach Josh McDaniels, on the other hand, stated that Jacobs was routinely hit in the backfield, which was not his fault—the offensive line offered Bills defenders too many open lanes. Jacobs had three rushes that resulted in losses, three that resulted in no gain, and three that resulted in short yards (games of two, three, and one yard).
“We’ve got to be able to block people and get the runner started,” McDaniels stated after the game. “I thought a lot of the time we couldn’t even get him to the line of scrimmage without getting hit.” I accept responsibility for everything, and I’ll have to do a better job of determining what we need to do to get JJ going.”
Jacobs was reminded that the Raiders had to face potential playoff teams on the road twice and came out with a 1-1 record—not a bad finish. However, Jacobs, who rushed for a league-high 1,653 yards last season, was not celebrating any moral wins.
“Me personally, man, I don’t ever want to lose a game,” he remarked. “I know it’s not realistic, but I never want to lose a game.” I don’t want to lose a play most of the time. That’s just the way I am. I take it personally when I lose a game or a game series. That’s not my way of thinking. “I want to win them all.”
When asked if the Raiders should simply “flush” the Bills loss, Jacobs counseled his colleagues not to.
“We don’t need to completely flush it; we just need to address where we went wrong and improve from there,” he says. “I don’t think we should just say, okay, next game, and then flush it.” “I don’t believe that will result in a winning culture.”