After an unprecedented offseason, the Las Vegas Raiders’ Josh Jacobs runs away with the 34-30 win in Carolina against the Panthers.
Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is a special player. He proved it during his banner rookie season, and again in Week 1 of the 2020 season as Las Vegas wins their first game 34-30 against the Carolina Panthers.
The Raiders entered Week 1 with expectations of displaying their much-improved offense against coach Matt Rhule’s inexperienced Carolina defense. It didn’t take long to see second-year running back Josh Jacobs pick up right where he left off last season.
“That was a little bit like Walter Payton used to play,” Jon Gruden said of his young running back. “It was hot as hell. He got beat up early and insisted on coming back and insisting he got the ball as a runner and a receiver.”
Gruden dialed up a mixture of different looks — calling 30 passes, compared to 31 handoffs. Jacobs got involved in both aspects of the game, taking 25 carries for 93 yards and three touchdowns. Through the air, he caught four passes for 46 yards.
Collectively, the Raiders averaged 4.3 yards per rushing attempt, with Henry Ruggs III and Devonte Booker getting their looks to rush behind the Raiders’ mammoth offensive line as well.
While the offensive line didn’t allow any sacks, they did experience injuries among their front five. Trent Brown left the game in the first half with a calf injury, resulting in Sam Young to fill in at right tackle. Young held his own along the edge until the third quarter when he himself suffered a groin injury. Denzelle Good wound up replacing him, finishing the game at right tackle.
While Jacobs did most of their damage on the ground, Derek Carr helped maintain a balanced and flawless approach. Carr went 22/30 with 239 yards and one touchdown.
The defense had moments of showing promise, but they also displayed the fact that they’re a young unit periodically throughout the game. Much of the buzz throughout training camp regarding the defense included talk about Clelin Ferrell and Damon Arnette. Ferrell only tallied two tackles and generated little to no pressure on the quarterback, but one tackle specifically, came in the form of clinching the victory over Carolina.
Arnette recorded five tackles and one pass breakup in his NFL debut. He quietly had a productive first half, but late in the fourth quarter, Arnette slipped and was beat by Robby Anderson, resulting in a 75 yard touchdown.
The return of safety Johnathan Abram did not disappoint. Abram had several wallops including a stout hit on Panthers star running back, Christian McCaffery. Despite his return to form, Abram said he and his teammates have a long way to go.
“It felt great to be back out there with my guys,” Abram said. “Today was a sloppy effort on the defense’s part. We got to go out and execute a lot better.”
Ultimately, the Raiders’ cohesiveness on offense looked up to par. Defensively, you saw the growing pains that people were concerned with, as they started five players who entered their first or second season in the NFL.
Now with the Raiders’ first victory in the books, they’ll host the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football inside brand new Allegiant Stadium.