Raiders running back Latavius Murray had a many highs and lows during the 2016 campaign. Most of that was due to the acquisition of DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard. Their flashes of success were just one of the reasons that Murray lost carries and as a result he gained almost 300 fewer rushing yards in 2016 than he did in 2015.
Murray carried the football 10 or more times in all but three games but he managed only two 100 games and his total yards from scrimmage dropped from 1,298 yards in 2015 to just 1,052 yards in 2016. His touchdowns were up though and Murray set a career high with 12 rushing touchdowns, becoming just the third Raider running back to ever reach that plateau.
He is a look at his best and worst moments of 2016.
3) Buffalo at Oakland:
The Buffalo Bills came to town with the expectation that they would save their dwindling playoff dreams. Derek Carr was playing with an injured finger and many experts felt that the Ryan brothers would create a defensive game plan that would destroy Carr. Latavius Murray was asked to carry the load for the offense and he responded with one of his best games of 2016. Murray carried 20 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Both scores occurred late in the third and fourth quarters respectfully and both were critical for the Raiders to maintain a slim lead each time. Murray’s final score was the deciding factor in the Raiders 38-24 victory.
2) Oakland at Kansas City:
Just four days after beating Buffalo the Raiders traveled to Kansas City with an opportunity to seal their first division championship since 2002. It was not to be, as both Derek Carr and the Raiders offense struggled against a stout Chiefs defense. Fans can’t blame Murray though, he churned out 103 yards on 22 tough carries. He also added a touchdown late in the first half that trimmed the Chiefs big lead down to 21-10.
1) Denver at Oakland:
A nation-wide audience witnessed both the greatness of Derek Carr and the insurmountable Kahlil Mack. But Murray also had a spectacular day with 20 carries for a season-high 114 yards and three touchdowns. Going into the season, there were many Raider fans that were hoping 2016 would be Murray’s emergence as one of the NFL’s elite running backs. This game was the one time that all those skills that we were all hoping for were on display. Murray capped off his day with a 5.71 average per carry, which is his career high with 20 or more carries. Moreover, all three scores came from one yard out but all three were deciding factors in the Raiders decisive 30-20 victory.
3) Raiders at Houston:
Latavius Murray and many of his teammates made their first ever playoff trip to Houston and it didn’t go well for the men in silver and black. With Derek Carr and starting left tackle Donald Penn out with injuries both Murray and the rest of the offense found that Houston is a very difficult team to beat. One week earlier, then offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave was criticized by head coach Jack Del Rio for only handing the ball off to Murray 5 times. Against Houston, Musgrave called Murray’s number 12 times but the running back only responded with 39 yards and a pitiful 3.25 average per carry. Murray did score a touchdown that narrowed the Texans lead to just three points. It was not enough as the Raiders fell to Houston by a 27-14 margin.
2) Raiders at Baltimore:
The Raiders beat Baltimore 28-27 and you would think that Murray would have had big numbers in a close game. That was not so. Murray rushed for a season low 19 yards on 8 carries and his 2 receptions gained only 5 yards. To be fair, Murray was splitting carries with DeAndre Washington (5 carries) and Jalen Richard (2 carries). Moreover, Baltimore ended the 2016 campaign with the fifth best run defense in all of professional football, so it was no surprise that no Raider running back surpassed 30 yards on this day.
1) Raiders at Denver:
To be fair to both Murray and the rest of the Oakland offense looked terrible without Derek Carr running the show. Moreover, Jack Del Rio criticized the playcalling of Bill Musgrave following the game for his lackluster performance and his indecision regarding Murray’s carries. Earlier in the season, Latavius Muarry had dominated the Broncos and one would think that without Carr, the team would look to give Murray the ball again. Instead, Latavius carried the football 5 times for just 19 yards. The Raiders lost 24-6.