Oakland Raiders Midseason Awards

6 of 7

Nov 1, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Taiwan Jones (22) runs the ball against the New York Jets in the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Jets 34-20. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Best Play: Taiwan Jones’ 59-yard Receiving TD, Week 8 vs Jets

Taiwan Jones has been a mainstay of the Raiders special teams for years now. A Bay Area native, Jones was drafted in the 4th round of the 2011 draft, almost the quintessential Al Davis’ pick. He has had very few chances to get involved with the ball in his hands, however, and was re-designated as a cornerback to be used mostly as a kick returner and gunner on special teams in 2013 before missing almost the entire 2014 season with an injury.

This year, he’s back at running back and also as the primary kick returner for the Raiders, and has been solid but unspectacular, amassing 497 all-purpose yards on 33 touches. But one of those touches turned into 59 magical yards and the sole touchdown Jones has scored in his pro career in week eight, against the Jets.

Early in the third quarter, with the Raiders up 21-3, Derek Carr dropped back to pass facing a tenacious five-man rush from the talented Jets front. Jones had leaked out to the right as the outlet receiver, and Carr hit him immediately as the defense got close.

With Jets’ linebacker David Harris bearing down on him, Jones turned on his speed, causing Harris’ angle to get bad quickly and escaping. Jones then made a quick cutback in the face of cornerback Marcus Williams, slipped past an arm tackle attempt by safety Marcus Gilchrist, and blew past a desperate diving attempt by Sheldon Richardson, then outran everyone to the end zone.


It was probably not the most important play of the year in terms of importance to a game, as the Raiders were already up big in the game. It wasn’t a particularly tough catch, and it wasn’t an overpowering run either. But it encapsulated the new Raiders perfectly: Carr gets the ball out fast to the right man, and the right man then makes it happen with superior athletic ability and determination. The play also symbolized a bridge between Al Davis and today’s Raiders: Jones is the only Raider player drafted by Al Davis to score a touchdown so far in 2015.

Next: Most Valuable Player