Raiders RB Jalen Richard shakes off fumble, redeems himself with TD in win vs. Saints

Raiders RB Jalen Richard shakes off fumble, redeems himself with TD in win vs. SaintsRaiders RB Jalen Richard shakes off fumble, redeems himself with TD in win vs. Saints

The Raiders scored to open the second half against the Saints on Monday night, and their struggling defense forced a New Orleans punt on the ensuing possession. Las Vegas had the ball, up 24-17, and was poised to take control of the game.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="But as the Raiders offense drove down the field with momentum in hand, running back Jalen Richard fumbled the chance away. On a third-down toss play that looked promising, Richard took his eye off the ball, and for the moment, momentum was lost.” data-reactid=”14″>But as the Raiders offense drove down the field with momentum in hand, running back Jalen Richard fumbled the chance away. On a third-down toss play that looked promising, Richard took his eye off the ball, and for the moment, momentum was lost.

But Richard got another chance on the next drive — on the same toss play, even — and he cashed in, this time for a touchdown run on a third-and-long attempt, giving the Raiders a 31-17 lead. Las Vegas eventually won, 34-24, in the club’s first game in Allegiant Stadium.

Coach Jon Gruden acknowledged his running back’s mistake, and he praised Richard’s professionalism.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“Jalen’s fumble was obviously a key play in the game. We had a play set up, I think, for big yardage,” Gruden told reporters after the big win. “We were gonna get a first down there, I believe. It looked good. Unfortunately, he just mishandled it.” data-reactid=”21″>“Jalen’s fumble was obviously a key play in the game. We had a play set up, I think, for big yardage,” Gruden told reporters after the big win. “We were gonna get a first down there, I believe. It looked good. Unfortunately, he just mishandled it.

“You really got to tip your hat to Richard. To come back and make a play like he did to redeem himself. And that’s what a professional has to do. You gotta have a thick skin. [Offensive coordinator] Greg Olson showed a lot of confidence to give him another shot.”

It wasn’t just the coaching staff that showed confidence in Richard, his teammates did, as well. For starters, the defense didn’t hang their heads after Richard’s fumble, forcing the potent Saints offense to punt once again, giving Richard his chance for redemption.

But that doesn’t mean the mistake was easy to fight through.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“It’s always a downer when you make a mistake on the field,” Richard told reporters after the game. “But we always talk about snapping clear. All my teammates were behind me. I’m happy the coaching staff and my teammates got faith in me to give me that play again.”” data-reactid=”25″>“It’s always a downer when you make a mistake on the field,” Richard told reporters after the game. “But we always talk about snapping clear. All my teammates were behind me. I’m happy the coaching staff and my teammates got faith in me to give me that play again.”

While Gruden gave credit to Richard, and rightfully so, of course, he also gave credit to Olson, which is also clearly justified. But some credit also goes to Gruden. He’s historically quick to bench a running back after such a mistake. Richard doesn’t get many carries, making it easier to sit him down.

So Gruden showed faith in Richard, too. Since the diminutive player is one of the few that have survived Gruden’s three-year roster purge, that’s no surprise.

But it was a surprise to see Richard in there again, running the same exact play he had messed up earlier. It’s fortuitous that he got the chance — and not only for this game. It’s a long season, and Las Vegas will need contributions from everywhere. Richard’s rejuvenated confidence will help him make more plays for his trusting head coach, Jon Gruden.

Leave a Reply