The 49ers' defense dug themselves quite a hole to start the game. In his first start, Jarrett Stidham and the Raiders marched six plays for 70 yards to score a touchdown on the first drive.
It was quite the half for the Raiders, as no team has had as much success that I can remember, not even the Kansas City Chiefs. You always wondered how motivated the Niners would be in this spot against a Raiders team with a first-time starter under center.
Stidham and the Raiders scored on three of their first four drives. They were on the cusp of another score, but Arik Armstead threw the left guard out of the way for an impressive stop on 4th & goal from the 1.
That meant we’d get to see Brock Purdy in a different light. Purdy would be tasked with playing from behind. No matter the result, it would be a great learning experience for the rookie — even if it’s against a below-average Raiders defense.
Christian McCaffrey did the heavy lifting on the first drive, including a 37-yard run on 3rd and 3 to put the offense inside the Raiders' 5-yard line. Then, Brandon Aiyuk caught a touchdown from Brock Purdy from two yards out. That tied the game at 7.
San Francisco answered the Raiders' second scoring drive with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took over seven minutes off the clock. That drive was aided by multiple defensive pass interference calls on the Raiders. The 49ers would add a field goal to make the score 14-10 at the half.
Both teams would score a touchdown within the first eight minutes of the third quarter. Fred Warner was flagged for a face mask on 3rd & 16. To give you an idea of the type of game this was, Warner, Trent Williams, and George Kittle were all penalized on the afternoon.
Then, on 3rd & 4, Stidham found a wide-open Devante Adams, who uncovered against Talanoa Hufanga on a scramble drill for a 60-yard touchdown. Hufanga elected to go tackle the quarterback, which turned out to be a critical mistake.
McCaffrey found the end zone from 14 yards on the 49ers' following possession. He had gains of seven, five, and 15 on the drive. It was one of those series where Kyle Shanahan gave the keys to CMC, and McCaffrey didn’t disappoint. His touchdown brought the 49ers within three to make the score 24-21, Raiders.
So, for the first time in what felt like forever, the 49ers were in a one-score game heading into the second half. It was strange. We’ve forgotten what it feels like. But, that’s how good the Niners have been during the past couple of months.
George Kittle was flagged for a phantom holding call, which woke the defense up. The 49ers forced a couple of punts, and thanks to Kerry Hyder, Drake Jackson was the beneficiary of an interception that landed in his lap.
The 49ers were in prime positions to score touchdowns in the second half after Ray-Ray McCloud’s 42-yard run and Jackson’s interception. Yet, both drives resulted in a field goal. Purdy and Kittle weren’t on the same page on a third down, and that was the difference between going up a touchdown and a field goal.
At 27-24, the Raiders took over with plenty of time remaining. Stidham wasted little time crossing midfield. Facing a 3rd & 9 with just over four minutes remaining, Nick Bosa hit Stidham to force a long field goal attempt. Deommodore Lenoir made a great play, but Tashaun Gipson was unable to come up with the catch.
A 57-yard field goal tied the game with 4:08 to play. That meant it was Purdy time. How would the rookie fare in this situation? He found Aiyuk for a gain of 23 yards. Christian McCaffrey caught a screen pass where he ran over a few defenders, and Jordan Mason finished the drive with a score to give San Francisco a 34-27 lead.
The 49ers outscored the Raiders 20-3 since Las Vegas took a 24-14 lead, with that score being a 57-yard field goal. But the Raiders had been moving the ball all game, and Stidham wasn’t going down without a fight.
The 49ers hadn’t allowed a point in this situation all season. So, with two minutes remaining, would Stidham be the first to score? Instead, Stidham heaved a throw to Adams for what would be a miraculous 47-yard catch. Stidham went over 300 yards with that throw.
That meant Las Vegas had 1:29 remaining and 19 yards to go. On the ensuing play, Stidham threw it to Darren Waller, which gave the Raiders the ball at the one-yard line. After a score, we were tied again at 34.
Purdy took over with three time-outs and 1:11 remaining. After a near interception, Purdy found Brandon Aiyuk for first downs on back-to-back plays to put the Niners into Raiders territory. After an incomplete pass to, Aiyuk picked up another first down on a slant pattern.
Robbie Gould had a chance to end the game from 41 yards out, but his kick wasn’t close. The Raiders received the ball, which was an advantage for the 49ers. Why? Because they have the Defensive Player of the Year.
Bosa put the Raiders' left tackle on skates, which meant Stidham had nowhere to step up and throw. His pass landed in the lap of Tashaun Gipson, who returned it into Raiders’ territory.
Gould didn’t miss this kick. The Niners won 37-34 and are on a 9-game winning streak for the first time since 1997. Once again, we saw the team handle adversity. And once again, they came out victorious.