By: Max Klotz
Final Score: Oakland Raiders 24, San Francisco 49ers 13
The Raiders seemed to have brushed off their 52-0 loss to the Rams in Week 13. The Raiders’ defense had one of their best games of the year, and Derek Carr had one of his best performances of his young career.
On the first play of the game, Colin Kaepernick dropped back and threw a deep sideline pattern that was intercepted by Brandian Ross. The Raiders capped off that drive with a Sebastian Janikowski field goal. The Raiders’ defense would eventually finish the day with one more interception (by Charles Woodson) and five sacks, two each for Antonio Smith and impressive rookie Khalil Mack.
Oakland also had one of its strongest offensive games of the year. While they may have hoped to get more out of their running game, the Niners have a stout rushing defense. Latavius Murray received the lion’s share of the carries, and he rushed and pounded for 76 yards; Murray had 23 out of the Raiders 31 rushing attempts. At this point in the season the Raiders may as well see what they have in Murray instead of riding a failing Darren McFadden.
Derek Carr had his finest performance since the Raiders’ close loss to the Chargers back in Week 6. Carr threw for 254 yards and three touchdowns, and he had a stellar 79% completion rate. Overall, he posted a total quarterback rating of 91 out of 100. The Raiders could have a bright future ahead of them if
Carr continues this stellar production.
One downside from the win is that the Raiders slid from the number one pick in the draft to the number five pick (if the draft were held today). At this point, it seems like Khalil Mack, Derek Carr and Latavius Murray are definitely part of the Raider’s future, most likely as franchise players. You could also throw in Charles Woodson and Sio Moore, although Woodson is nearing the end of his career. The offensive line has also been solid throughout the season. The front office will use these last few games to scout talent on their team, and to decide what positions they need to target in the draft.
Sunday’s game did however raises some questions about the Raiders’ coaching situation next year, seeing as the Niners’ loss basically knocks them out of the playoffs. All of the rumors from the San Francisco front office point to Jim Harbaugh being dismissed, so it will be interesting to see if Harbaugh hops over the Bay Bridge to coach the Raiders. Oakland owner Mark Davis has already expressed interest in Harbaugh, so although still slim, having Harbaugh as the Raiders’ coach is a possibility.
Next up for the Raiders are the Kansas City Chiefs. The Raiders picked up their first win of the season a few weeks ago against Kansas City, and they could possibly repeat next week, although that could be bad due to the fact that they will move even farther away from the first pick in the draft.
Cover Image: By Jeffrey Beall (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons