Josh Jacobs, Raiders hope to run past Chargers
Josh Jacobs deserved to be off his feet this week.
Coming off a record-breaking performance and workload that likely aggravated his calf strain, Jacobs is expected to be back in uniform for the Las Vegas Raiders when they host the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.
Jacobs rushed for a franchise-record 229 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries in a 40-34 overtime win against the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, scoring the game-winning TD on an 86-yard run.
Jacobs also caught seven passes for 74 yards, giving him 303 yards from scrimmage, another franchise record and the seventh-highest total in the Super Bowl era.
The league leader in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage wasn’t expected to practice much in the days leading up to the rematch with the Chargers.
Jacobs rushed for 57 yards on just 10 carries in Las Vegas’ 24-19 loss to the Chargers in the season opener. The Raiders fell behind 17-3 at the half before abandoning the run in the second half.
The Raiders started the season with three straight losses, thought they were back on track after winning two of three, but then lost three in a row again.
Las Vegas (4-7) has bounced back with two straight wins in overtime, both on the road, keeping its playoff hopes alive.
“This doesn’t guarantee us anything going forward,” Raiders coach Josh McDaniels said. “We’re going to stick with our process, we think we have a really close-knit group here that works hard, we believe in what we’re doing, we believe in what we’re coaching, we believe in trying to win the way we’re trying to win, and I think our guys do, too.”
The Chargers (6-5) are also trying to build off an emotional win.
Los Angeles elected to try for a two-point conversion, rather than a game-tying point-after, with 15 seconds left against the Arizona Cardinals last Sunday, and the gamble succeeded. Justin Herbert’s pass to Gerald Everett gave the Chargers a 25-24 road win that prevented them from losing three in a row.
“We’re just living week to week,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “It was about this game for us and pouring (everything) into this game and doing what we felt like was going to win us the football game.”
Herbert is coming off one of his better performances this season, as he completed 35 of 47 passes for 274 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
The only other time this season that Herbert threw at least three touchdown passes without an interception was in the season-opening win against the Raiders.
Keenan Allen is also back in rhythm with Herbert after the veteran wide receiver missed a month due to a hamstring injury, and running back Austin Ekeler continues to be a multi-pronged threat for Los Angeles, much as Jacobs has been for the Raiders.
Ekeler said all that matters is adding to the victory total.
“At this point, all games for us are like a must-win,” Ekeler said. “You see the rest of the AFC winning games … we got to catch up a few.”
The Chargers could be thin on the offensive line, however.
Los Angeles center Corey Linsley was still in concussion protocol on Wednesday. Right tackle Trey Pipkins III aggravated a left knee injury against Arizona, and the Chargers plan to be cautious with his return to practice, Staley said.
Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (ankle) also didn’t practice on Wednesday and is in jeopardy of missing a second straight game.
Raiders cornerback Nate Hobbs, out since mid-October due to a hand injury, hopes to return to action on Sunday.
–Field Level Media