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Leading up to this game we highlighted some matchups that we thought would be key, compelling and/or just worth watching. Here is a review of how those turned out.
Raiders: 2 INTs 2 fumbles 0 lost
49ers: O turnovers
Well, as we were saying, the winner of the turnover battle would probably win this game and they did. Alex smith was close to throwing a couple of INTs, but in the end he didn’t. Meanwhile, the Raiders had two INTs and also fumbled twice, but recovered both of them.
The first INT killed a drive and the second ended the game. It’s worth noting that the second INT wasn’t Campbell’s fault and it bounced between the 1 and 2 on Jacoby Ford’s chest.
The special teams were solid. All kickers involved did there job and the return men did as much as they could with what they had.
Zach Miller Versus 49ers Pass Defense
2 catches for 49 yards
The 49ers did an excellent job of keeping tabs on Zach Miller with a LB in front of him and a Safety in back of him. LB Manny Lawson did as good of job staying with Miller as anyone has all season and he made a great play to INT a Campbell pass.
The Raiders did have Nnamdi Asomugha shadowing Michael Crabtree for most of the game. The key word there is most. The times that did not make it all, Crabtree made the most of it. Including a 32-yard touchdown reception.
Meanwhile, Darrius Heyward-Bey led the Raiders with three catches, but they only totaled 19 yards. Bey also had one sail through his hands.
49ers Run Defense Versus Raiders Run Offense
30 carries for 110 yards
The Raiders were determined to get the running game going and with absolutely zero threat of passing the ball the 49ers were ready for them. The rushing numbers looks even worse when you consider 43 of those yards were on a reverse to Louis Murphy.
Frank Gore vs Raiders Run Defense
25 carries for 149 yards
The Raiders had Gore bottled up for the first half and then he began to wear them down. He consistently was getting two or three yards while being tackled, then used his patience to break off a 64-yard run, which set up the second TD.
Raiders RBs vs 49ers pass D
Raiders RBs 2 catches for 12 yards
The 49ers had no problems containing the Raiders backs in the passing game. The Raiders didn’t seem to concerned on exploiting this matchup either.
Hey, I've got an idea. Run the ball as much as possible with a couple throws here and there in the first three quarters. Then let Alex Smith go to work. The man, despite all his shortcomings, has an uncanny knack for stepping it up at the end of the game. Smith was 8-for-20 in the first half. He proceeded to go 8-for-13 in the second half, including a 32-yard TD to Michael Crabtree to end the third quarter (the Niners were down 6-3 before that play). He then connected with Vernon Davis on a 17-yard TD in the fourth quarter. Hey, if he wasn't so horrible in these first halves we might actually have a legit NFL quarterback.
Helping Smith out was Frank Gore, who had a monster game, rushing for 149 yards on 25 carries, including a 64-yard scamper in the fourth that set up Smith's pass to Davis.
The Raiders' secret weapon, tight end Zach Miller, didn't do much damage, with 48 yards on two catches.
And Jason Campbell, well, let's just say he's not the answer the Raiders were looking for: 8-for-21, 83 yards passing, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. His QB rating of 10.7 (yeah, you heard that right) was laughable.
After Campbell and Miller hooked up on two crucial passes to set up a Sebastian Janikowski field goal, Frank Gore galloped down into the Raiders red zone and set up a quick Alex Smith misdirection throw to Vernon Davis to give the Niners an eight point lead. San Francisco looks like they’ve established control of this game; can they hold on?.
In an eight minute, 91 yard drive that might turn around the fortunes of San Francisco’s season, Smith found Crabtree in the end zone in single coverage (why would Oakland single-cover Crabtree?). The Niners overcame a questionable intentional grounding call and Smith converted on 2nd and 20 as the third quarter ended. Can Oakland respond?
Thirteen first downs, ten punts, fifteen penalties. What a dogfight. Or a fight for the dogs.
Currently the Niners have a better passing game than the Raiders, which is kind of like saying Brett Favre is more well-respected by women than Ben Roethlisberger. Alex Smith is being continuously booed by the San Francisco faithful (9 for 23 for 108 yards). Oakland has had a better ground game, but Jason Campbell is only 5 of 11 for 28 yards and an interception.
Roger Goddell is considering cancelling this game on account of "I CAN’T WATCH THIS ANYMORE." Holy horrendous Batman.
It doesn’t take a hardened football fan to know that winning the turnover battle goes a long way to determining the winner of a contest. And it is in turnovers, that we see the biggest stat disparity between these two teams.
The 49ers are last in the league with a minus 10 turnover ratio. They aren’t getting them and they are giving them up. They have surrendered the second most turnovers with 15 (nine by INT and six by fumble).
The Raiders have been solid in the turnover department and they are even on the year. They would like to do a better job of forcing turnovers. The Raiders only have two INTs on the year, but as DT Tommy Kelly pointed out, the Raiders are hoping to force some INTs this week. Kelly:
Hopefully we can put some pressure on Alex Smith. He’s had a little trouble throwing it to the other team this year.
Then there are the fumbles. The Raiders have been putting the ball on the ground, they have just been recovering it themselves. They are first in the league in own fumbles recovered and they have had plenty of opportunities to do so, because they are 30th in the league with 2.8 fumbles per game.
This is not a part of the game a team would like to rely on. It is much better just to hold onto the ball in the first place. The Raiders will need to do that this week and the 49ers may help them. The 49ers are last in the league in forcing fumbles.
The 49ers aren’t much better at holding onto the ball then the Raiders. They are 28th in the league with 2.4 fumbles per game and the Raiders are better at causing them. At 1.6 fumbles forced per game the Raiders are 16th.
So, after all the matchups we’ve highlighted it is very likely this one will lead to the winner. Check back after the game for recaps of the game and how these matchups played themselves out.
The play came when Eagles cornerback Trevard Lindley intercepted Alex Smith to end the game. Lindley ran about five yards then dropped to the ground to down himself. Crabtree proceeded to shoulder-slam Lindley on the ground, dislodging the ball and consequently dislodging a couple thousand dollars from his wallet.
In Crabtree's defense, he had a good excuse and his hit may have even been warranted given the circumstances.
"Nobody touched him," he said. "I was just trying to make a play. I didn't see nobody touch him, so I was just trying to hit him."
Crabtree had his best game of his career Sunday, catching nine balls for 105 yards and a touchdown and was targeted 14 times by Alex Smith. Unfortunately, the one target by the NFL is what will be lingering in his mind. Oh ya, and that 0-5 record.
Here's video of the play. Watch for it, watch for it...
One would think that Shane Lechler would at times out kick his coverage, but one would be thinking wrong. Lechler is a freak of nature. His unbelievable distance is matched by unbelievable hang time.
This is a big reason why Lechler and the Raiders set an NFL record for net punt yards in 2009 at 43.9 per kick. This year the Raiders have actually improved on this number and Lechler has a net punt average of 49.2.
Kickoff coverage has not been as good, but it certainly isn’t bad. The Arizona Cardinals opened their Week Three contest with a kickoff return for a TD. It was the start to what was a very forgettable day for Sebastian Janikowski.
Since that game, however, Janikowski has regained his all-world form. He is splitting the uprights on field goals and every kickoff since then, except for two, has been at least four yards deep into the endzone. Of the two that weren’t, one pinned Darren Sproles on the goaline in the corner and the other was a designed squib.
Also, the Raiders should be boosted in special teams as they return to health a bit. They should have rookies Walter McFadden and Jeremy Ware back this week.
The return games are another story—a sad and ugly story. The Raiders have had problems blocking on kickoffs since last year. It hasn’t mattered who the return men were, because there was no place to go. Jacoby Ford finally broke off a nice return for 64 yards in the Week Five contest against Houston, but then struggled to hold onto the ball last week and looked abysmal.
Nick Miller finally got a chance to return punts last week and he had a beautiful second half return that he nearly took to the house. Miller is fearless and looks like he could be a dynamic punt return. The worry with him is that he will try to do too much and get clobbered catching one and fumble.
Kickoffs and punts can be tricky business in the swirling winds of Candlestick. I’ve seen Ted Ginn Jr. enough that I will get nervous every time he gets his hands on the ball.
One area we’ve conveniently overlooked is the battle of the special teams between the 49ers and the Raiders. The teams employ two of the best punters in the game in Andy Lee and Shane Lechler, both of whom can boom some serious punts.
The 49ers punt return game was abysmal last season and so the team traded for Ted Ginn Jr. and drafted WR Kyle Williams, both of whom are contributors in the punt return game. Ginn was meant to be primarily a kick returner, but injuries forced him into the punt returner role and he has shown he still has some skills there. If Kyle Williams is healthy this week he’ll get the go at punt returner, but if not it’ll be Ginn.
Ginn and Williams have basically split time back there because one would be healthy and the other hurt, and vice versa. Accordingly, there isn’t much of a statistical sample to compare. Nonetheless, I’m curious how the Raiders have been in return coverage. Lechler can boom some big punts but does that lead to many instances of him outkicking his coverage?
The San Francsico 49ers released their injury report and, unlike the Oakland Raiders, it’s relatively limited. The only significant injuries are that TE Delanie Walker and Curtis Taylor are out. Taylor is a backup safety and sees most of his time on special teams. It’s a tough loss for the special teams unit, but not for the regulars.
Delanie Walker is a bigger loss as he has been a key mismatch for the 49ers when healthy. Although he’s a backup tight end to Vernon Davis, he brings the speed of a wide receiver, which means the 49ers can move him all over the field mixing things up.
What should be interesting is how the return game is affected. As mentioned on Niners Nation, Kyle Williams practiced all week which means he might take some return time from Ted Ginn Jr. We’ll see on Sunday.
Even though I'm a 49ers fan, I'm a big fan of Zach Miller. I grabbed him as a rookie in a fantasy football dynasty league I used to be in and have been a fan of his ever since. And it looks like he's really stepped up his game for the Raiders in 2010. Part of that might have to do with the issues surrounding the Raiders WR talent, but there's no doubting that Zach Miller is a very solid tight end.
The 49ers have indeed done a solid job covering tight ends. I'd look at a couple of reasons for that. Manny Lawson has been a bit inconsistent in his pass rushing skills, but in coverage he is strong. The 49ers often use him to cover the opposing team's tight end, particularly when dealing with a big time talent at the position. Accordingly, I'd expect Lawson and Miller will be battling for much of the afternoon.
The 49ers have also utilized Parys Haralson and Ahmad Brooks in coverage, and while each can be solid at times, I trust them a lot less than Lawson. And even 49ers all-world linebacker Patrick Willis is developing his coverage skills. He's known as a ferocious tackling machine, but he's worked hard to improve his coverage skills.
The other lesser reason teams might not be going to their tight ends as much is because of the 49ers struggles against receiving running backs. As was mentioned earlier this week, the 49ers rank dead last in DVOA when it comes to covering running backs in the passing game. It's entirely possible teams don't feel the need to go to the tight end if the running backs will eat the 49ers alive.
Here is everything you need to know about how good Zach Miller is: Even JaMarcus Russell could complete passes to him.
This year, Miller leads the Raiders in virtually every receiving category. He is also doing a lot of his damage in money time, i.e. 3rd downs and redzone. Miller is averaging 5.6 catches and 68 yards per game and he has three touchdowns.
Miller really helps the Raiders to keep drives alive. Many times this season he has caught the ball short of the first down and then either run around or though defenders to get the first down.
With Jason Campbell now being announced as the starting QB, Miller figures to be as key a factor in the Raiders passing game as ever. As David pointed out earlier, Jason Campbell has always like to throw to his tight ends.
This helps setup what I think is the most intriguing and best matchup of the game.
The 49ers have done a great job at defending opposing TEs. They are giving up 4.8 catches and 45.2 yards per game to TEs. They have yet to surrender over 50 yards to any single TE.
Check back to see what the 49ers have done to limit TEs production and what they may do to slow down Miller.
This is going to be easier to write than in the last few weeks and that is because the Raiders injury list is no longer laughably longer than everyone else’s.
LG Robert Gallery had full participation in practice on Friday and barring a setback, he will take the field on Sunday and he is listed as probable.
RB Darren McFadden is still hampered by tightness in his hamstring and he was again limited in practice. He will be a game time decision and is listed as questionable.
James’s last update on Michael Crabtree was not intended to go in the matchup preview, but it might as well have been.
Well, the answer is simple: They seldom use Asomugha to follow the teams best receiver. They did this for the majority of the Arizona game and Asomugha held Larry Fitzgerlad to one catch (Fitzgerald’a TD grab came against a zone).
Much the the chagrin of many fans, the Raiders tend to stick Asomugha on one side and leave him there. They also have the nagging tendency to have coverage breakdowns and missed assignments that lead to wide open receivers. See Charger Malcom Floyd and his 200+ yards last week.
So, will Crabtree have a big day against the Raiders? It probably comes down to one thing: Will Asomugha shadow Crabtree. At first glimpse, this doesn’t look like the kind of situation where the Raiders would have Asomugha follow around one player. Looking further, I can’t help but think, maybe there was never a time where they would be more inclined to do so.
As James acutely pointed to Crabtree’s competitiveness and ability to be fueled by scorn, Crabtree may find he is still light years behind one man in being driven by spite. That man is Al Davis.
Al Davis does not like to lose a battle of spite.
Davis was likely the driving force behind selecting Heyward-Bey over Crabtree. The last thing Davis is going to want to see is Crabtree running free in the secondary for a big game while Heyward-Bey runs around silently and gets his seventh game without a catch.
Davis has always made sure his imprint is on the defense and he very well may make it known that the coaches should use Nnamdi to shut down the WR that openly mocked the Raiders when they did not select him.
On the same note, I am sure he would like to see Heyward-Bey have his biggest game. The first three games Heyward-Bey was getting plenty of throws his way. These throws have tapered off the last two weeks, which happened to coincide with a groin pull.
I would be shocked if Heyward-Bey was not a focal point this week. The only thing holding him back may be his Quarterback. Jason Campbell’s strength has never been getting the Wide Receivers the ball.
Is it possible for a player to have a break out game two weeks in a row? Last week against the Philadelphia Eagles, 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree hooked up with Alex Smith nine times for 105 yards, both game-highs in his short NFL career. It was a great performance against a tough defense, albeit a defense with its best corner not playing. Crabtree appeared to be motivated by the 49ers struggles thus far in the 2010 season, and seeing as how they're even worse off at 0-5, perhaps he can muster a strong performance again. He might even have another reason to be motivated this week than he was last week.
The Oakland Raiders were the favorites to take Crabtree with the seventh overall pick in last year's NFL Draft and they passed up on him to take a fringe-second round projection in Darrius Heyward-Bey. It's overblown sometimes, how a player can carry a grudge after such a thing, but Crabtree himself noted recently that it's something you think of. He said that it was going to be "big," this week.
Crabtree is a competitor, fiercely so, and I can see this being a big deal to him. He has the chance to vent some frustrations, frustrations concerning the team's 0-5 record, as well as the frustrations from draft day. He'll be looking to show the Raiders that they picked the wrong guy, and show Darrius Heyward-Bey who he believes is the better receiver.
Don't count out DHB having a break out game, either. This would be his chance to show the 49ers that they didn't get the best receiver in the draft, and show the Raiders that they made the right pick. It will be interesting to see what these two guys can do. The Chronicle took a quick look at the "battle," recently, so that's worth checking out.
Then again, both teams can just come out running the ball and this could all be a moot point. Who knows?
Clearly our goal thus far has been to beat the Raiders and 49ers running backs into the ground. However, as Richard mentioned, getting the running game going is key for both offenses. The team with more success on the ground will probably end up winning this year's Battle of the Bay.
Raiders running back Darren McFadden has set his odds of playing this week at 50%. The Raiders have had success in the running game without McFadden, but I do think his absence would certainly help the 49ers battle some of those outside runs. However, if the Raiders are going to run it up the middle behind their guards, this 49ers fan point to one particular key for the 49ers defense to have success: Get Aubrayo Franklin going!
Franklin sat out most of training camp waiting to sign his franchise tender and the coaches have expressed the belief that his absence from camp has caught up with him and he's not quite 100%. The problem for the 49ers is that Franklin's role as the nose tackle in their 3-4 is an essential part of Patrick Willis' own performance. Willis is an athletic beast, but if the nose tackle isn't opening up some holes, Willis can't burst through to make plays. He'll get tackles but they'll come further into the second level of the 49ers defense.
The 49ers are currently in the middle of the pack when it comes to adjusted line yards for their defensive line. While they're middle of the pack in most areas of the run, it shouldn't surprise folks that they rank 5th overall in second level yards. Second level yards are yards gained between 5 and 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries. One would imagine having Patrick Willis and Takeo Spikes in the second level is a big reason for the 49ers success in that area of the field. While Franklin's struggles hurt near the line, that second level is all Willis and Spikes.
Of course, the 49ers also rank 18th in open field yards, which are yards gained by running backs at least 10 yards past the line of scrimmage, divided by total running back carries. So basically, once a back gets past Willis and Spikes, it's open season on the 49ers secondary.
Seeing as we've beaten this dead horse into the ground, we'll be back in a bit with a non-running back matchup!
We just talked about the 49ers ground game and I think it is probably apparent to anyone that has followed these teams that getting the running game is key to having a productive offense.
The 49ers have been better on run D than they have on pass D. They are 10th in yards allowed per attempt at 3.9. Overall their run D is 14th in DVOA ranking.
In the Raiders-49ers preseason game, the Raiders struggled on the ground averaging only 2.9 yards per carry on 19 carries, but then again the Raiders run game looked horrible all preseason.
The Raiders have been very solid and consistent on the year running the football. They are averaging 4.4 yards per carry. Their offensive line is ranked 8th by FO in run blocking and overall their run game is ranked 16th in DVOA.
Adding to this, the Raiders look to be as close to having their full assortment of ground game weapons as they have had all year. RB Darren McFadden was limited in practice on Wednesday and will likely be a game time decision. While it would be a luxury to have both backs at their disposal it is not a necessity for success.
Both RBs have shown they have what it takes to be the lead back and while they get their results with different styles those results are very similar. McFadden currently averages 4.6 yards per carry and Michael Bush averages 4.4 yards per carry.
Maybe even more importantly, LG Robert Gallery is back at practice and he has said he expects to start on Sunday. Gallery has been out since halfway through the Week 1 contest. Gallery is the Raiders' best lineman and he can be a punishing guard when run blocking.
The Raiders like to run between the guards and while G Daniel Loper has filled in admirably for Gallery, he was in no way going to be confused for him.
The team that wins the battle of the run games, will likely be the team that wins the game. I expect both teams to come out and exert their will in this area early and often. While the Raiders certainly have been better than their crosstown rivals running the ball this year, they have been a lot worse at defending it.
Check back to see what you can expect the 49ers to try and do stopping the run.
One of the major focal points of the Raiders off-season was to try and improve the run defense. Much of the blame was laid at the feet of the LBs and the LB corp went through a complete overhaul.
The results of these changes have yet to bear much fruit, but it is possible to see tiny blossoms. The Raiders run defense looked to be on that improving track until the Week Four debacle against the Texans, where they surrendered 249 yards at 6.9 yards per carry.
Other than the Texans game, the Raiders have done a good job of stuffing their share of runs. In fact Football Outsiders has the Raiders at 13th in defensive line run stuffs.
What kills the Raiders run defense is the total team breakdowns that lead to the all too often big plays. In fact, Frank Gore had a 49-yard carry preseason contest.
That run sums up the Raiders defensive woes pretty well. The DEs get pushed around too easily, then a lineman locks up a LB and it's one cut and go, which then leads to a missed tackle by a member of the secondary.
Typically, that missed tackle is by reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week, Michael Huff. Huff is especially vulnerable for these highlight gaffes, since the Raiders often employ a one deep safety defense.
The key for this young defense is to not let RBs get to that level. Something they had much more success with against the Chargers. Last week the Raiders defended the run much better as they held the Chargers to 91 yards on 3.5 yards per carry.
This was in large part due to the DEs Matt Shaughnessy and LaMarr Houston holding their ground and forcing the Charger RBs further outside. Many of these runs were with the slower Mike Tolbert and the Raiders bigger LBs had no problem locking him up.
The speedier Ryan Mathews had more success evading the LBs, especially Trevor Scott who was forced into LB action from his DE position due to injuries to Quentin Groves and Thomas Howard.
Trevor Scott will likely again be forced to take the WLB duties. Either way, it shouldn't impact the game too much. These men are not the key to LBs success in the run game though. That title falls to the eighth pick in the first round of this year's draft, Rolando McClain.
McClain has had a typical rookie season. He has made some nice plays, but he's also overrun a few run plays or run himself into blockers. Still, he is in on more plays than he is out of. Watching him, you get the feeling he is due for a game in which he announces his presence to the NFL.
If he is going to do that in this week's contest, his defensive lineman are going to have to hold their own.
Most of the Raiders big runs have come when opponents have run to the right towards their Right Tackle. This side is typically manned by rookie DE LaMarr Houston and DT Tommy Kelly. Football Outsiders has the Raiders ranked 27th in runs outside of the RG.
Expect the 49ers to test this part of the line early and often. Football Outsiders has the 49ers ranked 5th in runs between the RG and RT.
Winning the battle on the ground is going to be key for both teams. It will set up everything they want to do in the passing game and given the fact that the Raiders will likely start QB, Jason Campbell, giving the QB time to throw is essential for both teams. A good way to do this, is to establish your ground game--which leads me to the next highlighted matchup.
One of the strengths in recent years for the 49ers offense has been the running game. Even when the team has struggled, Frank Gore has found a way to make plays for the offense. He is struggling a bit in the rushing game this year (although cleaning up in total yards from scrimmage), but he remains a dangerous threat.
The Raiders rushing defense has had its struggles with opposing running games this year whether looking at traditional counting stats (31st in rushing yards allowed per game; 32nd in yards per rush allowed) or Football Outsiders more advanced metrics (24th against the rush).
The 49ers offense has been a work in progress this season with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye fired and former QB coach Mike Johnson now entering his third game as offensive coordinator. The running game has had its ups and downs with the biggest problem against the Eagles being a pair of Gore fumbles. Whatever the case the Raiders would appear to be the cure for what ails Gore’s rushing totals.
How will the Raiders look to contain Gore and are the Raiders as bad as the numbers would indicate, or is there an explanation for the numbers?
The 49ers have certainly struggled at times against running backs with decent hands in part because they've faced some very intriguing weapons out of the backfield. Against the Saints they had to deal with Reggie Bush, who is always a home run threat, and Pierre Thomas, who currently ranks seventh among NFL running backs with at least eight targets. Against the Kansas City Chiefs they had to deal with Dexter McCluster and Jamaal Charles who are both crazy athletes that can be tough to stop in any fashion.
The Raiders certainly have a great receiving back in Darren McFadden. Marcel Reese and Michael Bush also seem to be involved in the passing game but McFadden is the guy that concerns me most. While he's really shown his abilities in the running game this season, his role as a receiving running back has always been top notch. The 49ers biggest problems come with athletic running backs. Obviously all football players are athletes, but certain running backs come across as a bit more athletic than others. The 49ers struggles are against these guys.
One of the 49ers biggest problems this season has been poor tackling. Players have slipped away from the 49ers defenders with relative ease and made them look incredibly sloppy. More than anything the 49ers need to tighten up their discipline and wrap up players when they get the first opportunity.
As far as specific players that will be involved, I'd imagine we'll see Manny Lawson covering Darren McFadden a fair amount this Sunday. Lawson generally draws some of the more athletic players and will get his chance at McFadden if McFadden is playing on Sunday (I'm assuming he will be, but he was limited in practice today). That could be one of the more interesting matchups to watch on Sunday.
The 49ers also made a change in their secondary by inserting rookie Taylor Mays in as the starting strong safety. He's a solid tackler but he struggles in coverage. If McFadden, or any Raiders running back (or receiver for that matter) gets deep in his territory, it could be troublesome. Mays is a very up and down player, although he's much more athletic than former starter Michael Lewis. Mays is learning week by week and will certainly have his up and down moments.
In my research it sounds like Jason Campbell likes to use the tight ends a lot. I'd like to think that could extend to the running backs as well on checkdown routes. I could be entirely wrong on that, but if Campbell does in fact start on Sunday this RB/pass defense matchup could very well be the most important matchup of the game for the Raiders offense.
This game presents a lot of intriguing matchups. There are some that favor each team, some that pit strength against strength and some that find weakness going against weakness.
We are going to look at some of these matchups from both sides of the Bay.
I am going to start with one the Raiders should look to exploit.
Darren McFadden’s status for the game is up in the air, but even without the excellent pass catching and route running back, the Raiders backs are excellent in the pass game.
Marcel Reece is a matchup nightmare coming out of the backfield from the FB position and Michael Bush has capable hands. The Raiders feature a much improved screen game, get the ball to the backs on dump-offs and even send them downfield.
If McFadden and Bush both are able to go it could free the Raiders up to get even more creative with the backs in the passing game.
On the year McFadden and Bush have combined for 21 catches for 209 yards and one touchdown. Marcel Reece has seven catches for 43 yards and one touchdown and he was a quarter of a foot width away from hauling in a long pass down the sideline last week.
See, there are positives in everything. When you have an 0-5 record, you get first dibs on all waived players. Safety C.J. Spillman, who has played in 10 games for the San Diego Chargers the last two years on special teams, was waived after Week 5 by the Chargers, and the Niners promptly pounced. Spillman is expected to contribute on special teams for the Niners and is regarded as a solid special teams tackler. Who knows, maybe he'll take the starting free safety job from Dashon Goldson and Goldson will demand to be released...anything's possible at this point. Just think, if the Niners keep losing they can claim all the waived players they want.
To make room for Spillman, the Niners dropped cornerback/safety Tramaine Brock from Belhaven College. Poor Tramaine from Belhaven College never saw a defensive regular season snap. The Niners also released fullback Jehuu Caulcrick from the practice squad. Caulcrick had a reasonably solid preseason for the Niners. There is no word on why he was released (probably looked at Coach Singletary the wrong way).
As we head into week six of the 2010 NFL season, we get the chance for the rare regular season Battle of the Bay between the Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers. In years past both teams' fan bases generally looked down their collective noses at the opposing team and its fans. While the regular season games don't occur frequently enough for it to be a super intense on-field rivalry, the fans still have a general distaste for each other.
This year, Raiders fans would appear to have a little leverage in the battle. The Raiders are coming off a win that snapped a 13-game losing streak to the San Diego Chargers. The Raiders sit at 2-3 in an AFC West division showing some signs of life. The Raiders jettisoned Jamarcus Russell and while Jason Campbell hasn't exactly lit things up, he's not Jamarcus Russell. However, the rushing game is putting up big numbers and the passing defense is looking solid.
On the other side we've got the San Francisco 49ers. After a stunning 0-5 start, the 49ers are officially a franchise in turmoil. Although there have been some small positives to the season, things really could not have started off much worse. Head Coach Mike Singletary is on the hot seat, QB Alex Smith is on the verge of being benched, and team owner/president Jed York is sending texts to ESPN claiming the team will win the division. Considering I'm a 49ers fan, in years past I'd say, "Wait, isn't this the Raiders we're talking about?"
Generally, for each week of the NFL season we have separate 49ers and Raiders story streams for their respective matchups. However, with the two teams squaring off this week we thought it would be fun to have a single stream for all your Raiders and 49ers coverage. It's a unique matchup which calls for a unique stream. We'll be here all week with all your necessary updates for this matchup.
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