O.CO COLISEUM — The 49ers’ entire season, along with it the Raiders’ shot at the first-overall pick in the 2015 draft, are now in jeopardy.
Oakland rolled past San Francisco 24-13 Sunday for their second win of 2014 and their first victory over the 49ers at the Coliseum since 1979.
Photos by Scot Tucker/SFBay
Big plays by their offensive line — including a three-yard touchdown reception from Donald Penn, Oakland’s left tackle — fueled the Raiders to victory.
The 3rd-and-3 play was early in the second quarter, a marquee sequence highlighting a marquee performance that ultimately decided the game’s outcome.
Raiders head coach Tony Sparano said that getting Penn the ball is something the team has worked on for a few weeks:
“We kid him about it all the time, the whole offensive line, we throw it to him in practice. And he hasn’t dropped one yet.”
Oakland quarterback Derek Carr went 22-for-28 with 254 yards and no interceptions. Carr was jokingly told by Penn to throw it harder next time so the lineman won’t get creamed by a defender.
Both Carr and Sparano gave the offensive line their due respect after the game, Carr adding:
“As a whole, absolutely (two scoring drives were the best the offense was clicking. Obviously, we went down twice and scored. I felt, I hate using the word comfortable, but I felt like I’ve grown. I’ve felt like the game has slowed down. … There’s going to be low and high moments as a rookie player, but I’m just trying to limit those low moments as much as I can.”
The 49ers’ normally-dominant pass rush was anemic, stymied for the majority of the game. San Francisco’s offensive line wasn’t much better.
Kaepernick literally wasted no time throwing the first of his two picks on the 49ers first play from scrimmage. His second came on a game-clinching interception by Charles Woodson that sewed the game shut.
Aside from a few Kaepernick runs, San Francisco’s offense was mediocre at best. The first interception didn’t set the greatest tone, though 49ers tight end Vernon Davis didn’t think the early mistakes sealed the coffin:
“Everyone makes mistakes. It’s not about whether you go out there and you’re a little off, you can’t think like that. It’s not about that. We play to win and if a mistake happens, bounce back and move on. That’s what we did.”
The Raiders offense won drives even when the result was a punt. Tight end Mychal Rivera put together a career-best game, notching over 100 receiving yards and another touchdown. Rivera caught seven passes total, for 109 yards. He’s one big reason Carr put together such a solid game.
Late in the game, Rivera was open on every play. Or at least it seemed that way. Sparano said:
“There were some extension plays, Derek (Carr) skated to his left on one, there was a little pressure underneath. Derek skated to his left and threw the ball to him that way.”
Carr attempted to explain further:
“You gotta give him credit that he made a lot of great catches, contested ones. There was one where they covered him, and he stopped. I was trying to wave to him, I don’t know if he saw me, but he did a great job. That’s just our chemistry building. He understood the coverage. … (On third down) there was zone coverage, they brought pressure, and I stepped in the pocket and saw him open.”
If there were any questions whether running back Latavius Murray would be the Raiders’ workhorse, his 23 carries solves it. Murray had a mix of good and bad, exploding for nice gains while getting knocked back at the line of scrimmage on others.
Murray finished with 76 yards (3.3 yards per carry) and a long of 16 yards. Oakland ran the ball 31 times for 85 yards Sunday, including a solid run from Carr which picked up 11 yards.
The Raiders also notched five sacks, eight tackles for loss, and four passes defensed. On it all, defensive end Justin Tuck said about the constant pressure put on Kaepernick and the overall defense, said:
“Collective effort. We were able to stop the run in a lot of situations and that put them in some third and long situations. We haven’t had enough of those. … When you get those types of games, you can pin your ears back.”
Indeed they did.
It was by far, Oakland’s best performance of the season, and it happened with tremendous showings on both sides of the ball.
The 49ers, though, felt a little less jubilant. Kaepernick summed his day up by saying:
“I have to play better.”
The hardly-quotable yet ever-talented quarterback has certainly seen better days. Kaepernick has thrown an interception in three straight games, and now has back-to-back games with a pair of picks in each.
Agreeing with his star tight end, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh didn’t feel as though the first interception dictated the rest of the game. He said:
“I look at it as a team effort, and we didn’t get it done. … There is no surrendering. You look for the next thing to win at.”
The 49ers are now on the outside looking in with their pursuit of a fourth consecutive playoff berth. The three other NFC West teams won Sunday, too, making things even more difficult moving forward.
The Raiders, wide favorites to hold the 2015 draft’s first overall selection, may have to restructure their plans. They join the Buccaneers, Jets, Jaguars and Titans as teams with two wins apiece. The decider, if those figures hold on until May is strength of schedule.
Oakland has the strongest schedule of the five teams, which slots them for the fifth-overall pick.
San Francisco falls to 7-6, and is been forced to pray for a miracle if they are to play January football.