Faced with a 4-point deficit in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter against the Chargers, the Raiders offense orchestrated a 75-yard drive, capped off by an 18-yard touchdown score by rookie RB Josh Jacobs.
Oakland’s offense struggled for much of the night and were held to their lowest total yards output on the season. When they needed it the most, however, the offensive line opened a hole that allowed Jacobs to break free for a touchdown. How did it happen? Lets take a look.
The Chargers stack the box against the Raiders heavy run look with eight defenders. Derek Carr sends Darren Waller across the formation in motion to line up in the slot. Watch how the linebackers adjust, each moving over a full gap to the left side of the offense. The Chargers are clearly thinking the run play will hit behind the right side of the offensive line.
Let’s back up to a previous play, where the Raiders used a pre-snap motion. I counted seven previous rush attempts where the offense ran directly towards the motion man. The Chargers defense picked up on this tendency and cheated their linebackers towards the motion man all night. This defensive adjustment made it difficult for the run game to gain much ground, and the Chargers held the Raiders to their lowest rushing output all season.
Knowing the Raiders ran towards the motion man all night, it makes sense why the Chargers linebackers are selling out to stop run towards the right side of the offense. Each defender has a gap and the free player is there to adjust to the potential hole opened on a lead block from the fullback. This leaves a defensive back with B-Gap responsibility on the backside of the play; a chink in the defense that the Chargers are willing to live with because no run had hit there before.
However, this play-call is designed to be a cutback and puts a pass-first defender is a tough spot to make a play in an unfavorable position. Also, credit Kolton Miller’s block of Joey Bosa, who creates a pile that prevents the Pro Bowl DE from scraping over to the open hole.
This was a great play call to take advantage of the Chargers defensive adjustments and aggressive play. It also speaks to the Raiders resiliency on offense when they had been running into a wall all game, yet still believed something good was still going to happen. The Raiders offensive line, fullback, and rising star tailback make it easy to believe.