I guess the sports pundits that laughed at the possibility of my beloved Oakland Raiders beating the San Francisco Forty Niners at O.co were a little shocked to see the final score of 24-13, giving the Raiders only their second win of the season.
So how did this happen?
It could be that the Niners and their coaching staff were looking past the Raiders to other teams they will be facing in their attempt to get to the play offs. Considering their chances are considerably slimmer than they were pre-game, this wasn’t a good idea. Not that I can blame them for doing this. The Raiders have been running hot and cold all season long. They had their first win after going over a year without seeing a victory, and that was inclement weather, and after they lost a decent sized lead. After that, they suffered the worst loss in Raiders history ,laying a goose egg while their opponent put up 52 points.
There has been talk about Colin Kaepernick trying to turn himself into a pocket passer.
It could be the game plan wasn’t all it should be.
But ya’ know what? We can talk about the offensive coordinators all we want, as neither team’s fan base is thrilled with the play calling, but that would be far from the entire story, though it played a part.
To put it simply, the Raiders out-played the Niners on offense, defense , and special teams.
And that, readers, starts with who is leading the offense while the team is on the field.
I was listening to sports radio in the days before the game, and one show was about what quarter back people would want 5 years from now, Derek Carr or Colin Kaepernick. One self-proclaimed expert, John Clayton, said hands down CK7. He talked about the wins, the playoff experience, blah blah blah.
But that isn’t everything.
In his explanation for the Niners first play from scrimmage being an interception, Kaepernick gave a very non-emotional, monotone, “ I was trying to get the ball to Crab, and the safety came over the top.” Did he not see the safety until after he released the ball? The next question he responded with ”I’m giving everything I have every time I step out on that field.” It was in the same voice. Hemay as well have being reading a recipe for all the emotion he was showing.
What he doesn’t seem to get is that teams have adjusted some to Kaepernick, who is a good athlete. What he isn’t is a guy that studies film. He leaves all the focus on the game on his physical abilities. He doesn’t know the play book. It has been slimmed down with more complex plays being removed. Part of this because like other qbs that rely solely on the physical, he has trouble reading defenses. He was getting reamed for not going through his progressions, the first read covered, so boom off running. As of late, he’s being attempting to go through his progressions, but it isn’t working mostly because he doesn’t have the mental part of the game down.
Derek Carr, on the other hand, has been working on the play book since he received it. There were rumors that he knew the majority, if not all of it by the end of training camp. After getting in to the facility on practice days, when not in meetings, working out, or at practice? He studies film.
This isn’t saying he’s the next best thing since sliced bread, but this is a rookie that doesn’t give up, that wants to compete. But he is a team player. If the team has a loss, he puts it on his shoulders. He shows a maturity and understanding of the game that CK7 seems to ignore.
Take a look at this game. Carr ran a spread offense at Fresno as a Bull Dog. You wouldn’t know that just over 60% of his throws in college were from behind the line of scrimmage to 5 yards out. He works on his game. His entire game. This season ,with all its trials and tribulations could have broken a lesser man already. Carr can definitely be a long term solution for us at QB. He is always working to improve his game. All facets of it. He isn’t perfect. He knows it. But he works on the game, not just in the weight room. In case you ‘re curious -22 of 28 for 254 yards, 1 “sack” for a9yard loss when he slipped,3td passes, no INTS and 140.2 quarterback rating.
But this game was not just about the quarterbacks.
It was about the team. It was about overcoming penalties. It was about converting 46% of 3rd down attempts, while only allowing the Niners 3 of their 11 attempts. It was about having an average gain per play of 5.5 yards, while allowing only 4.5 yards per play. It was about not allowing Frank Gore to break free for more than 11 yards.
It was about offensive tackle Donald Penn getting his hands on the less than perfect short throw to him, and getting into the end zone for a Raiders touchdown.
It was about Penn shutting down the much vaunted Aldon Smith.
It was about Brandian Ross intercepting the Niners on their first play from scrimmage.
It was about Charles Woodson leading the team in tackles, and shutting out any last vestiges of hope of the Niners by snagging the ball on a pass intended for Vernon Davis with 2:42 or so left on the clock.
It was about the OTHER A.Smith, Antonio Smith, sacking Kaepernick twice. It was about Khalil Mack sack Kaepernick twice. it was about a sack by Benson Mayowa.
I t was about allowing only 73net passing yards to the Niners in the second half and not allowing a receiver anything more than 56 yards for any one receiver.
It was about Latavius Murray coming off a concussion and averaging 3.3 yards a carry, including a 16 yard run on 2-8 with 2:31 left in the game.
It was about 2 back to back 8- yard drives that left Antonio Smith happy, but kind of bored because of the time being taken off the clock that left the defense trying to stay warmed up and stretched out.
It was about some pretty good punting by Marquette King, with 2 punts being downed inside the 20, and one bouncing out of bounds at the 23 yard line.
It was about favorite plays. Khalil Mack : Donald Penn’s td reception. Ray-Ray Armstrong and Sio Moore: Khalil Mack’s sack to end the game. Brice Butler: Charles Woodson’s interception
It was about supporting the fans being loud and proud.
It was about consistency of play on both sides of the ball.
The Oakland Raiders have bragging rights, not just for the win that no one but Raiders fans thought they’d get, but for making their cross bay rival’s play-off hopes dim.
Now time for basking in the win is over, time to get to work to face the Kansas City Chiefs with a good dose of humble – remember the win and BUILDING on it.
Oh, and for me? QB for the next 5 seasons? Hands down Carr.
Win ,Lose, or Tie, RAIDERS til I DIE!