I have to apologize for waiting so long to give my reaction to the Niners' and Raiders' games last Sunday, heck, it's already time to preview their upcoming games for this weekend, as the Giants playoff chase and game one victory has us basking in the glory rather than ranting about a some sorry football teams. Follow the all our up-to-the-minute coverage at our Giants Baseball Blog (which you can follow for all breaking coverage with the Giants-Braves series).
We will certainly get into some playoff discussion here, especially once the championship series get underway, but I knew I couldn't this forever. The 49ers loss on Sunday was certainly a heartbreaker, and for a game I called a "must-win", for them to lose it like that was just as worse as them getting smoked, 41-7. They lost 16-14 on a last second field goal by Matt Bryant, in a game in which they did outplay the Falcons for the most part. But, like the San Francisco 49ers have had so much trouble doing, it seems like since the early 2000's and know, is finishing a team off when they have the chance and pulling away from teams rather than getting complacent. Again, that's an area I think that falls back on the coaching staff, and I'm not at all a guy who likes to kick someone (or some unit) when they're down, but it's becoming more and more apparent the lack of direction this team has, and it's so surprising because after seeing last year's finish and the way that team was fired up, I really was expecting Singletarry and company to pick right up where they left off last year.
Now, the team's off to an 0-4 start, and although the playoffs are a distant, distant reality, the 49ers are the best 0-4 football team I've ever scene, and their schedule does lighten up a lot over the next 4 weeks before their bye. They host an Eagles team who are just going through another switch at QB (albeit back to the original starter) and they have a real banged up LeSean McCoy carrying the ball for them. The Eagles seem to have lost that mojo they had going for them with Vick behind center, and people are now doubting Kolb all the sudden. I still think he has the weapons at his disposal and the arm to hurt the Niners, so they must game-plan accordingly, cause that's how I think Andy Reid is going to attack them. If they can somehow stop Philly, then they get the Raiders, the Panthers and the Broncos before the bye. None of those teams are easy victories, as the Raiders and Panthers both have nice D's and the Broncos can throw the ball, but the Niners should beat them. If they can somehow get to the bye week at 4-4, it would be an whole new season. 3-5 would even still have them in the hunt, but anything less than that and you can kiss the 2010 49ers season goodbye officially. These next 4 games are going to be huge in determining the Niners fate this year.
Raider Talk: Even with Darren McFadden getting hurt, the Raiders had the offense to keep up with the Texans, they just couldn't quite contain Arian Foster (16 carries, 131 yards, 2 total TD's) who played only part of the game due to disciplinary reasons. Matt Schaub wasn't so much the issue, although he did throw for 2 scores. Unfortunately, with the big plays you get with Gradkowski at QB, so come the turnovers, as he turned it over 3 times which did cost the Raiders. You turn one of those Raiders TO's into a TD, and that's the difference in the game right there. It was also didn't help that they were without their top pass-catcher, Louis Muprhy, at 100% and he missed a lot of offensive plays. Zach Miller did have his breakout game in 2010 that we were waiting for though (11 catches, 122 yards, 1 TD) and McFadden contributed heavily in the passing game as well, but the Texan secondary weren't allowing Gradkowski room downfield, or at least the Raiders wideouts weren't getting there. All in all though, when you give up 31 points, odds are your going to lose, so you can't really put this one on the Raiders offense.