Keep The Ground Game Rolling
This season, the Raiders have something they didn’t have last year – a legitimate running attack. That attack – currently ranked fourth in the NFL – has opened up Oakland’s offense in ways it hasn’t been opened in a long, long time.
And the team is reaping some serious benefits from it.
They have the league’s fifth best offense overall and are scoring a tick over 27 points per game. It’s quite a leap forward for a team that’s had trouble moving the ball and scoring points for as many seasons as the Raiders have.
And that offensive explosion is owed, in large part, to a dominant offensive line and stellar play in the backfield.
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You really can’t put too much of a value on what the three-headed beast that is Latavius Murray, Jalen Richard, and DeAndre Washington have brough to this Raiders offense. Rather than defenders pinning their ears back and getting after Derek Carr, not giving him enough time to make plays, defenses must now account for some legitimate threats coming out of the backfield.
All three, Murray, Washington, and Richard are capable of popping a big play. They’re also more than capable of grinding out the tough yards. Against Denver two weeks ago, they did a bit of each in gashing that vaunted Broncos defense for 218 yards on the ground.
Oakland’s offense – led by that ground attack – held the ball for more than 40 of the game’s 60 minutes. Think about that for a minute. This Raiders offense very deliberately marched up and down the field against one of the best defenses in the league, holding on to the ball for more than two-thirds of the game.
It was an impressive feat and a fantastic game plan. If Denver’s defense had a chink in the armor, it was their run defense. And OC Bill Musgrave took full advantage of it, running the ball down Denver’s throat all game long.
They’re going to need a similar game plan this week as the Texans come in with a similar-style defense – hellacious against the pass (third in the league), vulnerable against the run (twenty-sixth against the run).
Musgrave is going to have to be a little creative so as not to give Houston the same looks they gave Denver, but we can and should expect heavy doses of Oakland’s three-headed beast. And if they can perform as they did two weeks ago against the Broncos, we can and should expect a similar result.