The Oakland Raiders made a big splash in their 2016 primetime debut, handily beating the Denver Broncos 30-20 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
From the first play of the game, the Silver and Black showed they were committed to running the ball, and for good reason too, as they controlled the line of scrimmage all evening, running the ball 43 times for a season-high 218 yards.
The Raiders dominated the vaunted Broncos defense Sunday evening, and while Latavius Murray put together a career day against defensive coordinator Wade Phillip's group, but one of the most impressive runs of the day came from rookie running back Jalen Richard.
With 6:47 left in the second quarter, Richard lined up in the backfield to the right of Derek Carr, and then proceeded to take the handoff, accelerating through a big hole created by Austin Howard and Donald Penn, galloping through the Broncos secondary for a gain of 28.
The 28-yard scamper was Richard's longest run of the day, and was made possible by several, key players along the offensive line, so it is this week's Right Combination Play presented by State Farm.
Following the play, right tackle Austin Howard broke down the run, and the play of the rookie running back.
"I've said it before, us as offensive linemen, we get really excited to have the opportunity to make those holes for the running backs, and at the same time, protect the quarterback, that's what we get our high from, so you always get amped up to hear these plays called. I've said it before also, our running back corps really makes our job easy as offensive linemen. We have probably the three best, four best, running backs in the league right behind us. We're very confident [with] them, and they trust us to get our blocks done, and things have worked out for us."
Once the ball was snapped:
"I pulled around and I felt a good pop on the defender, and I felt Jalen; he kind of set it up perfectly for me where he stepped to the left a little bit, and then came back to the right underneath me, and it opened up huge for him, and it opened up huge for us. It was a good play."
Howard is getting more comfortable pulling from his position at right tackle:
"I like to pull, so I'm getting more used to it, getting better at it each and every week, but our offensive staff has done a really great job at making sure that they call the right plays at the right time, and put us in really good situations."
Rookie running back Jalen Richard has made quite the impression since joining the Silver and Black:
"He's a tough guy. We actually, as an offensive group, call him the oldest rookie in the league. He runs out there like he's a grown man, and he's doing well. We're proud of him. We're proud of our whole running back corps as a group, and hopefully we can just continue this thing, keep it going."
After the play ended, it was time to celebrate quickly, but then get back work:
"It's just a lot of excitement. Like I said, we're proud of him, proud of our corps, proud of this team, proud of this offense, and a lot of excitement going down there to celebrate with him, and then moving onto the next play."