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Three-and-out: Bucky Brooks' observations from Raiders' Week 12 win

It took some time for things to click, but it appears that Josh McDaniels has crafted a winning blueprint that works for the Las Vegas Raiders. The Silver and Black have chalked up back-to-back wins while relying extensively on the stars to push the team past the finish line. 

Although the game was not pretty, the Raiders walked away with a win that could create momentum to spark more success down the road. Given some time to review the game tape and study the box score, here are some thoughts and observations from a former NFL scout.

Josh Jacobs is a "one-man" show

The fourth-year pro continues to cement his status as one of the premier running backs in the league with a standout performance against the Seahawks. Jacobs totaled 300-plus scrimmage yards on 39 touches (33 rushes and six catches) while exhibiting an outstanding combination of vision, balance, body control, and versatility as a runner-receiver.

The 5-foot-10, 220-pounder has been instrumental in each of the Raiders' wins with 100-plus rushing yards in each contest.

Against the Seahawks, Josh McDaniels followed a familiar script by getting the ball to Jacobs early and often. The veteran runner repeatedly found running room between the tackles on an assortment of power runs that enabled him to attack the hole with his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage. Given his combination of size, strength and power, the extended runway on downhill runs makes Jacobs an unstoppable force between the tackles.

As a pass catcher out of the backfield, the veteran shows soft hands and underrated skills as a route runner. Jacobs is a solid checkdown option with enough power, shake and wiggle to run over or around defenders in space. The combination of skills forces defenders to pause when attacking the veteran in the open field, which leads to big plays on high-percentage throws.

For an offense that is settling into its identity as a smash-mouth squad fueled by a potent rushing attack, Jacobs' re-emergence as a marquee playmaker has helped the Raiders get back on track heading down the stretch.

The run defense steps up

Despite entering the game with questions persisting about the front seven and the team's ability to stop the run, the Raiders suffocated Kenneth Walker and the Seahawks' rushing attack. The rookie was held to just 26 yards on 14 carries, as the Raiders surrendered just 65 rushing yards on the day.

Without a solid running game to set the table for Geno Smith and Co. through the air, the Seahawks were forced into a one-dimensional approach that enabled the Raiders' pass rush to tee off on the journeyman in the pocket (three sacks and 10 QB hits). Considering how defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is intent on making offenses play left-handed, the Raiders' ability to bottle up Walker played a key role in the unit's success in neutralizing the Seahawks' dynamic attack.

Reviewing the film, it was the dominant play of Andrew Billings and Bilal Nichols that keyed the effort. The duo stonewalled the Seahawks at the point of attack, enabling the linebackers to run and chase freely to the ball. With the big-bodied duo consistently playing on the other side of the line of scrimmage, Walker was forced to elude and evade defenders before he could get to the hole or past the line of scrimmage.

It is all about the finish

To his credit, Josh McDaniels has kept the Raiders together despite suffering through a series of one-score losses that tested the confidence of the squad. The veteran coach has said all of the right things while challenging the team to play the right way from the opening whistle to the final buzzer.

Against the Seahawks, the Raiders heeded their coach's advice and finished the game like champions. The Silver and Black showed a little grittiness overcoming a series of mistakes and miscues that would have derailed the team's chances in most instances. Derek Carr, in particular, bounced back from an interception on the first play of the game to push the game into overtime with a dime for a score.

In addition, the Raiders overcame a missed field goal on their first possession in overtime to finish off the game with Jacobs' 86-yard walk-off run. Considering the runner was questionable with a calf injury before the game, the physical and mental toughness displayed by one of the team's star players set a tone for the rest of the squad.

As the team attempts to re-establish a culture with high standards and expectations, the Raiders' resilience is part of a foundation that could help the team finish out the season on a high note.

View director of photography Michael Clemens' top picks of black and white photos from the Raiders' Week 12 win against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field.

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