LAS VEGAS -- Trent Brown returned to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, assuming his position as the team's gargantuan right tackle for only the third time this season -- his first action since Oct. 11. A guy who, according to quarterback Derek Carr, is the best in the world at what he does.
Running back Josh Jacobs came back, too, after missing a week with a sprained right ankle. Same with safety Johnathan Abram, whose knee issues kept him out of the Raiders' miraculous win at the New York Jets last week.
It didn't matter. Not one iota.
Not even with Brown, the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history courtesy of his four-year, $66 million contract from the spring of 2019, keeping Carr clean and opening up running lanes for Jacobs.
But not with Jacobs being largely ineffective in rushing for 49 yards on 13 carries and no touchdowns. And certainly not with Abram, who did have a game-high 12 tackles, hurting an already woeful defense with a silly and costly unnecessary roughness penalty early, getting torched by T.Y. Hilton on a 41-yard TD pass later and knocking himself out of the game with a head blow in the fourth quarter.
"I thought Trent was a difference-maker, and he played great," said Raiders coach Jon Gruden. "I thought the pocket was clean.
"It's good to have Trent back. Josh is a difference maker for us running and receiving, and I think he's getting close to being the Jacobs that we all know. Abram had some flashes, and he also has some plays that he has to clean up, obviously."
None of the three were made available after the all-but-playoff-killing 44-27 loss, but it was Jacobs who had the strangest pregame, well, appearance.
Jittery fans, already well aware that Jacobs missed three of the Raiders' final four games last year with a fractured shoulder suffered in Week 7, might have been suffering from déjà vu when Jacobs took to Instagram mere hours before kickoff.
Seemingly trolling fans and fantasy managers alike, Jacobs posted that no, he would not be playing for the Raiders in this crucial game.
It was an epic troll job. It was also, well, strange for a guy who has been nothing but focused in his first two years in the league.
Asked if he was aware of Jacobs' pregame high jinks, Gruden said he was not, that he was not on social media.
"I'll answer any questions about the game," Gruden said. "Not the internet."
But after this latest collapse -- the Raiders have now lost three of four to fall to 7-6 -- there is little time to find answers.
The Los Angeles Chargers come to Allegiant Stadium for a Thursday night game. And with Abram being evaluated for a concussion, who knows if he will even be available on a short week.
"There's so much work to be done between now and kickoff," Carr said. "Even if we won this game by 100 points, there's not even enough time to think about it.
"We've got a team [coming] with some All-Pro players on defense, some All-Pro guys on their offense coming to town. They don't like us, we don't like them, it's a rivalry, it's the Chargers and so [the quick] turnaround helps you get past things really quick. So, I'm excited, wish our fans could be here in the stadium with us for that one, but hopefully we'll take care of business while they watch."