Latavius Murray Quietly Shines In Win Over New York Jets

Heading into Sunday's game, the New York Jets boasted the top-ranked rushing defense in the NFL, a fact that running back Latavius Murray and the rest of the Raiders were made well aware of by the time the two teams took the field Sunday afternoon.

"We've been hearing it all week," said Murray. "It's what they do is stop the run and we definitely took that as a challenge and made sure that we dictate what happens out there in the run game, and we did that."

And the Raiders did just that in a big way.

Entering their Week 8 tilt, the Jets were allowing just 71.5 yards per game on the ground, but Murray eclipsed that number – and it barely took him a half.

When all was said and done, and the dust settled on the Raiders 34-20 win, Murray rushed the ball 20 times, totaling 113 yards in the process, setting the tone early by taking his first touch 26 yards down the right sideline.

"It's truly a blessing, [against] a great defense like that, man," Murray said. "I tip my hats to those guys [the offensive line] first, because I can't do that without them. It's absolutely great and it says a lot about how hard we've been working in the run game and what we're capable of."

And after Sunday's effort against a top-ranked defense, the Raiders ground attack appears to be capable of quite a bit.

Last season the Raiders only managed to get a single 100-yard performance from their running backs, (it was Murray Week 12 against the Kansas City Chiefs), but through just eight weeks this season they already have two.

After Sunday's game, Murray has carried the ball 115 times for 534 yards and is on pace to reach the 1,000-yard mark, and if he were to do so, he would the first Raider to reach that plateau since Darren McFadden in 2012.

"We take a lot of pride in getting our running backs their yards and keeping the quarterback clean," right tackle Austin Howard said postgame. "That's huge for us up front, absolutely huge."

The Raiders offensive line as a whole shone Sunday, and although they spring-boarded Murray to a 100-yard game and kept quarterback Derek Carr clean yet again, Howard knows that the group is capable of much more.

"We're still building," Howard said. "It all starts with preparation. We learn new ways to have success on the field each and every week, and that's what we're good at, finding ways to have success on the field as an offense, as an offensive line and we need to keep building on it each and every week."

In addition to Murray, the Raiders have also enjoyed the compliment of running back Taiwan Jones the past two weeks, and although he only carried the ball twice against the Jets, he did take his lone reception 59 yards to the house in a stellar individual effort.

Murray described the tandem of he and Jones as "very dangerous," and thinks the pair creates quite the dilemma for opposing defenses.

"As you've seen, especially the past two weeks, we can be very dangerous," Murray said. "For Taiwan to be able to get outside the way he does and then I come in there and switch it up, just a different back, it's huge. We hope to keep that going."

Next up for the Silver and Black is a road matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers who boast a stout rush defense in their own right, and while Murray and the Raiders will enjoy Sunday's win for a short time, now sitting at 4-3, they have their eyes firmly locked on the next opponent. 

"Now that we got this win, it's time to go get this next one, a big one up there in Pittsburgh," Murray said. "We just have to keep this thing rolling, keep working hard, like Coach said, it's a week by week league. We have to accept this win and appreciate it and know that it's not over."

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