Up next for the Oakland Raiders was a home game against the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers were coming off a bad 19-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks and the Raiders were coming off a horrible 52-0 loss to the St. Louis Rams. After that game, I didn’t have much hope for the Raiders winning another game. I figured a 1-15 record was imminent. Well, that’s why they play the games, right?
The Raiders won the toss and deferred to the second half. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski sent the opening kickoff through the end zone and the 49ers started at their 20. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took to the air on the first play of the game and his pass intended for wide receiver Michael Crabtree was picked off by safety Brandian Ross at the Oakland 49-yard line. Now, I have always been a believer in making the other team immediately pay for their mistakes. If I were the offensive coordinator, I’d call a deep bomb on first down. John Madden loved to do that. But, that’s not how it is in Oakland nowadays. Greg Olson did his usual play call on first down and running back Darren McFadden ran up the middle for one freaking yard. That was followed by an 11-yard scramble by quarterback Derek Carr and that netted a first down at the San Francisco 39-yard line. From the 39, Carr completed an 11-yard pass to fullback Marcel Reece. They wouldn’t get any farther than that due to a stupid personal foul penalty on guard Austin Howard. On fourth and 21 from the 39-yard line, they decided to bring in the Polish cannon for a 57-yard field goal attempt. He nailed it and the Raiders went up 3-0 with 11:46 to go in the first quarter.
Both teams punted on their next possessions. With six minutes to go in the first quarter, the 49ers got the ball back at their 40-yard line. On first down, Kaepernick found tight end Vernon Davis across the middle for a gain of 23 yards and a first down at the Oakland 37. Two carries by running back Frank Gore moved them down to the 21. Two completions to wide receiver Anquan Boldin and a short carry by rookie running back Carlos Hyde netted another first down at the eight-yard line. From the eight, Kaepernick tossed a short pass to fullback Bruce Miller and he snuck into the left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Kicker Phil Dawson made the point after and the 49ers led 7-3 with 1:54 remaining in the first quarter.
The Raiders took over at their 26. A six-yard completion to Reece and two carries by running back Latavius Murray quickly moved them to mid-field. Some more running by Murray and Reece and a 20-yard completion to wide receiver Vincent Brown netted a first down at the San Francisco 28-yard line. Another short run by Murray and a 19-yard pass to tight end Mychal Rivera moved the ball to the seven-yard line. Three plays later, Carr rolled out to the left and dumped off a short pass that was caught by left tackle Donald Penn. He bounced off a big hit and fell into the end zone for a Raider touchdown. Then he jumped into the stands and had a little party with the rowdy members of the Black Hole. Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 10-7 with 10:45 to go in the first half.
The 49ers started at their 30 and immediately received some help from the zebras. Back to back defensive pass interference penalties on the Raiders moved them quickly down to the Oakland 42-yard line. They would get as far as the 36 and the drive stalled there. Dawson came on for a 54-yard field goal attempt. The kick was good, but there was another flag thrown. The 49ers were flagged for holding and that nullified the field goal. They were forced to punt. As a matter of fact, there was a lot of punting going on until the 49ers started their next drive from their nine-yard line. Passes to Davis and Boldin and a 17-yard scramble by Kaepernick had them moving in the right direction. That was followed by a 20-yard pas to Boldin and some more scrambling by Kaepernick. With time running out in the first half, Dawson was brought into the game again for a 52-yard attempt. The kick was good and the score was knotted at 10 at halftime.
The Raiders gained a grand total of six yards on their first possession of the second half and punter Marquette King got off a nice 55-yard punt that was fielded by return man Bruce Ellington at the San Francisco 31-yard line. Ellington returned it to the Oakland 46 and the 49ers had good field position. Three carries by Gore and two completions to Crabtree moved the ball down to the nine-yard line. Gore was stopped for a loss of one on first down. On second down, Kaepernick looked for Boldin and the pass was incomplete. That brought up third down. Kaepernick had time and completed a short pass to Hyde. It looked like he might make it to the end zone, but he was pushed out of bounds at the two-yard line by cornerback D.J. Hayden. Dawson came on again and his 20-yard kick was good and the 49ers led 13-10 with 8:34 to go in the third quarter.
The Raiders took over at their 20 and after the usual short carry by McFadden, Carr found wide receiver Andre Holmes on the right side for a gain of 16 yards. That was followed by a 12-yard pass to Reece. A defensive holding penalty gave them five more yards and a first down at the San Francisco 45-yard line. From the 45, Carr ran to his left and with pressure coming at him, he fired a pass down the middle that was caught by Rivera for a gain of 27 yards and a first down at the 18. McFadden got a few more yards on first down. That was followed by a short pass to Reece. He was stopped short of the first down marker and that set up a third and one from the nine. I thought they would definitely try another run up the middle. To my surprise, the Raiders came out of the huddle with an empty backfield and five receivers. Carr took the snap, fired a pass to the left side for Reece and he took it into the end zone for a touchdown. Janikowski made the point after and the Raiders led 17-13 with four minutes to go in the third quarter.
The 49ers punted on their next possession and the Raiders took over at their 20. This drive got off to a good start as Carr completed a 22-yard pass to Holmes. I was truly shocked not to see McFadden run up the middle on first down. That was followed by a short run by Murray. A delay of game penalty moved them back five yards and on second and 13 from the 49, Carr completed a six-yard pass to Reece. That’s when Carr went deep again and hooked up with Rivera for 27 yards and a first down at the San Francisco 29-yard line. Two more carries by Murray and completions to Rivera and Reece moved the ball down to the three-yard line. Three plays later, Carr found Rivera again in the left corner of the end zone for his third touchdown pass of the day. Janikowksi made the point after and the Raiders led 24-13 with 10:39 to go in the game.
Down by two scores, I thought the 49ers would go to their no huddle offense. That didn’t happen. They started at their 20 and methodically moved down the field with completions to Crabtree and tight end Garrett Celek. On third and eight from the Oakland 25, the Raiders brought the pressure and Kaepernick was sacked by defensive tackle Antonio Smith for a loss of four yards. Dawson came on for a 47-yard field goal and this time, it was no good. That was huge for the Raiders and they remained up by 11 points with five minutes to go in the game. All they needed to do was get a couple of first downs and the game would be over. Well, on third and three from the 44, Carr rolled to the right side and I guess you could say he took a knee. He fell to the ground for a loss on nine yards. I thought that was very peculiar. Then I remembered that Greg Olson is the offensive coordinator and it didn’t seem so peculiar. King punted and the 49ers took over at their 23-yard line.
Things didn’t get off to a very good start for the 49ers as Kaepernick was sacked for a loss of five by linebacker Khalil Mack. That was followed by an incomplete pass to Crabtree. On third and long, Kaepernick looked for Davis and the pass was picked off by safety Charles Woodson. The 49ers used up their time-outs and ended up getting the ball back with 28 seconds remaining. On the final play of the game, Kaepernick was sacked once again by Mack. And that’s that. The Raiders won the Bay Area Battle by a score of 24-13. That loss really hurt the 49ers chances of getting to the playoffs. Although the Raiders were eliminated from playoff contention weeks ago, they held their heads up high as they walked off the field knowing they won the Bay Area Battle.
For the 49ers, Colin Kaepernick completed 18 of 33 for 174 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Michael Crabtree led the team in receptions with nine and receiving yards with 56. Frank Gore was the leading rusher as he had 63 yards on 12 carries. As a team, the 49ers rushed for 97 yards on 18 carries. Defensively, linebacker Chris Borland led the team in solo tackles with 12.
For the Raiders, rookie Derek Carr had himself a great day and looked like a veteran out there. He completed 22 of 28 for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Mychal Rivera and Marcel Reece tied for the lead in receptions with seven apiece. Rivera had the most receiving yards with 109 and a touchdown. Like most running backs, Latavius Murray found it difficult to run on the 49ers defense. He finished the game with 76 yards on 23 carries. 16 of those yards came on one carry. For the most part, the defense looked very good as they sacked Kaepernick five times and picked him off twice. Charles Woodson and T.J. Carrie tied for the lead in solo tackles with seven.
After that horrid loss to the Rams, head coach Tony Sparano said the Raiders would “bounce back.” I had sincere doubts about that and said “Actions speak louder than words, Mr. Sparano.” Well, I liked the action I saw against the 49ers. Apparently the players did too. Near the conclusion of the game, Sparano was given a Gatorade bath. They held the 49ers to 248 total yards and looked damn good. Up next is a trip to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. Which Raider team will show up? Will it be the one that played so well against the 49ers? Or will it be the clowns that played in the game against the Rams two weeks ago? I wish I knew. Take it easy.
The Raider Guy