EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Darren McFadden’s load might be lighter when he’s healthy again. The Raiders will run at the same rate, but they might call Rashad Jennings’ number instead.
The veteran backup had another productive day playing for McFadden, totaling over 100 yards of offense in a 24-20 road loss to the New York Giants.
[Instant Replay: Miscues cost Raiders in 24-20 loss to Giants]
Jennings had 88 yards on 20 carries and two receptions for 22 yards using a smash-mouth style the Raiders expected from McFadden.
The running game hasn’t missed a beat since McFadden strained his hamstring for a second time this season, and it was going strong in the first half especially.
“I thought we ran the ball exceptionally well today,” Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. “That was a point of emphasis for us. We wanted to run and they’ve done a great job stopping it, but we were able to move the ball.”
That’s because Jennings kept breaking tackles, churning out steady gains.
“We expect the backfield to run physical,” Jennings said. “The line did a great job opening holes. It was a team effort.”
Jennings had a lot to do with that success. He was solid in a strong follow up to last week’s game against Philadelphia, when he had 176 yards of total offense.
“It was nice to be able to grind out some good runs,” left tackle Khalif Barnes said. “We needed to do more of it.”
Allen was asked why he didn’t go to Jennings more often, especially with the passing game struggling so.
“I don’t know how many attempts we had, but I thought we had a good game plan,” Allen said. “We really tried to run the football, and I thought we did the right things. We just didn’t make enough plays offensively to win the game.”
Whether Jennings has more of a chance to make big plays and cut into McFadden’s workload hasn’t been formally determined.
“I don’t make those decisions,” Jennings said. “But I’ll take the ball whenever my number is called. I expect to perform well every time. I expect to help us win games. Unfortunately, we didn’t do that today.”