Raider first-unit shines but falls to SF

The good news for the Oakland Raiders was the fact that their first unit had a big upper hand on the San Francisco 49ers' first-team players. The bad news, however, was the fact that Oakland's backup players had a five-minute slipup to allow the 49ers to score 21 unanswered in a 21-13 loss Saturday night at Candlestick Park.

The Oakland Raiders outgained the San Francisco 49ers 203-39 in the first half total yardage and 11-2 in first downs. This game also marked the debut of San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the draft from the University of Utah. The Raiders put Smith, who went 3-of-9 for 25 yards and played the entire first half, under duress all night.

Oakland, which visits the Houston Texans Aug. 20, led 6-0 at intermission. After a lackluster first half of offense, the 49ers took only 77 seconds to score in the second half as Tim Rattay hit Brandon Lloyd for a 36-yard touchdown pass. Lloyd beat cornerback Fabian Washington and Stuart Schweigert on the play. One play earlier, Rattay connected with Lloyd for a 30-yard completion to the Oakland 36. The Raiders challenged the call claiming that Lloyd went out of bounds before catching the ball. The challenge was not, however, overturned.

The Raiders marched to the San Francisco 15 on the ensuing possession but Derrick Johnson stepped in front of a Marques Tuiasosopo pass intended for Johnnie Morant and raced 87-yards down the right sideline for a touchdown to give the 49ers a 14-6 lead with 9:58 left in the third quarter.

Oakland's problems continued as LaShaun Ward fumbled the ensuing kickoff, which the 49ers recovered at the Raider 22. Two plays later, Rattay hit Arnaz Battle in the right flat and went 13 yards for a touchdown to wide the 49er lead to 21-6.

The Raiders cut into the lead early in the fourth quarter when rookie quarterback Andrew Walter threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Randal Williams on third-down-and-six. Walter began to run from the pocket, broke a tackle while running left before throwing back toward the middle to Williams with 9:38 left in the fourth period.

The Raiders struck first when Sebastian Janikowski hit a 20-yard field goal with 3:31 left in the first quarter. That score was set up by a 37-yard Doug Gabriel punt return to the San Francisco 48. Oakland reached the 49er 3-yard line but did not score.

Janikowski later made good from 44 yards out, making it 6-0 Oakland with 5:08 left in the second period. San Francisco did not achieve a first down until 1:04 was left in the first half and that was on a Tyler Brayton personal foul.

Vince D'Adamo can be reached at

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