The Raiders might only have two wins on the season, but man were they fun! It is funny looking at other franchises that have not gone through this hellish streak of losing and ineptitude and watching them complain about their 7 win teams likely being dead in the water for the playoffs. They don't know how good they got it until they go through over a decade without a winning record!
This win may have cost the Raiders very valuable draft position as they have now dropped all the way down to 5th in the pecking order due to having the hardest strength of schedule of all the teams. To that I say OH WELL! A win for these young players over a tough opponent does so much more for their confidence and their desire to recapture these feelings that I don't even care about the drafting order.
I would take them winning over the 1st pick in the draft 10 out of 10 times, because nothing can teach winning more than actually doing it. I don't want them to look at the season and think that they were the worst team in the NFL, mainly because I do not believe that they are the worst team. I think the confidence and the good will that this win brings far outweighs any loss in compensation for next year, and I also think the bragging rights for the Bay are worth a lot more too!
There are so many good things to say about this game that I still can't believe that it all really happened. This was as dominating of a performance as you could have against a tough opponent like the 49ers, even if they are in shambles currently. Every aspect of the game played well, or at least they didn't screw things up anyway.
The offensive line is the one to get the top spot worth mentioning though. For them to come back from the thrashing that happened last week against St Louis and shut down such a talented defense is just too sweet for words. These young players needed to rebound big time and going into the game it wasn't realistic to believe that they would.
Then the game happened and rebound they did! No real sacks in this game is such an accomplishment against the 49ers defense. San Francisco may have struggled so far this year but it was from their offense not scoring, not from their defense. They are one of the best defenses in the entire NFL and the Raiders young offensive line shut them down. Kudos.
With the offensive line playing as well as they did, we also got to see the best performance of the season from Derek Carr. His QB rating was an astounding 140.7, the best single game rating from a Raiders QB since a guy named Rich Gannon captained this squad. You know, Rich Gannon, the one time NFL MVP. It is really special for the Raiders to finally have a QB that is worthy of any type of comparisons to the last great QB that has laced them up for Oakland.
Derek Carr was just playing lights out in this game though. His arm was loose, his pocket awareness was impeccable. He looked like a veteran out there, and that is after he just played the worst game of his entire life the previous week. That type of leadership, that type of toughness, that ability to go from a negative into such a big positive is something that put a smile on each one of our Raider Lovin faces.
To bounce back in such a big way after such an embarrassing loss, after being pulled, is so important to Carr's development that its hard to over estimate how much of a good thing this game was. To do it against a possible coaching candidate for the Raiders next year in Jim Harbaugh is simply icing on the cake. I hope you were watching close Jim, because that could be all yours if you want to come over to the dark side!
The other two players on offense that deserve recognition are Mychal Rivera who was unstoppable, and Marcel Reece who showed that he is still the weapon we thought he was coming into this season. The two together caught 12 of 12 targets for 173 yards and two touchdowns. Efficient? More like dominant.
If Mychal Rivera can learn how to block this off-season the Raiders have a pro bowl quality TE in him. He is learning how to use his body and strength so well that he looked like Antonio Gates on a couple of his catches including his key touchdown catch. That is almost as high of praise as it gets for a tight end boxing out his opponent, with only Tony Gonzales being superior to Gates in that technique.
Now lets talk about that smothering defense! Keeping a player with the type of speed that Colin Kaepernick has bottled up like they did is no small feat. He was only able to break loose for 3 runs totally 26 yards which shows very impressive discipline from this Raiders defense. When Kaepernick breaks containment is where he is far and away most dangerous, but Oakland was able to stay in front of him or chase him down for the majority of the game.
Antonio Smith is not widely talked about but he has been a great FA pick up for the Raiders. He had two sacks in this game which is all the more impressive when you consider that he rushed from the inside as a defensive tackle, a position more known for getting run stops over QB hits. His energy despite his age is possibly my favorite thing about him, and having finally stopped that terrible losing streak he was on seems to have really rejuvenated him.
Somebody who never needed to be rejuvenated also got two sacks in this game, rookie Khalil Mack. He was all over the place again for this Raiders D and to see him get his first (of many) multi sack game was really a joy to watch. He did such a great job of keeping the edge and not allowing Kaepernick to get to the outside that even if he hadn't had a sack he would have been worth mentioning. To get two sacks on top of that should get him a nomination and hopefully an award for defensive rookie of the week.
Remember how the Raiders were dead last in turnover differential coming into this game? Well in this one they had two interceptions and 0 turnovers of their own. That is what you need to do to win games, and it showed in the domination of this week.
The best part of this whole game was putting not one, but two 80 yard touchdown drives together to seal the victory though. The two drives together equaled 19 plays, 160 yards and two touchdowns over a total of 10 minutes and 48 seconds of play clock. Talk about putting the hammer down folks! If this is the future of the Raiders then you better get your shades handy, you are going to need them.
Last thing I'd like to mention is Sio Moore. Man do I love seeing his tenacity on the field and the way that he pumps his team and the crowd up. He is a wildman and a great core player to build around. He is a star in this league and when the Raiders are winning again every NFL fan in the country will know his name.
Unfortunately, they are getting to know his name now more for his antics than his play. I don't know what Kaepernick said to him to make him so angry, but again after a great game by the Raiders part of the narrative afterwards his him for his antics. Against Kansas City it was his over celebration of the game clinching sack, this time its his instagram account.
I understand not liking Kaepernick, he comes off as immature, arrogant and cocky. All of those things are reasons why he seems to have regressed too, he seems to have character flaws that are deeply ingrained and are hurting his development. Just because part of me agrees with what Sio posted, doesn't mean that I believe he should have posted it.
Realistically, they let their play speak loud enough already. Adding onto it, from a 2-11 team's player, looks bad more than makes a statement. Play the game on the field, leave it on the field, and be satisfied as all get out about the win afterwards. Sio and the boys already shut Kaepernick up, nothing more was needed.
All in all this was a really great game, a wonderful team win, and one that now needs to be moved on from with another rivalry game coming next against Kansas City in KC. The last big win was followed up by an epic drop to earth, that needs to be avoided this week against a very tough, very angry Chiefs team.
What we really need is for this team to come out and be competitive. Another throttling like the Rams did and any good will this win created will be all gone again. Plus, if they can figure out a way to win again (yes, we should want them to) then they will have in all likelihood knocked the divisional rival Chiefs out of the playoffs all together. The season as a whole is likely no fun if you play the spoiler, but once your there anyway you might as well take joy in it!