Raiders loss Harbaugh's last straw?

There might not be a more damning moment in Jim Harbaugh's tenure than Sunday's 24-13 defeat to the 11-loss Oakland Raiders. What does it mean for the rest of his season?

OAKLAND, Calif. - Sunday's 24-13 loss to the Raiders is far and away the most egregious bullet point to an otherwise very good resume for Jim Harbaugh during his time with the 49ers.

The question becomes: how does it affect his immediate future with San Francisco that's been so often discussed in 2014?

"My priorities are number one, winning football games. Number two, the welfare of our players, coaches and our staff, and lastly, is what my personal professional future is," Harbaugh said after the game.

For the second straight week, Harbaugh continued to dodge questions about his relationship with 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke. Most damning is the play of the offense over the last two games, that has scored 20 points just once in its last seven.

Sunday, the 49ers had three delay of game penalties and allowed five sacks to Colin Kaepernick - who threw two interceptions. They came on his first and last meaningful passes of the game.

"I take responsibility. It falls on me to win these games," Harbaugh said.

The issue all season has been the offense that came into the game ranked 25th in scoring just over 19 points per game. Week to week, the game plans have been in constant flux. Due, in part, to injuries along the offensive line and to tight ends. But also to the offensive coaching staff might be trying to do too many different things. The offense has seemed spread too thin in 2014.

Paralysis by over-analysis, perhaps. Ironically, that's the phrase defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and defensive lineman Justin Smith have used frequently this season when talking about over-complicating their own defensive schemes. San Francisco came into Sunday's game with the NFL's fourth-ranked defense despite missing NaVorro Bowman, Patrick Willis and Aldon Smith for extended periods.

Last year, the data said the 49ers faced more loaded fronts than any team in football. But it didn't stop them from running the ball, with effectiveness, at the second-highest clip in the league.

This season, they are passing at a considerably higher clip, with considerably different results.

But the indicators say they are still far better off as a run-first team. When they run as often or more than they pass, they are 6-0. When they pass more than run: 1-6.

"I just don’t feel like (we’re) us," Frank Gore said. "It’s hard to get in a rhythm. It’s hard. It’s hard. As players, you have to be in a rhythm on the field to be successful. It’s been tough all year to get in a rhythm."

[Related: Notes: Brooks missed meeting, 49ers deal with injuries]

Gore averaged 5.3 yards per carry Sunday, his second-best clip of the season, but only received 12 carries. And only had two after the team hit the go-ahead field goal midway through the third quarter to make it 13-10.

"The line was coming off the ball, Gore said. "We was having success."

Coordinator Greg Roman has drawn the most ire from the 49ers fan base. But Roman doesn't have complete autonomy when calling the plays. Harbaugh is the one that delivers the call to Kaepernick's head set with full veto power.

York did not take to Twitter to apologize to fans after the loss in Oakland like he did following the loss to the Seahawks. But the line in the sand is clearly there, and both Harbaugh and the front office have taken their sides.

With a trip to Seattle coming Sunday, where the 49ers haven't won since 2011, before Russell Wilson was drafted, there's a reasonable chance Harbaugh doesn't last the season.

The precedent is Harbaugh's predecessor Mike Singletary, who was fired in Week 16 of 2010, after San Francisco was eliminated from playoff contention. That year, the Seahawks won the NFC West going 7-9.

That year, defensive line coach Jim Tomsula coached the team's final game over the Arizona Cardinals - the same team San Francisco has lined up in Week 17 this season.

Next story:

49ers fall to Raiders in ugly performance

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