What was billed as the “Battle of the Bay”, between the 0-5 San Francisco 49ers and the 2-3 Oakland Raiders Sunday at Candlestick Park, ultimately ended up looking more like the “Toilet Bowl”. Yes, in a game that looked like neither team truly wanted to win (with a combined 14 total punts), the overrated and underachieving 49ers walked away with an improbable 17-9 win and their first win of the season.
Seriously, what did you really expect, Raiders fans? In what was one of, if not, the worst efforts the Raiders have put forth in recent memory (and yes that is a large memory), the Raiders did everything possible to not win the game. Unfortunately, much maligned quarterback Jason Campbell will take the brunt of the criticism, and deservedly so. But the blame does not lie squarely on Campbell’s shoulders.
No, there is plenty to go around for all of those associated with the Silver and Black.
Jason Campbell was supposed to hold some of the same qualities as former Raider QB and Super Bowl 15 MVP Jim Plunkett. Of course, this is according to Oakland Raiders majority owner Al Davis. In all honesty, Campbell looks to have the same indecisive look as Aaron Brooks and lack of passing touch like Kerry Collins. It was these traits that ended both quarterbacks run as signal callers for “The Raider Nation”.
Ironically, it was Campbell’s game stats, 8-21 for 83 yards and two interceptions, that reminded Raider fans of another Raider quarterback. Paging Mr. Russel, paging Mr. JaMarcus Russel!!
It was Campbell’s lack of "Touch” that ended the Raiders late fourth quarter drive, when a short pass was rocketed to receiver Jacoby Fords hands and ended up in the possession of 49er linebacker Takeo Spikes. The interception, Campbell’s second of the day, ended the Raiders' chance of scoring and of also earning back to back victories since the 2002 season.
Tight end Zach Miller had more solo tackles (two) than star rookie linebacker Rolando McClain (one). Just imagine the outcome of the game if Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson used Miller as a target rather than a blocker. Miller was only targeted four times. In what should have been a showcase of his receiving skills, Miller spent the entire game either wide open or blocking for an inconsistent and lackluster running game.
Overall, it was a dismal day for the Oakland Raider offense. There never seemed to be any rhythm between Campbell and his receivers. The offensive line lacked that initial burst and toughness in the second half to sustain poorly called drives of run, after run, after run. It was the Raiders lack of (Gasp) “The Deep Ball” that kept the 49ers comfortable in their defensive scheme and able to stack the line and harass Michael Bush for four quarters.
This game was not so much about the 49ers winning, but a deeper reflection of the Raiders not being able to get out of their own way. This clearly should have been a game in which the Raiders walked away with not only the victory, but a sense of self respect.
It seems like Mr. Davis has been wrong about many things over the past decade. Of course, the one thing Davis cannot afford to be wrong about is exactly how much Raider faithful can take.