The San Francisco 49ers have now dropped their last four games after winning the regular season opener against the Minnesota Vikings. Every journalist and every Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area person who appears on television, seems to think quarterback Colin Kaepernick looked a lot better in the Sunday night loss to the New York Giants. I’m here to tell you, if you are a Niners fan, this game may be as good as it gets for the team all season.
Although the Niners did lose in heartbreaking fashion, thanks to an Eli Manning last minute touchdown pass to tight end Larry Donnell, it must have felt pretty good for Kaepernick to actually create some offense. The third-year quarterback completed 23 out of his 35 throws in the loss, passing for 262 and recording 2 touchdowns and no interceptions in the process.
“[I was] able to let balls go and trust our receivers, and our receivers made big plays,” Kaepernick said in an article posted by the Bay Area’s very own Paul Gutierrez on Espn.com. “It was a confidence-building thing for both sides. … It was something that we can build on moving forward and improve on.”
The problem the Niners face is Colin Kaepernick, who isn’t going to look much better than he did Sunday night, and they still lost the game. Naturally, analysts and fans of the Niners would assume they didn’t give the ball up enough to their young buck, running back Carlos Hyde. The fact of the matter is Hyde got the ball 21 times, rushing for 93 yards to the tune of 4.4 yards a carry.
Being a power runner is what Hyde brings to the table in the backfield, but it wasn’t enough against the younger Manning and the New York Giants. Now the Niners have a problem: if they cannot win when Kaepernick and Hyde have good games, then how are they going to win any games? The team will have to re-group for this Sunday, as they play Baltimore Ravens, who have also slid to a 1-4 record, in a rematch of Super Bowl XLVII.
This should be a winnable game for San Francisco, they are at home, and the Ravens have not looked good all year either. If the 49ers find a way to lose this game, I would say they would be right on pace to go 1-15 this year. If that happens, hopefully they could snag the local wonder boy quarterback from Cal, Jared Goff, with the first pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
On the other side of the bay, the Oakland Raiders are also coming off of a tough loss to their division foe, the Denver Broncos. In the 16-10 loss, Charles Woodson found a way to intercept Peyton Manning for the first time in his career, and then he did it again. Despite Woodson’s efforts, the team’s offense could not seem to get anything going, as quarterback Derek Carr through a crucial pick-six to Chris Harris Jr. to put the nail in the coffin.
“The most important individual development of the season has been Carr’s improvement. He is the long-term key to the franchise,” said ESPN Staff Writer Bill Williamson. “Carr has struggled at times, but for the most part, he is productive. What encourages me most about him is his improvement in accuracy, against the blitz and on down-field passes.”
Although the Raiders have Woodson, Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith anchoring their defense, the unit’s overall play has been shady. They are doing just enough to give their offense a shot to win the game, but Derek Carr’s only 24-years-old, he is not going to be able to put the team on his back every game.
The Raiders will continue to compete this season, and they have a much-needed bye-week right now. If they continue their solid offensive trend — for the most part — and clean up the defense, look for the Raiders to be in the AFC Wild Card race at the end of the year.