“Final Grades for the Battle of the Bay, The Oakland Raiders Hosting the San Francisco 49ers”

battle of the bay 2

Final Oakland Raider Grades v.s. San Francisco 49ers; Week 14:

(7-6)  San Francisco 49ers  13

(2-11)  Oakland Raiders  24

That rustling sound you heard was not birds flying overhead, it was 49er fans quickly changing from 49ers gear to San Francisco Giants Gear.

The Raider fans were as loud and excited as they’ve been all year and they were rewarded with a big win over the hated 49ers.

Shockers:

*The Raiders FINALLY used tight end Mychal Rivera and fullback Marcel Reece and it opened up the middle of the field.  They had 14 receptions for 173 yards and 2 TD’s.

*The 49ers averaged 5.4 yards per carry but if you take away the 49ers scrambles, they ran only 15 times all game with Frank Gore only getting 12 carries.

Quarterback:

The Raiders had a very rare good game plan and Carr played very well.  The offensive line gave him all day to throw and he carved up the 49ers secondary.  He was much calmer this game and handled the pass rush better.  He didn’t rush his throws and seemed more relaxed in the pocket.  Carr finally didnt’ just settle for hope throws to wide receivers and he looked more to the tight end Mychal Rivera and Marcel Reece who was a valuable outlet.

Carr was solid and accurate and finally played the way that the Raiders have hoped that he would.

GRADE:  A-

The final Raiders scoring drive was a big one and it sealed the game.  Carr played well and solidified himself as the quarterback of the future.  The offensive line protected him well and it showed.  He threw for a much better average than he normally has at 9.1 yards per catch AND was 22-28 for 254 yards with 3 touchdowns.

Running Backs: 

Central Florida’s Latavius Murray should have been playing a long time ago but finally he is entrenched as the starting running back of the Oakland Raiders.  He is big, hits the hole hard and is fast.  He ran for 76 yards against one of the tougher run defenses in all of the NFL.  The offensive line opened up some big holes for him and at times when there were no holes, Murray still managed yards.  They had a solid game against a good defense.

Grade:  B

The Raiders fans and the team should be happy to know that they have found a tight end, running back and quarterback of the future if they play them.

Offensive Line: 

The offensive line has been wrongly getting blamed at times for the teams failures.  They played their toughest competition of the year against the 49ers, and they played very well.  Carr was sacked only 1 time, and Carr at times had all day to throw.  The Raiders game plan was finally a good one.  The offense passed often on first down and they weren’t so predictable.

Grade:  B+

Some Raider fans and people in the media have wrongly gotten on this OL.  Like ex Raider Lincoln Kennedy has commented, “if you run on first down all the time when the defense has the line stacked, and you are not going to be successful.  They dominated the 49ers front line at times and it was a big surprise.

Wide Receivers: 

The Raiders wide receivers were not a big part of the offense this week but it was a good thing.  The 49ers made a big point of taking away the wide receivers and I’m sure it was a surprise to see Carr throw to the tight end and Marcel Reese all game.  It was something the Raiders should have been doing all year.

GRADE:  B

They played well when called upon which wasn’t a whole lot.

Defensive Line:

It took 14 weeks but the Raiders finally got a pass rush.  The 49ers offensive line has been hurt by injuries but it was a nice game by all.  Justin Ellis and Antonio Smith played well.  The 49ers play calling was puzzling at best.  They gave up on the run way too early.  The Raiders still have issues stopping the run

Grade:  B

The pass rush was solid but the run stopping was not very good.  Kaepernick also hurt the Raiders on some runs and the 49ers should have ran the ball a lot more.

Linebackers:

Khalil Mack finally had a good game rushing the passer with 2 sacks.  Sio Moore played havoc with his rushes and is a star in the making if he keeps improving.  The linebackers only had a combined 6 tackles but they really rushed the quarterback well.

Grade A-

This unit is the strength of the defense and the defense will be greatly improved if the Raiders shore up the defensive line.  The Raiders linebackers have played better against the run but they really put pressure on Kaepernick and that changed the game.

Defensive Backs:

Safeties Brandon Ross and Charles Woodsen were all over the field and really played well.  The Raiders had their best pass rush of the year and it really helped the defensive backs.  The 49ers had their weekly dropped passes and it’s still confusing why they dont pass to tight end Vernon Davis more, but overall the defensive backs played pretty well.  The coverage was fairly solid against the wide receivers and it wasn’t a bad effort.  The defensive backs though are making too many tackles in the run game and that is on the linebackers and defensive line.

Grade B 

The Raiders safeties really played well.  Tight end Vernon Davis was only targeted 4 times but he seemed open a lot.  Davis caught only 2 catches for 23 yards.  The Raiders did not give up a big play all game.

Coaching:

After a win usually teams are hopeful and positive but this coaching staff just isn’t the answer in Oakland.  To take months to get a good game plan and to finally make Latavius Murray their starter is frustrating to watch.

On the other hand, they had a solid game plan that didn’t involve running on every first down.  The Raiders finally used the tight end and Mercel Reese in the passing game.  I’ve been crying for them to use the middle of the field and they finally did.  They even used a slant at the goal line for a great red zone touchdown.  When the Raiders passed on first down, they were successful almost all of the time and it kept the 49ers off their game.  They also blitzed when needed and even though they had  injuries, the 49ers offensive line struggled all game.  There were still some puzzling moments, like doing play action passes on passing downs but overall this was one of the best games for this coaching staff.

Grade  A-

For the first time since the San Diego game in Oakland, the play calling was very good.  The Raiders still need to stretch the field more but they used Marcel Reece and tight end Mychal Rivera over the middle and the 49ers could not stop it.

Special Teams:

Sebastian Janikowski had a long field goal which set the tone for the Raiders.  The return game and the return defense had an ok game and Marquette King was solid.

Grade B+

An overall good, if not spectacular game by the special teams unit helped out in this win.

Next Opponent:  @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-6; last game, loss @ the Arizona Cardinals 17-14)

Outlook:

This was a much needed morale building win by the Raiders which gives a lift to their team and fan base.  Next up is an always tough game in Kansas City.  The Chiefs are in a must win situation after losing in Arizona so this will be a big test for the Raiders.  If the Raiders can control the Chiefs running game and make Alex Smith beat them like they did in the last game, they could pull out another victory in Kansas City.

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