Sports

Fargas runs wild in place of Jordan

MIAMI -- With the Raiders' running game looking better each week, the chances increased that a running back would have a career game.

That happened in Sunday's 35-17 win over the Miami Dolphins.

But it wasn't LaMont Jordan, off to the best start of his career, with the eye-catching statistics.

Backup Justin Fargas stepped in for Jordan, who left the game because of a back injury with 38 seconds remaining in the first half, and rushed for 179 yards, the sixth-best total in team history.

Fargas nearly doubled his previous career high of 90 yards, set last season -- and he didn't need a whole game to do it. The fifth-year back gained 172 yards in the second half on 18 carries.

"The best feeling was going into that fourth quarter having the lead and being able to get after them in the run game," Fargas said.

Jordan was off to a good start with 74 yards in the first half. Fargas stepped in and, with his sprinter's speed, ripped off runs of 48 and 32 yards.

"When you believe in a system and you start rolling and someone goes down, then the next guy goes in," Raiders coach Lane Kiffin said. "Justin Fargas prepared like he was the starter for the whole season."

Fargas' day demoralized the Dolphins' defense, which went into the game allowing 166 yards rushing per game.

Fargas rushed for 82 yards on 21 carries in his first three games. Then he saw the Dolphins' rush defense and found big holes behind the offensive line.

"It's pretty pathetic when the backup running back gets in the game and has his best day against you," Miami linebacker Joey Porter said.

Fargas' roster status was iffy before the season. The Raiders, besides having Jordan, signed Dominic Rhodes in the offseason, relegating Fargas to No. 3 at best. But with Rhodes suspended for four games for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy, Fargas has been the second back.

Rhodes is eligible to return to the active roster today but might be eased in after the Raiders' bye this week. Jordan's back has been a problem since last season. So Fargas knows to stay ready.

"You never want there to be any kind of slack or letdown when you get into the game if somebody goes down," Fargas said. "So you have to prepare as though you're going to be the guy, and I was able to get it done."

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