A running back is as successful as his offensive line. Fortunately for the Raiders, both have been thriving.
The Raiders picked up a 38-20 victory over the Houston Texans, a win that was fueled by another dominating performance from Josh Jacobs. The running back had his third consecutive game over 100 rushing yards, and his second three rushing touchdown game of his career.
The running back is averaging over 174 total scrimmage yards over the past three games, and is currently second in the league in rushing yards and touchdowns.
"Josh is one of the best backs in the league," Derek Carr said after the victory. "He's not a slouch back there. If our guys keep working hard and keep doing the right things – we want to be a balanced football team. We don't care if we throw for 5,000. We don't care if we rush for 2,000. We don't care if we're in the middle. We just want to win football games and make it hard on people."
While Jacobs is having an immense amount of success this season, he hasn't ignored the fact that the offensive line has played a huge part in it. Going into their matchup against the Texans, the Raiders had a 75 percent run block win rate, tied for first in the NFL, according to ESPN Next Gen Stats.
Josh [Jacobs] is one of the best backs in the league. Derek Carr
"It's a blessing to be in this position," Jacobs said following the win. "I think it's more of a credit to the offensive line. I come back to them all the time. I feel like it's the first time in a long time where I've had four to five yards without being touched by anybody. They're making it pretty easy on me and I'm going to make sure I take care of them."
Jacobs' teammates in the trenches have marveled at the way the running back has played this season. The offensive line collectively has improved throughout the season, with Jacobs' monstrous games to show for it. Their success can be credited to their growing chemistry gained rep-by-rep throughout practice and in games.
"Our offensive line is starting to get more in tune together," said rookie guard Dylan Parham. "We have a lot of different pieces coming together, so now it's just, 'OK, now we're getting comfortable. ... Let's just continue to get those reps in together.' So now we're getting in a little bit of a groove. ... We just need to keep getting reps together and then that will obviously make us better."
Center Andre James, who hasn't allowed a sack this season, agreed that the improvement in his unit has come with more reps together in practice translating over to gamedays. James stated he "honestly can't say [he] has" played with a running back on the type of tear Jacobs is on now, as the former Alabama player is the first Raider in franchise history to rush for over 140 yards in three straight games.
"He makes our job easier with the way he's running it and I love to see it," James said. "It's awesome, shoutout to him – he's killing it."
They’re making it pretty easy on me and I’m going to make sure I take care of them. Josh Jacobs on Raiders offensive line
With his 143 rushing yards against the Texans, Jacobs surpassed Marcus Allen (3,688) for the most rushing yards in franchise history in a player's first 50 career games. What makes the milestone even sweeter is Allen, who's been a mentor for Jacobs, was in attendance to see No. 28 break the record.
After the game, the Hall of Famer met up with Jacobs to gave his props to the latest standout in the backfield.
"We had a long conversation in the hallway," said Jacobs. "It's been huge to see him, especially him being who he is and being a great running back in this game. To be able to take the time and mentor me and talk to me about the things that he sees, I don't take that for granted.
"It's been huge to be able to have him here and have him be happy for me beating his record."