San Francisco 49ers Win Battle of the Bay, Still Show Vast Room for Improvement

Joseph BurkeyAnalyst IOctober 18, 2010

Gore finally saw daylight for the first time this season.
Gore finally saw daylight for the first time this season.Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers won the turnover battle, and thus were victorious over the Oakland Raiders in the "Battle of the Bay" Sunday.

The team fought to a 17-9 victory in rather dismal weather, and although some small rays of hope penetrate their 1-5 record, there is obviously a ton of room for improvement.

In spite of being penalized for about a billion yards (11 penalties for 143 yards, actually) the Red and Gold beat the Silver and Black by allowing the Raiders' Jason Campbell to lose the game for Oakland. In fairness, the 49ers defense, especially the linebackers, had the best game they've had all year.

Alex Smith accomplished about half of what he needed to in order to silence any critics, as his 196 yards and two touchdowns will not be enough to win most games from a spread offense.

Frank Gore finally broke a nice 64-yard run, and you know what? It didn't come from between the tackles. Rather it was on a sweep to the right side, where he found a cutback lane and nearly toot it to the end zone.

At day's end, Gore carried 25 times for 149 yards.

Much of the 49ers' gameplan was sadly the same as their last five games, however.

Anthony Dixon had one carry for nine yards, although he should have had another carry for an awesome and electrifying touchdown. That play was called back because of a bonehead holding call on Joe Staley.

Brian Westbrook saw minimal action, catching one pass for 19 yards.

Alex Smith rarely had time to look down field, and constantly threw the ball away. Then again, he did not turn the ball over during the entire game, and he used most of his weapons to reasonable success in muddy and wet game conditions.

Smith did hit both of his his primary receiving weapons, Vernon Davis and Michael Crabtree, for touchdowns in the second half.

The team's first victory this season is a baby step to the nearly impossible goal Jed York has set for them, but it is in the correct direction.

San Francisco's faithful fans should be realistic with this one. It will keep the Raider Nation off our backs for the rest of the year, but don't gloat. Seriously, nobody gloat. Every other team in the NFC West won, and every team in the AFC West lost. These teams are essentially in the same positions they were in before the game.

The 49ers defense looked pretty good, but not great, and far from perfect. Their offense looked a little better (considering the field conditions) but they did not even look good yet. This Battle of the Bay was practically all penalties and mistakes; the tide just happened to favor San Francisco.

It wasn't pretty; it was sloppy. But for the ailing 49ers, at least it was a win.