Raiders find a ground attack

The Oakland Raiders may have found something in the running game. A steady diet of the ground and pound could pave the way to something that has alluded the team thus far, a win.

Raiders Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: D -- There was some nice work here. Andrew Walter's first half (10-for-15, 138 yards, 1 TD) was his best as a pro. Ronald Curry caught four passes for 94 yards. Randy Moss caught a 22-yard scoring pass. But the mistakes far outweighed the good. Walter was intercepted twice and threw a poor lateral that was run back for a touchdown. He was replaced by Marques Tuiasosopo, who had a TD pass but was intercepted twice. Moss dropped a potential touchdown, forcing the Raiders to settle for a field goal.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- The Raiders averaged a whopping 6.7 yards per carry, and the blocking was generally very good. LaMont Jordan had 71 yards on 12 carries, and Justin Fargas had a career game with 63 yards on eight carries off the bench. Because turnovers in the passing offense got Oakland behind, and time was running short, the Raiders had to abandon the run in the fourth quarter.

PASS DEFENSE: D -- Stanford Routt stepped in front of Antonio Bryant for an interception to set up a field goal, and that was your highlight for the day. Alex Smith was 15-for-19 for 165 yards and three touchdowns, with Oakland seemingly a step slow all day. The Raiders were suckered on a screen pass for a 33-yard Smith-to-Maurice Hicks pass for a score on third-and-12. Top draft pick Michael Huff blew a tackle on that one.

RUSH DEFENSE: D -- Not bad on a pair of fourth-and-1 plays in the red zone when the Raiders got the ball back on downs, but otherwise, they got pushed around by a team that had lost 41-0 by the Chiefs the week before. Frank Gore steadily gored the Raiders for gains with a career-high 134 yards on 27 carries. Although outgained 370 to 330, the 49ers had an obscene 35:13 to 24:47 advantage in time of possession in large part because they ran on the Raiders when it mattered.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D -- ReShard Lee missed a block that allowed Manny Lawson free access to Shane Lechler's foot. His blocked punt following Oakland's first possession of the second half set up a score that put the 49ers up 14-13. A few possessions later, it would be 31-13. No other huge errors by the Raiders -- Sebastian Janikowski connected on two more field-goal attempts -- but sometimes one huge error can spoil everything.

COACHING: C -- The offensive game plan was better. Walter threw underneath more often, and Oakland moved the ball steadily. Walter made some poor decisions more because he is a young quarterback than because of coaching errors. It remains to be seen whether the decision to pull him in favor of Marques Tuiasosopo will have long-term effects. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was a step behind the 49ers' Norv Turner all day. San Francisco had an answer for just about everything except how to gain a yard on fourth-and-1.

Niners Report Card:

PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus -- Quarterback Alex Smith had his best statistical game with a career-high three TD passes to go along with his best passer rating of 120.5. Smith hit receiver Arnaz Battle on two TD passes, and let running back Maurice Hicks do much of the work on a 33-yard screen play that went the distance. The offensive line was stellar, not allowing any sacks. Smith threw an interception early in the second quarter but responded well after that.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B-plus -- Frank Gore ran hard and he did not fumble. He had fumbled in each of the 49ers' first four games. Gore rushed for a career-high 134 yards on 27 carries. The line blocked well, as did fullback Moran Norris and tight ends Eric Johnson and Billy Bajema. The only knock on the run game was its inability to convert two fourth-and-1 situations deep in Raiders territory in the second quarter.

PASS DEFENSE: B-plus -- The 49ers gave up way more yards than they should have against a Raiders team that came into the contest averaging just 70 yards passing a game. The 49ers did not get much of a pass rush against a questionable Raiders offensive line. But despite their problems in some areas, the 49ers secondary came through with four interceptions. Cornerback Walt Harris recorded the first three-interception game of his 10-year career.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- The 49ers had a rough time with LaMont Jordan and Justin Fargas, but they did not allow a rushing touchdown. The 49ers run defense even scored a TD when rookie defensive end Melvin Oliver picked up a Raiders backward pass and trotted 12 yards into the end zone.

SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- The turning point of the game occurred early in the second half when rookie Manny Lawson broke free through the left side of the Raiders' protection and then used every bit of his 6-foot-5 frame to block Shane Lechler's punt. The 49ers took over at the Raiders' 9-yard line and promptly scored a touchdown for a lead they'd never relinquish.

COACHING: C-plus -- Coach Mike Nolan twice went for it on fourth downs deep in Raiders territory. Instead of settling for field goals, the 49ers did not get any points out of those drives. Offensive coordinator Norv Turner had a good game plan for the offense. He knew the 49ers could run the ball effectively against his former team, and that's what they did. Defensively, the 49ers could not generate any pass rush. But the secondary still came up with four interceptions.


SB Report Top Stories