The Oakland Raiders finally found some resemblance of a running attack against the San Diego Chargers, and the result was the best game we have seen by the Raiders throughout this 11 game losing streak. They still lost, but they gave a hell of a fight on the way to that loss.
If the Raiders can build on the success they had on the ground then they will end their current losing streak soon. So far this year they have just been getting annihilated in the running game and that is a huge part to the 0-5 start for 2014. They have only gained 360 yards rushing in 5 games while they have given up 749 yards to their opponent, that type of yardage difference is completely unacceptable.
The really crazy thing about only having 360 yards so far on the ground this year is that 114 of those yards came last week against the Chargers. It would be a pretty big coincidence for their first solid running game of the year to have been under Tony Sparano as the interim head coach without giving Tony some serious credit for that improvement.
If we believe that Sparano did indeed create a better environment for the running game to flourish then it is fair to expect that trend to continue. The surprising thing about the 114 yard performance against the Chargers was that it came on just 20 carries in the game. Hopefully, that is just the beginning of what is to come.
They didn't run more because Derek Carr was having such an outstanding performance but if they can continue to average over 5 yards a carry then you can bet that there will be more carries coming. Darren McFadden averaged 5.7 yards per carry and Maurice Jones-Drew did even better at 7.5 yards per carry, those type of numbers would be huge if they could become a consistent trait of this team.
If the Raiders are going to turn this season around at all into respectable territoy then they will absolutely need to be able to run the ball. The proof of the impact it can have on a game came this past Sunday, but it can get even better. The Silver and Black have historically been known as a running team that set up the deep ball, and that is what they need to get back to with the roster currently what it is.
Derek Carr throws one of the prettiest deep balls that we have seen from a rookie in a long time, and that will open up even more if the run can become successful. Tony Sparano is a believer of this philosophy and that makes him an excellent coach for the current state of the Raiders.
If Sparano can continue to get this running game to perform well then the Raiders first win of the season will come soon. We have been waiting years to see the type of performance we saw from Darren McFadden specifically. If he can get his career back on track under Sparano then the Raiders will become a formidable opponent down the stretch even if they are a losing team this season.