SEATTLE — Josh Jacobs wasn’t sure he would play until about two hours before kickoff on Sunday. The fourth-year running back for the Las Vegas Raiders had to test the left calf, which he fine-tuned in a non-contact drill during Friday practice.
And after he tightened it late in regulation on Lumen Field’s artificial turf — “There isn’t,” he said — the Raiders’ coaching staff wanted to put him in for the rest of the game.
“I sort of convinced her that I could go,” Jacobs said. “And, you know, after that, the biggest game of the game happened.”
Jacobs burst through a large hole on the right side of the line and was untouched for an 86-yard touchdown run with 4 minutes and 20 seconds of overtime to give the Raiders a 40-34 overtime win over the Seattle Seahawks.
As such, Jacobs finished with franchise single-game records for All Purpose Courtyards (303) and Rushing (229). He was also only the fourth player in the Super Bowl era to finish with at least 300 all-purpose yards and two TDs in a game, alongside Stepphone Paige (1985), Priest Holmes (2002), and Adrian Peterson (2007).
“That mentality [Jacobs] brings and that mindset, the way he runs and the way he finishes, runs through people over and over again, he always finishes forward,” said Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who celebrated his 13th game on Sunday , the third most career walkoff win for any starting quarterback since 1950, behind only Drew Brees (21) and Ben Roethlisberger (14).
“He brings that mindset, man, how hard he’s been working, all those things, I said it earlier this year… the happiest person in the building next to me is Josh Jacobs. And we’re seeing the fruits of that now.”
Jacobs, a 2019 first-round draft pick by the Alabama Raiders, had not received his fifth-year option this offseason from Las Vegas’ new regime of general manager Dave Ziegler and coach Josh McDaniels. And Jacobs, a Pro Bowler in 2020, is having his best season yet.
With six games remaining this contract year, he already has 1,159 rushing yards, the fifth-highest total in franchise history, behind Marcus Allen (1,759 in 1985), Napoleon Kaufman (1,294 in 1997), Mark van Eeghen (1,273 in 1977 ) and Allen (1,168 in 1984).
And in his third 1,000-yard rushing season, Jacobs tied Allen and van Eeghen for most of those seasons in Raiders history.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said part of Jacobs’ production was a function of all the attention Seattle has given Raiders All-Pro receiver Davante Adams, who has had 413 yards and five TDs on a tear in his last three games was, but ended up with seven catches for 74 yards in Seattle.
“We didn’t tackle it [Jacobs] as well as we had to,” Carroll said, “and we didn’t plan it as well as we had to.”
McDaniels, meanwhile, said he was “running out of superlatives” to describe his running back.
“He’s a football player,” McDaniels said. “I mean, that’s probably the biggest compliment I could give him and he’s making it big.
“It’s not just what he does on the field, it’s how he trains, what he does in preparation, how attentive he is in meetings, how he’s on walk-throughs, how badly he wants to win. He wants to win . He is doing everything he can to help us.”
For the Raiders, who went 4-7 with their first win in Seattle since 1998, it was their second straight OT win on a walk-off touchdown. They are only the third team to accomplish this feat since the NFL introduced OT in 1974, along with 2017’s Green Bay Packers and 2001’s Chicago Bears.
In Sunday’s overtime, the Raiders got the ball first and attempted a 56-yard field goal that was wide right. The Seahawks then went 3-and-out and punted, setting up Jacobs’ run from the Raiders’ 14-yard line on the first down. It was three days before the 35th anniversary of Bo Jackson’s tour de force in the old Seattle Kingdome when his 221-yard rushing day included a 91-yard TD run into the tunnel.
“I noticed half the defense were looking at Mack [Hollins] because he didn’t know what he was doing in the play, lined up,” laughed Jacobs, referring to the Raiders receiver. “He said, ‘What’s the play?’ I said: ‘Get in line!’
“When I hit the gap, I saw [fullback Jakob Johnson] I got a big block and I just saw a big hole and I tried to run as fast as possible.
Jacobs said the knock on him was that he didn’t have breakaway speed and paused.
“It’s all about angles,” he said softly, before laughing. “It’s all about angles.”
A week earlier, Jacobs chuckled as he told a reporter how fresh he felt, the best his body had felt so late in a season of his career.
“No bruises, no bruises,” he said at the time. “Strange.”
As he hobbled through the locker room in Seattle, he smiled again.
“I hexed it,” he said as he patted his wooden cubby.
“It’s just a minor injury. Ain’t nothing crazy Nothing that I think will set me back, but something I definitely need to take care of.”
ESPN’s Brady Henderson contributed to this report.