For the first time this season, the Oakland Raiders had their top two running backs healthy at the same time and for an entire game. Oakland Raider fans were finally able to see the dynamic duo that the Raiders cut Justin Fargas in order to showcase.
The result? Nothing short of dominance.
Darren McFadden and Michael Bush lead a struggling Raiders team to a historic win at INVESCO Stadium on Sunday as the Denver Broncos hosted the Raiders for their first meeting this season. The healthy Raiders backfield of McFadden and Bush racked up 261 yards and five touchdowns as the Raiders moved the ball on the ground all day.
Darren McFadden was the star of the day as he turned 16 touches into 165 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Not to mention that he also put up 31 yards and a touchdown in the passing game.
McFadden, who started the year on fire, did not look like he missed a step in his first game back after injuring his hamstring.
All day long, McFadden was turning the corner, breaking tackles and stiff arming Broncos as he made the Raiders' offensive worries disappear, if only for one day. After two injury filled and disappointing seasons for the first round draft pick, McFadden has finally broken out into the star the Raiders thought they had drafted.
McFadden began the season racking up a ton of yards before getting hurt against the Houston Texans. However, despite his success, McFadden had only found the end zone once on the ground and once through the air. On Sunday, McFadden broke out not only in terms of yards, but also in terms of scoring.
McFadden scored twice as many touchdowns against the Broncos on Sunday than he had all season up to that point, including his longest run of the season, a 57 yard scamper in the third quarter.
Michael Bush, on the other hand, did not have a great day statistically as he finished the game with 52 yards on 15 touches and one touchdown. He did, however, have a big impact on the game.
On Sunday, McFadden had the fewest touches on the ground all season, besides the game against the Texans when he left early. Despite receiving fewer touches, McFadden put up more yards and scores in a single game he ever had previously in his young career.
A big part of the reason that McFadden ran so well today was because he did not have as many touches. When Michael Bush was injured, McFadden was tasked with both pounding the ball inside as well as trying to break big runs to the outside. On Sunday, Michael Bush was able to give McFadden a rest while pounding the ball between the tackles for the Raiders.
Having Michael Bush healthy allowed the coaching staff to save McFadden for plays that emphasized his speed and power and also allowed him to be fresh every time he touched the ball. It was clear that this strategy worked as late in the game, McFadden just had more juice in his legs than the Brocnos' defensive players.
A strong running game for the Raiders week in and week out will take pressure off the passing game and the defense. Against the Broncos, the passing game and defense showed what they could do when the running game was dominating.
The defense was fresh all game and quarterback Jason Campbell rarely found himself in the difficult third and long passing situations that the Raiders faced all season up to this point.
If Darren McFadden and Michael Bush can stay healthy for the remainder of the season, it will be fun to see what this offense can accomplish.