The Las Vegas Raiders had two extremely winnable games in the past six days — they did enough to handle business in both and are now two potential wins away from making the playoffs in this crazy season.
Let’s look at five keys from Sunday’s 17-13 home victory over the Denver Broncos:
Nice game, Jacobs:
Raiders’ running back Josh Jacobs had his best game of the season and eclipsed the 100-yard rushing mark for the first time this year. Jacobs ran for 129 yards on 27 carries and the Raiders had a season-high 160 yards on the ground. He ran hard and with a purpose. He had 57 yards rushing on one touchdown drive in the third quarter and made some key runs in the fourth quarter. If Jacobs can stay locked in for the rest of the season, it will be a huge boost for the Las Vegas offense.
Too many turnovers:
The Raiders survived it, but they committed three turnovers on Sunday, including two in the final minute of the first half that resulted in 10 points for Denver. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr committed two turnovers, a terrible interception in the first half and his 12th fumble of the season.
This has to be cleaned up. It’s been a major issue for weeks.
Since the bye, the #Raiders have a league-worst 16 giveaways and are tied for league-worst 4 takeaways— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 26, 2021
Nice work, Hunter:
Raiders slot receiver Hunter Renfrow had another solid game as he caught three passes for 40 yards. He now has 92 catches on the season for 949 yards. Renfrow joined Pro Football Hall of Famers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice as the only receivers in franchise history to have a 90-catch plus season.
He had two insane catches in the first half Sunday, including one for a touchdown. What a player the 2019 fifth-round pick has become.
Excellent run defense:
This is where the Raiders won this game. Denver backup quarterback Drew Lock is pretty weak, but the Broncos have a good run attack. They didn’t have a good run attack Sunday, though. The Raiders held the Broncos, who average more than 100 yards a game on the ground, to just 18 yards on 16 carries. Denver could never get anything going on the ground. it was an excellent defensive performance, especially considering the Raiders were playing without defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, who is a good run stuffer. He was out with a back injury. It should give Las Vegas confidence heading into next week’s game against Johnathan Taylor and the Indianapolis Colts. He leads the NFL with 1,626 rushing yards.
Third-down work is better:
The Raiders continued to show improvement on third down. They were awful on third down for much of the season. But they converted on third down at a season-high rate for the second straight week. The Raiders converted 6 of 12 times on third down against Denver after going 6-for-14 last week at Cleveland. That’s a good trend.