OAKLAND — Before Derek Carr broke his fibula, the Raiders were running circles around the Indianapolis Colts. And they were doing it in surprising fashion.
Just when Latavius Murray had seemed to secure his role as Oakland’s every-down halfback, those elusive rookies re-emerged as weapons.
Jalen Richard ran for 66 yards on just six carries and scored on a flare pass.
And DeAndre Washington rushed for a season-high 99 yards on 12 attempts.
It was especially gratifying for Washington, who had all but disappeared from the game plan the previous three weeks.
He looked sharp in the Raiders’ 33-25 win, scoring on consecutive 22-yard touchdown runs — his first in the NFL.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, Washington was the first runner this year to score two TDs of 20-plus yards in the same game.
“Big credit goes out to the O-line and the receivers,” Washington said. “They did a hell of a job blocking for me. I think the second one I was untouched, so props to those guys. They made it easy.”
That second score came on a nifty play.
Vadal Alexander checked in as a third offensive tackle and lined up wide, outside tight end Clive Walford. Washington ran between them and found nothing but green space.
“Yeah, your mouth gets watery, man. It definitely gets watery,” Washington said. “To be able to get in there twice, man, after not being in there all season, probably the best Christmas I’ve had in a while.”
And though Murray gained just 40 yards on 15 carries, he didn’t sound miffed about sharing the football.
“There’s no me without those two guys,” Murray said. “They played big today.”
WISE TO THEIR TRICKS
Lost in the excitement and gloom of Sunday’s action was a heads-up play by the Raiders’ special teams. The game was scoreless at the 8:34 mark of the first quarter when an Indianapolis drive bogged down at the Oakland 30.
The Colts lined up for a 48-yard field goal, but holder Pat McAfee (also the team’s punter) took off running to his left. The Raiders were ready for Indy’s trickery, and Darren Bates tackled McAfee for no gain.
“We just knew that they were a good fake team,” Bates said. “They’ve done a lot of fakes since 2013, actually. We seen them run a couple fakes this year. They even ran the same fake back-to-back on punts. This time it was a field-goal fake.”
Sniffing out the play wasn’t the only challenge. Getting McAfee on the ground was another.
“He’s known for his fakes, and he’s pretty fast,” Bates said. “He has some good moves, so you actually have to respect him back there.”
RETURN OF A LEGEND
The moves of the Colts’ 33-year-old running back would have been surprising if Bay Area football fans didn’t know Frank Gore so well. The leading rusher in 49ers history made his return with the Colts and looked as able as ever. Gore ran for 73 yards on 13 carries and showed good burst through the hole.
Afterward, he was much more focused on the loss, which eliminated the 7-8 Colts from playoff contention, and on his own fumble.