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Raiders-Texans: 5 things we learned from a much-needed victory

Las Vegas Raiders did enough — and proved they still have a heart beat

Houston Texans v Las Vegas Raiders
Davante Adams
Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images

The Las Vegas Raiders did exactly what they needed to do as they came out of the bye and outlasted the weak Houston Texans 38-20 at home Sunday.

Let’s look at five key aspects from the game:

Josh Jacobs is playing out of his mind and he was the difference in this game as he had three touchdowns, all in the second half. He had 143 yards and surpassed 140 yards on the ground for the past three games.

No Raiders’ player has ever done that. Houston’s run defense came into the game awful and it had no answer for Jacobs as the Raiders finally settled down and had a good balanced offense in the second half after going into halftime tied at 10-10. This has to be Josh McDaniels’ game plan until further notice — feed Jacobs and let him set the tone.

Beat the bad teams:

The game against Houston, 1-4-1, started a winnable stretch for the Raiders. Las Vegas’ next five opponents are a combined 13-21-1 with only one opponent, Seattle, who the Raiders play at the end of this stretch, having a winning record. That is important for a Las Vegas team that has only beaten Denver, 2-5, and the one-win Texans. So, the schedule is setting up for the Raiders very nicely, beginning at the 2-5 New Orleans Saints next week. Not only are the Saints bad, but they’re really beat up. Anything less than going 3-2 in this stretch would be a disappointment for McDaniels’ team.

Finish the right way:

One thing the Raiders did in their two wins this season was close their opponent out with big touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The Raiders outscored Houston 21-0 in the final 15 minutes. The Raiders lost their four games because they couldn’t make enough plays late in the game. This is a winning formula that must continue.

Houston Texans v Las Vegas Raiders
Duron Harmon
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Harmon takes Moehrig’s reps:

In a surprise, the Raiders used safety Duron Harmon more than Tre’von Moehrig on Sunday and it appeared like he was primary player at the position. Harmon iced the game with an interception return for a touchdown late in the game.

Moehrig was supposed to be a foundation player after playing well as a rookie after being drafted in the second round last year. Harmon was with the new Las Vegas brass in New England and he signed a one-year deal. Harmon is a nice player but he is 31 and is working on a one-year contract. Moehrig is supposed to be a player to build around. There has been reports that the Raiders are shopping fellow safety Johnathan Abram before the November 1 deadline. Would Las Vegas listen to offers on Moehrig?

Offensive line consistency?

Finally. For the first time this season, the Raiders started the same offensive line. But it didn’t last as rookie Thayer Munford replaced Jermaine Eluemunor at right tackle in the second quarter because of an ankle injury suffered by the starter. It was the 11th different alignment the Raiders have used on the offensive line in six games. The starting unit consisted of Kolton Miller at left tackle, rookie Dylan Parham at left guard, Andre James at center, Alex Bars at right guard and Eluemunor at right tackle. The Raiders have a lot of issues, but the inconsistency on the offensive line has been one of their biggest and longest issues. The unit is far from perfect, but it has having some success. It ran blocked very well in the second half Sunday.