Red zone is Raiders dead zone in losing Battle of the Bay

In the second game of the preseason, the Raiders’ first team offense nearly played the entire first half versus the 49ers. Oakland had the ball for three series in that half; twice they were able to get into scoring position, but both times they were turned away without a touchdown. In fact, they weren’t able to score a touchdown in the game.

Last week the Raiders were criticized for only scoring one touchdown and opting to kick two field goals while inside the opponent’s 10 yard line. This game Hue Jackson called for the Raiders to do what a team in the preseason is supposed to do: go for the touchdown. But in the end, the result was the same. The Raiders would score on just one field goal while giving up 17 points to the 49ers.

To be fair, the 49ers didn’t score a single point on the Raiders’ first team defense. Then again, Oakland’s first team defense only played two series and surrendered long drives each time. They were saved from the 49ers scoring by a botched hold on a field goal attempt and an ill advised pass by Alex Smith into coverage. Both plays resulted in Raider interceptions.

The Raider first team offense left much to be desired. One can argue that they are depleted by injury at wide receiver. But Darrius Heyward-Bey is supposed to be a starter and Denarius Moore has played like one this training camp. Both Heyward-Bey and Moore had great catches. So why couldn’t the offense get in for the score?

First off, the Raider offense didn’t step on the field until nearly ten minutes into the game. Then when they got the ball, they ran it up the middle twice for just four yards. The second run was stuffed for one yard when Khalif Barnes was blown up on the block. Then the Raiders lined up with both Joseph Barksdale and Khalif Barnes at right tackle. Barnes was the one out of place and the Raiders were forced to take a time out. Barnes was told by Hue what he did wrong on the previous play and was sent to the sideline.

The Raiders were looking at third and six and DHB ran a go route on what was supposed to be a comebacker at the sticks. Jason Campbell threw it to where DHB was supposed to be as he looked back wondering wha-ha-happened. DHB got an earful after the play from Hue Jackson.

That was a complete mess and the resulting three and out was not a good start for the Raiders.

After an interception by Matt Shaughnessy, the Raiders got the ball back with decent field position. This time they seemed to have their heads on straight.

Two consecutive completions to Denarius Moore, as well as a nice back shoulder pass and catch from Campbell to DHB, and the Raiders were in business at the San Francisco 2 yard line. But two tackles for loss and a short gain later and the Raiders found themselves in the same spot, going for it on fourth down. Last week, when in this position, Hue called out the field goal unit. This week he went for it as he should in the preseason. Jason Campbell was sacked.

At least the Raiders would put the 49ers in poor field position, right? That didn’t last a single play as Anthony Dixon took it up the middle for 15 yards. Then the 49ers marched down the field to score the first points of the game on a short field goal. But Oakland’s second team defense did hold them out of the endzone for the second week in a row — this time without big John Henderson who was out with an injury.

The offense got the ball back for their final first team drive and a chance to redeem themselves. Things were looking good after an 18 yard completion to DHB and two good runs for a first down by Michael Bush. Jason Campbell was then sacked and nearly fumbled the ball away. He was slow to get up and was replaced in the game by Trent Edwards.

Edwards was able to continue the early drive success and get as far as the 49er 12 yard line. But the drive not only stalled there, it moved backward quickly. Two straight penalties, illegal hands to the face and holding, took the Raiders back to 1st and 30. In an attempt to get that yardage back, Edwards threw into double coverage for an interception.

The Raider offense in the second half, led by Kyle Boller, didn’t even sniff the redzone. They were only able to avoid the shutout on a 46 yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski.

The 49ers, on the other hand, were able to score on their second offensive play of the second half. It was a handoff to Kendall Hunter who took it 53 yards for a touchdown. The Raiders’ best drive in the third quarter went to the 40 yard line where Boller was intercepted after attempting a well covered screen pass.

The Raiders were able to begin the fourth quarter with a prolonged drive that resulted in the Janikowski field goal but the 49ers answered right back with a long touchdown drive to seal the win, 17-3.

While there are some good things that can be said about the defensive performance in this game, not much at all can be said of the Raider offense. There are a few things that can be taken from this game, however.

The main mistake early on was being disorganized, which is kind of expected in the preseason with a new head coach. Two of their problem areas are at receiver and corner which are both injury depleted and should improve with the return of the regular starters, though Demarcus Van Dyke had a decent game, giving up just one catch for 13 yards on two drives.

There are still issues at linebacker and on the offensive line. The line is not set because of these problems. Several offensive linemen switched in and out, with right tackle being the primary problem spot. Khalif Barnes was sat down in favor of rookie Joseph Barksdale who makes a few of what we can call rookie mistakes at this juncture.

There appears to be no real answer at weak side linebacker. Quentin Groves started the game at the position but just like last game, he was replaced early by Jerome Boyd. Then when the second team came on the field, Boyd stayed in at safety and Darryl Blackstock took over the weak side. Blackstock makes tackles but most come after the running back has already picked up 4-5 yards. Boyd and Groves also had their share of mistakes. So unless injured Trevor Scott is seen as the savior of this unit, the WEAK side will take on a whole new meaning.

Oakland
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
J. Campbell 5/7 74 0 0
K. Boller 6/11 56 0 1
T. Edwards 3/6 36 0 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
M. Bush 6 26 0 9
K. Boller 4 17 0 12
R. Cartwright 4 12 0 4
M. Bennett 3 10 0 9
T. Edwards 1 2 0 2
M. Tonga 1 0 0 0
J. Campbell 1 -1 0 -1
M. Reece 1 -1 0 -1
L. Rankin 1 -2 0 -2
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
D. Heyward-Bey 2 40 0 22
D. Hagan 3 32 0 14
D. Moore 2 28 0 17
R. Cartwright 2 22 0 15
M. Bush 2 18 0 12
K. Boss 1 14 0 14
S. Bodiford 2 12 0 9
San Francisco
Passing CP/AT YDS TD INT
A. Smith 8/13 126 0 1
C. Kaepernick 6/8 52 0 0
A. Lee 0/1 0 0 1
Rushing ATT YDS TD LG
K. Hunter 9 105 1 53
X. Omon 14 62 1 7
A. Dixon 12 53 0 15
F. Gore 4 21 0 11
Receiving REC YDS TD LG
B. Edwards 2 46 0 32
J. Morgan 2 40 0 32
K. Williams 2 25 0 13
V. Davis 2 19 0 14
B. Miller 1 9 0 9
T. Ginn 1 6 0 6
L. Long 2 5 0 4

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About Levi Damien, Senior Writer

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