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The NFL Bay Bridge Awards: Raiders Rise To Level Of Competition, 49ers Sink To Theirs

Here's my first instalment of the NFL Bay Bridge Awards; 10 weekly awards given for especially exceptional (or unexceptional) play/conduct I feel worthy of an imaginary decoration.

Three weeks into the NFL season and the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders find themselves alone atop their respective divisions. That just has a nice ring to it doesn't it? The Raiders showed some true grit by out-bullying the self-titled bullies of the league in the New York Jets, while the Niners beat a rookie-lead Bungles team in incredibly ugly fashion. Nevertheless, both teams head into next against very stiff opponents with a bit of confidence under their belts. 

Many fans of both teams are saying to themselves, "Hey, we easily could be undefeated right now!", though the Raiders have been a bit more exciting in doing so. Oakland has score 92 points so far compared to San Francisco's 92, and save for a  few Ted Ginn returns on special teams the Niners offense has been down right pedestrian. Darren McFadden had 47 less total yards alone that San Francisco had all game, not to mention having to give up two points with a last second safety to run of the clock (which was necessary, but hard to watch especially with such a tight score). Yes, these teams have taken different roads on their path to the top (for now), but they are there none the less. Let us rejoice in that. 

But I digress... 

Introducing the NFL Bay Bridge Awards; My weekly awards for extraordinary (or extraordinarily bad) performances by the Raiders and the Niners. I've got 10 categories this week, I hope you enjoy them. 

The Put My Money where my Mouth is Award goes to....Vernon Davis

After a bit of jabber-jawing in the media after being held almost imperceptible in the first two weeks of the season, tight end Vernon Davis blew up for eight catches and 114 yards on Sunday in Cincinnati, more than showcasing his skills and the importance to the 49ers offense. And although the 49ers didn't get across midfield until the third quarter, V.D. had a lot to do with the semblance of offensive continuity the Niners had in the second half. 

(The quality of this video isn't too hot)

Vernon Davis huge catch (via Stillguitars)

The Importance of Fundamentals Award goes to...The 49ers O-Line

Seeing that these awards are for outstandingly bad accomplishments as well, this one goes to the terrible performance put up by San Francisco's O-Line. Giving up eight QB hits and 5 sacks isn't going to get the job done. It gives a guy like Alex Smith even more to worry about and less time to do it in, and Frank Gore almost no way to get into a rhythm. Gotta step it up. 

The Mama There Goes That Man Award goes to...Darren McFadden

What more needs to be said that Mark Jackson hasn't already? 171 yards on 19 carries on a defense that hasn't given up a 100 yard rusher yet this season? Baller. Leading the Silver and Black to one of the most important victories in a reasonable while? More baller. Hopefully he can stay healthy and on the field to lead the team to more victories. 

(sorry for the ads in this video)

Darren McFadden 70 Yard Run Vs Jets 9-25-11(Career Long!)Raider Nation Erupts! (via BoltSmokes)

The Coming Though in the Clutch Award goes to...The 49ers Secondary

With two late interceptions from rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, Carlos Rogers and Reggie Smith stopped important Bengals drives in the fourth quarter, including Cincinnati's final drive of the game heading into the red zone. After essentially giving away the Cowboys game last weekend, it was nice to see the boys in the back step up and close the game out for San Francisco. 

The So Fresh & So Clean Award goes to...The Raiders O-Line

Keeping the nasty Jets defense away from Jason Campbell was one of the most important aspects of the Raiders win on Sunday. They kept Campbell upright except for one sack, the only QB hit they allowed all day, allowing him to lead the way with a lot of shorter passes, finishing the day 18/27 for 156 yards. They also were vital to the dismantling put together by Run DNC of the Jets defense, proving to the rest of the League that this team is for real (we hope). 

The Memorable Milestone Award goes to...David Akers

The 13 year veteran out of Lousiville notched his 300th career field goal in the third quarter, joining an elite class of kickers throughout history to reach the achievement. Great offseason pickup by the Niners with the departure of Joe Nedney, he will be paying dividends as the season goes on I can feel it. 

The Rookie of the Week Award goes to...Kendall Hunter

Hunter almost won my milestone award, but I decided that since he's a rook he should have to play second fiddle to the veteran. Hunter got his first career touchdown in the NFL with about four minutes left in the fourth quarter. He finished the day with nine carries for 26 yards, but might be getting some more playing time with the game Frank Gore had himself. 

The I Got Your Back Award goes to...Oakland Raider Fans

Good work by the Silver and Black Nation for selling out the Coliseum this Sunday, allowing the rest of us who didn't actually go to watch the game here locally without having to have Direct TV. Not only did you hype up your team for their resume building W, you also showed that you're ready to have something to root for once again. Keep up the support and you might be handsomely rewarded...

The Sometimes You Have to Just Wear it Award goes to...Frank Gore

I don't want to stir the pot here, but Frank the Tank just didn't have a good day. 42 yards on 17 carries with a lost fumble and two dropped passes. We haven't seen the Frank of old lately, hopefully he can break out against the Eagles next weekend. 

The Embarrassing Referee Moment of the Game Award goes to...This Guy

Yeah, this definitely deserves an award:

Ref Trips Himself During Live NFL Football Game (via Msoulantzos)


Follow me on Twitter @bigern22007