Broncos run D gashed in loss to Raiders as Josh Jacobs, Devontae Booker run for two TDs each

Broncos run D gashed in loss to Raiders as Josh Jacobs, Devontae Booker run for two TDs each

In Sunday’s 37-12 drubbing of the Broncos at Allegiant Stadium, Raiders star-in-the-making Josh Jacobs ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns. Ex-Denver running back Devontae Booker added 81 more yards and two scores on the ground as Oakland finished with 203 yards rushing.

That amounted to the second-most rushing yards given up by Denver this season, behind the 210-yard gashing by the Chargers in Week 8.

The porous performance against the run negated a strong first half by the Broncos defense and, in conjunction with five turnovers, turned a close game into a rout.

“They’re a good running team, obviously, and we just didn’t play the run well enough,” coach Vic Fangio said. “Particularly if you lose your edge in a game, it’s going to show up in the run defense more so than anywhere else. I think in that fourth quarter we just weren’t as sharp as you need to be playing the run.”

Jacobs, who ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns in his NFL debut against the Broncos last September, showed up big in the rivalry once again. His 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter set the tone early for Las Vegas, and by the time he was pulled in the fourth quarter of the blowout, the Raiders’ front was consistently getting a push against the Broncos’ 3-4 defense.

That was evident in Las Vegas’ two lengthy drives to open the second half, which ate up 5:47 and 7:41 of clock, respectively, while netting the Raiders 10 points. Las Vegas’ first third-quarter drive was jump-started by Jacobs’ 13-yard run, while Booker had consecutive nine-yard rushes on the touchdown drive that followed.

Inside linebacker Josey Jewell admitted the Broncos, playing with a re-configured defensive line that was missing all three Week 1 starters, were “soft in the run game a little bit,” especially in the second half. With Shelby Harris sidelined due to a positive COVID test and Jurrell Casey and Mike Purcell out with season-ending injuries, the defensive line consisted of Dre’Mont Jones, DeMarcus Walker, Sylvester Williams and DeShawn Williams.

“We saw a couple of (moments of uncertainty) today where maybe us linebackers or somebody else in the back end didn’t hit (the holes) as hard as we usually do,” Jewell said. “It’s going to come down to details and really understanding what gap you’ve got on every single play, no matter what defense we call.”