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Winners and losers: The McCaffrey acquisition was the turning point of the season

Plus, we discuss whether or not the passing defense is an issue

San Francisco 49ers v Las Vegas Raiders Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It went down differently than many expected, but the 49ers still could walk out of Las Vegas with a 37-34 in an overtime thriller. The 49ers scored 13 points in the fourth quarter after trailing at halftime and the end of the third quarter to send the game to overtime, where Robbie Gould hit a 23-yard field goal to win.

The win extended the 49ers' win streak to nine and moved them to the No. 2 seed in the NFC with the Vikings' loss to the Packers on Sunday.

Sunday was the 49ers' biggest offensive output of the season, thanks to the first winner from the win in Las Vegas.

Winner: RB Christian McCaffrey

McCaffrey was responsible for 193 of the 49ers' 454 yards on Sunday, with 121 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards. He started his day with NFL history, surpassing Roger Craig for most receptions in his first six seasons, with his second reception on Sunday marking the 435th of his career. He also had a rushing touchdown for the fourth consecutive week with his 14-yard run in the third quarter to shrink the Las Vegas lead to three.

His biggest play came in a tie game late in the fourth quarter when Brock Purdy had to dump a pass to McCaffrey quickly with a free runner in his face. McCaffrey got a great block from Daniel Brunskill to open up plenty of space where the running back ran free for about 20 yards. He was then met by Raiders defensive back Amik Robertson, who McCaffrey ran through to pick up an extra 15 yards to complete the 38-yard play.

The McCaffrey acquisition was the season's turning point, with the 49ers having not lost since he’s become a full member of the offense. Sunday was just another display of how important he’s become for Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers.

Winner: WR Brandon Aiyuk

Aiyuk had his best game of the season with season highs in receptions, yards, and targets, thanks to his big fourth quarter. He finished with nine receptions for 101 yards with a touchdown on 12 targets after he had just three receptions for 20 yards through three quarters.

Purdy relied on Aiyuk in the fourth quarter, finding him six times for 81 yards and targeting him on five of six attempts during the 49ers' final drive of regulation. It marked his first 100-yard game of the season and put him just 44 yards away from his first 1,000-yard season, entering the final week of the season.

Loser: The 49ers' pass defense

The 49ers' pass defense has quickly become a concern, with just a couple of weeks remaining before the playoffs start. It seemed to be a favorable matchup for the defense entering Sunday, taking on Jarrett Stidham in his first career start, but he torched the 49ers for 365 yards and three touchdowns. Stidham found Davante Adams seven times on 11 targets for 153 and two touchdowns, including receptions for 27, 60, and 45 yards, with the 60-yard resulting in a touchdown.

Deommodore Lenoir was the 49ers' most targeted defensive player, targeted seven times, allowing five receptions for 108 yards, and had what was his worst game since Week 5.

Adams’ 45-yard reception came against Lenoir with less than two minutes left in the game and the Raiders needing a touchdown. The Raiders receiver was able to adjust underneath Lenoir to haul in the deep pass, and the Raiders were able to tie the game up two plays later.

For the third week in a row, Talanoa Hufanga has been credited with a touchdown allowed by Pro Football Focus, being given responsibility for Darren Waller’s opening drive touchdown. Hufanga also allowed Adams to get behind him on a Stidham scramble drill for the 60-yard touchdown reception.

Hufanga wasn’t dinged for that touchdown and finished the day with two receptions allowed on two targets for 38 yards, according to PFF.

It wasn’t all bad for the pass defense. Charvarius and Jimmie Ward were targeted a combined 12 times, allowing a combined 49 yards on eight receptions.

The defense was also able to force two timely interceptions, Drake Jackson off of a Kerry Hyder tip down three points in the fourth quarter and Tashaun Gipson in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal. However, this is the second week in a row the pass defense has looked very beatable, a cause for concern just a couple of weeks away from the playoffs.

Winner: DE Nick Bosa

What makes Bosa so great is that he doesn’t have to record a sack to have a big impact in any given game. Sunday was just the third time this season that Bosa didn’t record a sack but finished with ten pressures on 37 pass-rush opportunities, with his final pressure being the play of the game for the 49ers' defense.

On the Raiders' fourth play of overtime, Bosa ran through Kolton Miller off of the snap, pushing the Raiders' left tackle into Stidham as he threw, forcing the ball to float into the hands of Tashaun Gipson setting up the game-winning field goal.

The Raiders offensive line did well against the 49ers' pass rush, not allowing a single sack; however, Nick Bosa is inevitable.

Winner: QB Brock Purdy

It was a weird first half for Purdy, throwing for just 3 yards while also throwing for his two touchdowns. The second half looked much better for the rookie, throwing for 246 yards, which was the most he’s thrown for in a half since taking over as the starter. What stood out the most from Purdy was his performance down the stretch, with the 49ers needing points. After his interception with the 49ers trailing 24-21, he orchestrated what could have been four consecutive had Robbie Gould not missed a field goal at the end of regulation.

Sunday was the first time Purdy was put in a late-game situation where the 49ers needed to put points on the board, and he answered the call.

Loser, then winner: K Robbie Gould

The only reason Purdy wasn’t credited with a game-winning drive is because Gould missed a 41-yard field goal attempt as regulation expired to send the game to overtime. Purdy went 4-for-6 on the 49ers' final drive in regulation, driving the offense 52 yards on seven plays in just 1:11, but it was all for naught as Gould’s kick from the left hash sailed well to the right.

Gould redeemed himself in overtime, converting the game-winner following Gipson’s interception to extend the 49ers' win streak to nine. Kyle Shanahan wasted little time going back to the kicker as the 49ers' offense ran one play following the interception, a kneel from Purdy to set Gould up between the hashes for his 23-yard game-winning kick.