Jalen Richard carried the ball six times for 22 yards on the final drive of the Raiders’ 45-20 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.
Those yards alone would have made him the Raiders’ leading rusher on a day in which they were stuffed by the Buccaneers’ stout rush defense.
Richard totaled 24 yards on seven carries, surpassing Derek Carr’s 19 yards on two carries.
Star tailback Josh Jacobs was shut down with 17 yards on 10 carries in the worst statistical game of his career. He hadn’t been held to fewer than 34 yards in 18 games and had never gained less than 3.2 yards per carry in a game.
That changed Sunday.
The problems up front began last week. Right tackle Trent Brown tested positive for COVID-19 and missed the game. The rest of the starting offensive line couldn’t practice all week after having been in contact with Brown on Monday.
Kolton Miller, Denzelle Good, Rodney Hudson and Gabe Jackson weren’t even sure they would be able to play until Sunday morning.
It wasn’t an ideal formula against one of the NFL’s best front sevens.
“The Buccaneers are one of the top run-stopping defenses in the league,” Miller said. “We did the best we could with circumstances throughout the week. There may have been a communication detail or two, and it’s those little things you miss out on not being with the team during the week.”
The Raiders’ 76 rushing yards were a season low and the fewest since they had 68 in a 34-3 loss to the New York Jets in November.
You’re outta here
The short-handed offensive line took another hit in the third quarter when Jackson was ejected.
Jackson’s foul came with 4:18 left in the third quarter on a play in which the Raiders scored on a 1-yard touchdown pass from Carr to Darren Waller.
It was difficult to pick up the offending action on replay, though several Buccaneers players appeared agitated with the normally mild-mannered Jackson.
“I didn’t see what he did,” coach Jon Gruden said. “I was asking the officials exactly, and you’ll have to get their interpretation. I believe the ejection came from New York City. They had access to replays perhaps we didn’t.
“But losing (tackle) Sam Young early in the game, then losing Gabe with the week we have had against a heck of a defense was tough on us.”
Referee Scott Novak said to a pool reporter: “On the play after the touchdown, the down judge threw a flag for No. 66 stepping on an opponent, right on his shoulder, while he was on the ground.”
Just kicking it
Gruden chose to kick a field goal on fourth-and-1 from the Tampa Bay 17 with 12:48 to play.
Daniel Carlson made the attempt to cut the deficit to 24-20, but the Raiders never scored again.
Gruden defended the decision.
“It was a long 1 (yard),” he said. “We had it more like 2, and it was a 24-20 game at that point with the field goal. We felt, at home with a little momentum, we could hold Tampa to at least a field goal or possibly get off the field.”
Instead, the Buccaneers picked up a first down on third-and-12 on their ensuing possession en route to 21 consecutive points to end the game.
“Very disappointed,” Gruden said. “It’s easy to second guess, but in hindsight, I probably would have done the same thing.”
Carr said he was lobbying to go for it, but admitted he tries to convince Gruden to go for it on every fourth down.
“That’s why we have coaches,” Carr said.
Carr threw two touchdown passes, the fifth straight game he has thrown for multiple scores.
That streak is tied for third in Raiders history. Daryle Lamonica has the franchise record with eight such games from 1967 to 1968.
Carr’s streak of five straight games to start the season with a passer rating of at least 100 was snapped. He recorded a 97.5.