Who needs Antonio Brown?
That's what Oakland Raiders fans were thinking after watching their team defeat AFC West rival Denver in Oakland's 24-16 victory on Monday Night Football. Despite not having Brown, who was released by the team two days earlier, the Raiders never trailed while racking up 357 yards of total offense.
While quarterback Derek Carr enjoyed an incredibly efficient night (he went 22-of-26 for 259 yards and a touchdown with zero picks), the start of Oakland's offense was rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who had 113 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns on 24 total touches.
According to ESPN, Jacobs is the first player since Hall of Fame running back LaDainian Tomlinson in 2001 with 100 yards from scrimmage and two rushing touchdowns in his NFL debut.
"It's pretty simple," Jacobs said when asked about Oakland's success Monday night, via Jerry McDonald of The Mercury News. "We had a great game plan, we believed in it. We believed in the schemes. We believed in each other. We came out and played hard."
Jacobs, whose 23 carries Monday night were more than he received in any game during his time at Alabama, said that he felt fresh afterwords despite the heavy workload.
"I wouldn't call it a heavy load because I don't feel like I'm beat up," Jacobs said. "I just feel like I went out there and ran."
When asked about his favorite play from his rookie back from Monday night's win, Oakland head coach Jon Gruden picked Jacobs' 28-yard catch on the first play of the fourth quarter.
"The play that really impressed me was the catch-and-run," coach Jon Gruden said. "That was really big, to help put us up 21-6. I think he showed some all-purposeness like we thought. He could catch it, he could run with it, he picked up a couple of blitzes. He's smart and he's passionate about the game."
The 24th overall pick (and first running back chosen) in the draft, the 5-10, 219-pound runner is already being mentioned in the same breath with Saints All-Pro Alvin Kamara, a North-South running back who can just as effective as a receiver out of the backfield. He brings a unique overall skill set to the Raiders roster.
Jacobs, for his credit, isn't putting himself in Kamara's class just yet.
"He's a dog, man. I can't really compare myself to him," Jacobs said of Kamara after being drafted, per USA Today. "Just to be mentioned with him is a blessing."
Jacobs is also reluctant to talk about why he wasn't used more during his time at Alabama. Despite being one of the SEC's premier offensive players, Jacobs received just 300 carries in three seasons with the Crimson Tide.
"Everything I've put on film is going to speak for itself," Jacobs said when asked about his lack of opportunities in college. "I didn't have any injuries this year. After games, I didn't even have bruises or stuff like that. I felt crazy good so that helps the longevity of running backs all around the league, so I think that's the wave."
Jacobs is certainly ready for a heavier workload now while becoming one of the key pieces of Oakland's offensive attack.