At least we’re better than the Raiders

Oct 9, 2006 at 7:03 PM0

The Oakland Raiders made it clear on Sunday that they are not only the worst team in the Bay Area, but that they are the worst team in the NFL. That’s right Dave Del Grande, the Raiders, not the 49ers, are the worst team in the league.

If you are not familiar with Dave Del Grande, I don’t blame you. He is a writer for Inside Bay Area who is so frustrated with the Raiders’ demise, that he decides to throw insults toward the team across The Bay. In an article published three weeks ago after the Raiders’ 27-0 loss at home to the San Diego Chargers and prior to their 28-6 loss in Baltimore, Del Grande had the following to say about the 49ers.

Today, OK, the Raiders are flat. Having been punched in the gut big-time by a heavyweight, the Raiders likely have a feeling of hopelessness. They need the 49ers on the schedule, not the Ravens. They have little hope of competing Sunday.

No big deal, right? Wait, there was more.

Getting thumped by a pretty decent AFC team is one thing. Becoming the punch line in 49ers fans' jokes is something else.

I say it's time for the "Humiliation Nation" to strike back. I hereby suggest a new battle cry for 2006: "At Least We're Better Than The 49ers."

Strong words considering his team had not yet proved anything. At this point, at least the 49ers had been able to put points on the scoreboard. But perhaps he was right. His team did face a strong San Diego team and we had only faced the Arizona Cardinals, a team that now sits in last place in the NFC West. Maybe Mr. Del Grande knew what he was talking about. He even had proof that the Raiders were better than the 49ers.

It was proven in a preseason game last month in Oakland, and it will be reiterated next month in San Francisco: The Raiders are a better team than the 49ers.

Of course! The Raiders had beaten the 49ers in a meaningless preseason game. How could anyone argue with him now? With that logic, the 49ers must be in great shape. After all, they had preseason wins against the Chicago Bears (now 5-0) and San Diego Chargers (now 3-1). So by his logic, we must be better than both those teams. Playoffs, here we come!

Watching the 49ers' loss had to have the Raiders asking: When do we get to play Arizona?

That'll be Oct.22, capping a five-week stretch in which the schedule-maker has airmailed the Raiders three "byes."

Yes, the Oct. 8 visit to San Francisco is one of them.

Well, so much for the matchup with the 49ers being a “bye” for the Raiders. San Francisco won the Bay Area Battle easily by a score of 34-20. His article has become popular among 49ers fans over the past few weeks. And after a 41-0 beating in Arrowhead against the Kansas City Chiefs, a date with the NFL’s worst team and proving all of Del Grande’s comments wrong was just what 49ers fans needed.

Despite a win against a sloppy Raiders team and proof that they are better than their Bay Area rival, this game once again showed fans that the 49ers are not where they want to be. The team was able to rush for 165 yards on Sunday, which is not bad unless you take into account that the Raiders had the 28th ranked run defense in the league. Their pass defense was ranked 3rd and 49ers gained another 165 yards through the air. Not a great number, but enough to have a perfectly balanced offense.

The offense took advantage of the Raiders’ weaknesses on defense but made some disturbing things on their own defense apparent. Going into the game, the Raiders were the worst offense in the league. While they were average running the ball, they were dead last passing. What did they do against the 49ers? The team passed for 216 yards and 2 touchdowns. That was more than double their average passing yards per game. The team only had 1 touchdown in their previous 3 games. The 49ers defense is something to worry about. While Walt Harris has emerged as this season’s surprise player in the defensive backfield, the rest of this unit is making even the most average quarterbacks look like Pro Bowl stars. Safety Tony Parrish is not where he once was and before Sunday, the team had not picked off any opposing team passes. Harris had 3 against the Raiders.

On a good note, Alex Smith bounced back from a horrible showing in Kansas City. Smith had his first career game throwing multiple touchdowns. He was 15 of 19 for 165 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception.

Running back Frank Gore was able to hold on to the football on his way to 134 yards rushing and another 38 receiving.

Wide Receiver Arnaz Battle, who only had 11 catches all season, emerged as an endzone threat bringing in 2 of Smith’s 3 touchdown passes. The other belonged to backup running back Maurice Hicks who dodged multiple Raiders (including highly complimented 1st round draft pick Michael Huff) and dived into the endzone.

If not for two decisions to go for it on 4th down in the second quarter, the team could have won by an even bigger margin. In fact, with better play calling during those 4th down plays, the score could have been even more humiliating for the Raiders who now sink to 0-4.

Of course, the 49ers will not get any recognition from the national media with a win over a team like the Raiders and they have too many holes on defense to compete against solid teams. The offense on the other hand is greatly improved over last season and if you throw out last week’s loss to the Chiefs, the 49ers have come back in every game and given each team a run for their money.

With a good defensive draft and some free agency help during the offseason, it is only a matter of time before San Francisco becomes a playoff caliber team. While the Raiders look to be spiraling out of control, things are looking up for this young 49ers squad.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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