49ers take down Raiders 37-34; Five burning questions answered.

The San Francisco 49ers took down the Las Vegas Raiders 37-34 in a wild back and forth affair on New Year’s Day at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

In a game that featured several big plays from both teams it was the 49ers defense that made the deciding play. On the opening possession of overtime, Tashaun Gipson intercepted Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham and returned the ball down to the Raiders seven.

After missing a 41-yard field goal as time expired in regulation Robbie Gould connected on a short field goal to win the game.

With the victory and a loss by Minnesota in Green Bay, the 49ers moved into the second seed in the NFC playoff race. A win on Sunday over Arizona along with a Philadelphia loss to the New York Giants would give the 49ers homefield advantage for the playoffs.

Here are the answers to the five questions asked prior to the game.

1.) Will Brock Purdy keep rolling? YES

Brock Purdy continues to answer the bell week in and week out.

Purdy opened the game with touchdown passes on the 49ers first two possessions. The two touchdown passes made Purdy the first 49ers quarterback since Jeff Garcia in 2001 complete the feat five weeks in a row.

Purdy demonstrated the ability to overcome adversity.

Trailing by ten in the second half, the first time he’s been in this situation with the 49ers, Purdy went 15-25 for 246 yards while leading San Francisco to 23 points after the break.

Purdy’s biggest throw of the second half came on one of his shortest. With a Raiders blitzer in his face the rookie quarterback was able to get the ball out to Christian McCaffrey for a 38-yard gain on a screen. San Francisco scored to go ahead 34-27 on the play.

2.) Will the 49ers run game stay hot? YES

Led by 121 yards from Christian McCaffrey the 49ers ran the ball for 170 yards on only 27 attempts. McCaffrey had a rushing touchdown and finished with 193 total yards from scrimmage on 25 touches.

Following Purdy’s big completion to McCaffrey mentioned above Jordan Mason took the ball around the left side to score from 14 yards out. The touchdown was Mason’s first regular season score of his career.

As is usually the cast, the 49ers wide receivers also got into the act. Brandon Aiyuk picked up 16 yards on one carry to set up McCaffrey’s touchdown run. Rookie Danny Gray picked up nine yards on a run around the right side in the second half.

3.) A record setting performance for Nick Bosa? NO

Although Nick Bosa didn’t record a sack, he certainly made his presence felt. The Pro Bowl defensive end recorded five hits on Jarret Stidham, none more important than the one he made on the fourth play of overtime.

On the fourth play of overtime Bosa pushed Raiders left tackle Kolton Miller into the quarterback. Contact from the back of the tackle caused the ball to flutter through the air and Tashaun Gipson made the play to record the interception and set up the game winning field goal.

4.) Will the defense be prepared for Jarrett Stidham? NO

Jarrett Stidham carved up the 49ers defense.

Making his first start as a Raider, Stidham finished 23-34, 365 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Stidham also ran the ball seven time for 34 yards.

Neither of Stidham’s two interceptions were of his own doing, but they were key to the 49ers victory.

On the second play of the fourth quarter 49ers defensive tackle Kerry Hyder Jr. leapt into the air to get his hands on a Stidham pass. Rookie defensive tackle Drake Jackson came down with the ball for his first career interception. San Francisco tied the game at 24 a few plays later.

5.) Can the 49ers stop Josh Jacobs? No, except when it mattered most.

Josh Jacobs gave the 49ers defense everything it could handle. With 69 yards on 17 carries Jacobs became the first back to gain over 59 yards on the 49ers this season.

It was the yard Jacobs couldn’t pick up that he will remember from this game.

Trailing by four late in the second quarter Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels chose to go for it on fourth and inches from the 49ers two.

Arik Armstead beat his man to get into the Raiders backfield and drop Jacobs for no gain.


49ers 23 Raiders 13

This article has 57 Comments

  1. I thought Ryans would blitz Stidham early and try to get him off of his game. Instead he let him stand back there totally unrushed and get a rhythm. The 49ers have to do something about their safety play it was terrible today. We are not going far in the playoffs with the D playing like they did today. I don’t think they are as good as their stats, they haven’t been tested often enough. It why you can’t depend on stats alone when you are evaluating a team. One thing that was answered today was can Purdy come up big in the 2nd half with his team trailing. He can!!!

    1. preaching to the choir there OldCoach- I have asked for Womack in the slot and getting Ward back to FS for a long time….. I am surprised more teams haven’t tried to spread them out yet and challenge them deep more often- provided their line can buy them some time to do so……

      1. I’m don’t like that at all. Ward is playing some of the best ball of his career in the slot. Gipson and Hufanga have been good at all year. It’s too late in the season to make a big move like that.

        1. Over the last half dozen games Hufunga and Gibson have been some of the lowest rated safties in the NFL. Just abysmal. But if J. Ward were to move back to saftey, who plays the slot. Bad enough with Lenoir as one DB, without having 2 terrible DB’s playing if you moved J. Ward. No real good answers.

        2. Gipson and Hufanga have been good all year? What games have you been watching? Sure they make some good flashy plays. But they also blow coverages and get caught flat footed in deep coverage every game!

          1. Hufunga made the pro bowl this year and Gipson was playing so well, they moved J Ward to nickel. They aren’t perfect but who is?

            1. Again, Hufanga makes splash plays. He made many of them early in the season. The Pro Bowl is a popularity contest. Hufanga is a feel good story. Those kind of sentiments tend to cover up (for a while) blown coverage assignments.

          2. Name me better safety duos than Hufanga and Gipson…

            I get what you’re saying but it’s football and guys give up plays. Can’t hold ever team to 13 points every week.

      2. diptown:
        “provided their line can buy them some time to do so.”
        * Why teams haven’t spread them out and challenged them deep? Bosa.
        * I agree with you, the 9er D secondary is suspect and may be a liability in the playoffs.
        * Hufanga: Too many bad decisions that lead to big plays.
        * Not sure Lenoir is the answer at RCB, like to see Womack get some reps against Ariz.

    2. Loss of Moseley (and Verrett) seriously degrades Niners chances of a deep playoff run. Lenoir (and Hufanga) are simply awful & Niners have few (if any) replacement options. Mahomes, Allen, Hurts will torch this secondary.

    3. It was definitely an off day for the Defense. We are really missing the e-man. Lenoir has also declined for whatever reason. Huf has declined or at least not grown in his coverage skills. Gipson is mediocre and aging but he is competent. We have lots of work to do in the offseason.
      Why not replace Lenoir with Ambry Thomas this weekend? We need to know if he has developed. We need to close out the season with a solid performance against a bad team at our home.
      Finally, where on earth would we be without Christan M? He is a total gem and has carried much of our offense since he came on. The best Niner trade in many years.

    4. Jack: Do we have any update on Jimmy G? We need him to back up Purdy in the playoffs. He would be immobile but he still is a credible thrower. Also, the Niners signed a decent veteran as a corner 2 weeks ago called Jenkins I think. Should he be looked at as a replacement for Lenoir in the AZ game?

      1. Tartt knows our system and is ready for a late-season signing to either backup Gipson or Huf or to start. Huf looks very vulnerable these days!

  2. I think players sometime “take a day off” after securing a playoff spot without even knowing it. Playoffs are coming and players want to heal up and not get injured. None of them would admit it but I think that happened a little to the defense today. On the other hand, CMC played like the Niners were still trying to make the playoffs, I think players like him would play the same way if they were winless.

    Just my uninformed opinion after watching pro football for almost 50 years.

  3. Great Niner victory today. An unexpected test. They faced adversity and came through. We won in a shootout, which has been a concern of mine for some time. Brock was 22 of 35 (62.5%). There were several drops on catchable balls, though.

    Give the Raiders a lot of credit. Stidham was amazing, although he had good protection. Perhaps he’s part of the reason they’re showing Carr the door. He’s an UFA next year. I wonder if they have plans to extend him. If not, he could be a good signing for us as a backup. Yes, I know there’s Trey, but just maybe we’ll get an attractive offer for him. If not, I still have high hopes for him.

    1. George
      I agree, Purdy has answered all the “what if,” and “can he do it” questions.
      Purdy will determine how far the 9ers go in the playoffs!

      1. Just another day at the office for Mr irrelevant……..
        * Since taking over for Garoppolo, Purdy has completed 95 of 141 pass attempts (67.4 percent) for 1,130 yards with 10 touchdowns, three interceptions and a passer rating of 106.4.

  4. Jack when you do your film review, can you figure out what it is that makes Brock’s throws bad. It looks like he’s made the same INT 4x in a row in different games. (First 2 didn’t count) Does he try to hard in deep coverage, is he rushed, is he on the wrong foot, throw too hard, wrong coverage or …

    1. In my opinion the INT’s are related to his size. He doesn’t generate enough power/torque through his legs -> hips -> arm to get those throws where they need to be.

      I am sure some of it is also mechanical and could be worked on, but again, his size I think limits what he can do on those Mahomes/Allen off schedule plays. As he continues with an NFL weight lifting program and grows into his 20’s his arm strength will get better.

      1. Yes one side of the INT problem is the amount of power he gets on his throws. But on the flip side, it’s not like he’s soft tossing throws rainbows out there. I think he still has problems accounting for NFL speed by the coverage to catch up to his passes. So his timing is a bit off sometimes because he doesn’t anticipate the coverage closing in on his passes. So it’s also a timing thing IMO.

      2. Purdy is very similar to Mahomes = 6’1″ vs 6’2″, Wilson is 5’11”.
        I do think his body will get stronger but am wondering if his INT are a tactical or physical or mental mistake.
        He does throw in a tight window which shows confidence but also borders foolishness.

        1. Mahomes is much bigger than Brock Purdy. Mahomes is the best or second best arm in the NFL. Purdy probably has the 28th-32nd strongest arm in the NFL.

            1. Purdy is a generous 6’1 and weighed 212 at the combine. He’s got tiny legs.

              Mahomes is 6’2 and weighed 225 at the combine which was 6 years ago. I would think he’s put on 5-10lbs since then.

              Also Purdy has 29inch arms and Mahomes has 33inch arms

              1. Purdy is listed as 220# right now
                Mahomes is listed as 225# right now
                Unless you are a team doctor and have weighed them both personally, DON’T MAKE UP STORIES ABOUT HOW MUCH THEY WEIGH!
                If we follow your assessment then Brock is under weight, has tiny legs and short arms, but he’s the starter regardless of his stunted growth…..
                Can you describe Russel Wilson for us now?

              2. You’re trying to argue that Purdy is basically the same size as Mahomes. No stories are made up, Mahomes is a bigger human than Purdy.

              3. According to you Mahomes currently (that means today) weighs 18-23 lbs more than Purdy.
                Please cite your inside source!
                If you can’t, that means you’re making up stories!

                FYI- Wiki is NOT a reliable source….

    2. Some of it has to do with great plays by the defenders. They get paid also. Do you know of any quarterbacks who don’t throw interceptions? You can avoid interceptions by only throwing short passes to wide open receivers but you can’t win games that way.

  5. As far as the defense is concerned I could see this one coming from a mile away. You have a backup QB and really really good offensive head coach in McDaniels.

    How often have we seen this offensive gameplan? Take advantage of an overly aggressive defense with PA Boot and Screens which opens the run game. That opens everything else up for the offense after that. It’s the McVay special really.

    I am still wondering if this team can get some one besides Bosa to rush the passer.

  6. That’s not how I saw that game going but it was fantastic preparation for the playoffs. Purdy was good enough. Defense has some holes that they now know to fix. Got to play under some pressure.

    And what exactly needs to happen for the 49ers to get a holding call? Raiders should have been called for at least 10 holding penalties. It was egregious. The left side of the O-line was basically tackling guys but no call. Very frustrating to watch.

  7. no pass rush and our d backs are exposed. it happened against KC Washington and now Vegas. Dont know enough to say how to fix it but Ryans and his assistants better figure it out

  8. Ryyans reverted to the shortcoming from the past, his inability to make in—game adjustments. Early in the game it was clear his defensive scheme was failing, as Raiders receivers were uncovered. Yet Ryans failed to change things and the same weakness continued throughout the game. So, no pregame planning and no in-game adjustments, and the Niner defense was poor. Teams that have been thinking about Ryans as a head coach may well be rethinking that option.

    1. No one is rethinking their option on Ryan. He did make halftime adjustments that were pretty successful but maybe you fell asleep.

  9. Here’s what I saw. Defensively, I primarily saw a schematic problem. Weeks ago I said that a team that runs straight at the 49ers would cause them problems. But everyone kept saying that the 49ers have the best run defense…yada, yada, yada…and that’s true. But schematically the 49ers run a wide formation that often leaves wide gaps in the middle. The DEs take wide arcs to the QB and also play contain/force. This works well against the many teams that like to run wide (all those toss sweeps, jet sweeps, end arounds, smoke routes, screens..etc…the kind of thing the Niners run that the rest of league has adopted to varying degrees). But straight up Power Running…from D gap to D gap….that’s what I suspected would give the 49er’s problems unless they made adjustments. And what did we see? Josh Jacobs running in between the tackles either getting stuffed because of penetration on about 1/3 of the runs and getting past the D-line and carrying the linebackers and safeties for 5+ yard gains on the other 2/3s of the runs.

    So of course the passing game was built off that run game….pretty much football 101 in general offensive philosophy. Play action often froze the pass rush just a enough…as wells as froze or confused coverage just enough for Stidham to get rid of the ball in time and for receivers to get open. The drop back passing game was pretty simple; it was mostly vertical; short vertical and intermediate vertical. 3-5 step drop timed passes (from the shotgun) that hit the seems or found broken coverage (a tactical and personnel problem). The 49ers’ safeties and linebackers are great at covering horizontal routes. They’re great at fast flow in run fits. But the DBs weren’t playing sticky coverage and the backers were having to run down hill and getting carried on their tackles (because they’re not thumpers).

    I dunno…I almost think Ryans should have dusted off Saleh’s 4-3 Under alignment and scheme. It’s better suited to defend inside runs. I also would have liked to have seen the DB’s in some situations play sticker coverage and less off zone/pattern match coverage. This was especially the case when they were in the red zone….I have no idea why the DBs were playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage in the red zone.

    1. Josh Jacobs leads the league in rushing and yet on Sunday he only rushed for 69 yards. Just barely over 4 YPC. What game were you watching?

      1. I was watching him get 5+ yards on 1/2-2/3s of his runs. So if he’s getting stuffed on 1/3 of his runs for zero to no gain then that’s going to wreck his average. But the successful runs keep the downs manageable and allow for play action. Some of us watch the game. Others watch stats. You should learn the difference.

          1. Please…I have more football acumen than you or most other silly fans. A least I know “Jack Hammer” I has football knowledge and experience (I actually played football with him many decades ago).

            I dare you to show me a post of yours that demonstrates you have any semblance of football knowledge.

            Prove it with some actual football knowledge or pipe down and learn something.

            1. You’re trying to say the #1 run defense is severely flawed. It’s not a good argument.

              1. Again, the devil is in the details. I said there are flaws in the scheme at stopping a power inside run game.

                I never said “severely flawed”. I said specifically vulnerable. Silly fans are fixated on the whole #1 run defense thing. Oooh…a magical ranking number. Well, if most teams are trying to run wide or wide zone (as it seems that 3/4 of the league are running it these days) that a penetrating run defense is the perfect run defense. Penetration blows up zone run blocking schemes. So many teams aren’t going to be successful against the 49ers run defense. But penetration can be be a problem when the opponent runs straight at you in a gap blocking scheme and there are big wide gaps from the defensive alignment. The 49er’s front runs a containment based run fit with defensive linemen attacking the outside of the gaps to funnel ball carries back inside…with boxed Ends playing force/containment. It requires backers and safeties to fill inside gaps. That’s not a good thing if you’ve got backers that are used to flowing fast (sideline to sideline) and not down hill against blockers and trying to tackle a physical back like.

                So yeah, the 49er’s run defense is awesome against what it’s designed to stop; outside runs and screen passes (which is most of the league). But adjustments need to be made if the opponent intends to run it straight down their throats. More disciplined gap control. Squeezing gaps (backside defensive linemen drive the blocker into the adjacent gap while keeping their arm free to control their gap. adjacent gap goes “cloudy”…is squeezed so that backers can flow over to the next adjacent open gap or straight to the ball)….etc… are probably needed rather than straight up penetration (because again, penetration only works against gap blocking if the penetration happens at the specific playside gap….otherwise it just leaves wide open gaps). This is how the old Under front worked (the one Saleh started with). The Under Front is better designed to take on those inside runs because it only has one “bubble”/uncovered o-lineman).

                Again, the opposing rusher doesn’t have to rack up big runs and lots of yards. It just has to show that it’s effective enough to get enough yards to keep the chains moving, set up manageable following downs and open up the passing game.

            2. Actual football knowledge, Niners held the #1 rusher to much lower totals despite your nonsense claim that the run defense is flawed. Claiming your great knowledge is pretty much proof, you know nothing which is obvious from your post.

          2. Actual football knowledge, Niners held the #1 rusher to much lower totals despite your nonsense claim that the run defense is flawed. Claiming your great knowledge is pretty much proof, you know nothing which is obvious from your post.

            That’s not football knowledge. That’s simpleton stats. And your interpretation is flawed because it’s simplistic. I’m still waiting for something from that is actually substantial that you observed about the play of the actual game. I’m undeniably your superior unless you can post anything that proves otherwise.

    2. allforfunnplay
      * Lets give a little more credit to Raider RB Josh Jacobs. He’s one of PFF highest graded RB’s.
      * Also, the Raiders O-Line is one of the better run-blocking group in the NFL.
      * With more tape on Stidham, I suspected you’d see Ryans make some defensive adjustments

      1. * Lets give a little more credit to Raider RB Josh Jacobs. He’s one of PFF highest graded RB’s

        Absolutely. Jacobs turned 3 yard gains into 6 yard gains. That’s a big difference in how manageable the next down is for the offense.

        * With more tape on Stidham, I suspected you’d see Ryans make some defensive adjustments

        I didn’t see anything super special about Stidham in terms of skill and decision making. He mostly made the throws in plays called. I saw a guy that made the right decisions and was confident with his reads and throws (the guy really stood well in the pocket and took hits while completing passes). I think the narrative on Stidham that might be true is that he had 3 years of McDaniel’s offense…so he knows it pretty well…..probably better than Carr. Stidham executed the offense very well but I don’t see anything to really design around or against Stidham….I’m still designing against Adams and the scheme.

        1. allforfunnplay
          “I didn’t see anything super special about Stidham in terms of skill and decision making.”
          * Stidham had 365 passing yards, 34 rushing yards and three TD’s. The most passing yards for a QB in their first start in franchise history.
          * I expected Ryan and the D to blitz more? Not sure why he didn’t?
          Adams finished with 7 receptions for 153 receiving yards and two TD’s against the 9er DB’s
          * I expected the 9er DB’s to stop playing 10 -12 yards off the Raider receivers and try bracketing
          Adams? Too many time no 9er DB defending him, leaving him wide open to catch and run. (TD’s).
          * The good news: 9ers have had their bad game, Purdy and CMC snatched a win from the jaws of defeat!

          1. * Stidham had 365 passing yards, 34 rushing yards and three TD’s. The most passing yards for a QB in their first start in franchise history.

            Yes, but WHY????? Fans often sight simple stats as the reason behind that happened in a game. Stats are the end result not the reason. As I said, from my brief watching of the game; it appeared that most of the passing plays by Stidham were the result of Stidham simply executing the game plan and Adams making plays. Stidham had confidence in the pocket, made the correct reads….he took hits and scrambled in obvious situations. But again to me it was SCHEME and the play of Adams (and Waller on a few plays) that made the passing game successful. If you’re designing a defense;….obviously you rush the passer….but you focus on stopping Adams and Waller.

            If you’re playing the Vikings, Kirk Cousins is a good system QB. But you focus on stopping Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook (and to a lesser degree Thielen to a lesser degree) and of course the wide zone scheme.

            * I expected Ryan and the D to blitz more? Not sure why he didn’t?
            Blitzing often opens up bigger run lanes. The Raiders are a run heavy team. Also many of their passes were quick passes and play action which can expose holes in the coverage when blitzes are called against quick passes.

            * I expected the 9er DB’s to stop playing 10 -12 yards off the Raider receivers and try bracketing
            Adams? Too many time no 9er DB defending him, leaving him wide open to catch and run. (TD’s).

            This, I don’t know. I suspect that there were a lot of blown coverages and flat footed recognition by the Safeties.

            * The good news: 9ers have had their bad game, Purdy and CMC snatched a win from the jaws of defeat!

            I’m happy that Brunskill was able to fill in fairly seamlessly for Banks. Holding on to Brunskill was a good depth move. Purdy continues to show confidence and I think it’s influenced Shanahan’s playcalling….as Shanhan led with the pass far more than in games earlier in the season.

            1. allforfunnplay
              “yes but WHY????? Yes, WHY indeed…..Against the best defense in the NFL and Stidham had 365 passing yards, 34 rushing yards and three TD’s. The most passing yards for a QB in their first start in franchise history, does NOT sound like Stidham simply executing the game plan and Adams mading plays. If that’s all that’s required the NFL teams would replace the QB with jug machines, saving millions.
              I agree, the Vikings Kirk Cousins is a good system QB! And he got taken to the woodshed by GB.
              That’s what you get with a system QB.

              “Blitzing often opens up bigger run lanes.” True, but the 9ers are said to have the best LB’s in the
              NFL and are the best at taking away the short pass and middle of the field…..

              “This, I don’t know. I suspect that there were a lot of blown coverages and flat footed recognition by the Safeties.”
              Actually, LV used 6 O-Lineman, Hufunga got caught caught looking the backfield thinking it was a run, blew his coverage and got beat for a TD. And he’s done that the past several games because
              he’s trying to anticipate the play.

              IMO, the 9ers come out flat, especially the first half, and the Raiders played their SB against the 9ers. Fortunately, the 9ers had their bad game now and not the playoffs! Now if we could take the first seed from the Eagles and have home field advantage thru the playoffs…………

  10. My top five observations;
    1. won loss record , 12-4.
    2. Secound seed in the plafoffs as of now.
    3. Top 5 defence in the NFL.
    4. Longest current win streak in the NFL, 9 games.
    5. Hottest team in the NFL
    Go 9ers.

  11. The 49er O and Purdy’s performance were fine yesterday. The reason this game was so close was the D.
    #5 reason the D struggled lack of pass rush in the 1st half.
    #4 reason the D struggled big penalties at key times.
    #3 reason the D struggled Davante Adams is arguably the best WR in football. He made incredible catches yesterday that had nothing to do with poor coverage.
    #2 reason the D struggled Stidhams scrambling the D line left huge gaps when rushing. Jacobs only gained 69 yards he didn’t kill the 9ers by any measure.
    #1 reason the D struggled our safeties. They bit on fakes but mostly it is lack of speed.
    Ryans made some good half time adjustments (like he has done all year) and the D wasn’t nearly as bad in the 2nd half. That gives me some hope for the D come the playoffs.

  12. The teams that worry me the most going into the playoffs in no particular order: KC, Buff, Phil, Dall, GB. Notice one thing about this list, the 49ers only played one of these teams in the regular season and lost badly in that game. I think that says a lot about the strength of the 49ers schedule this year.

  13. 6). The secondary is liability: YES
    Lenoir got abused by good receivers, TEs weekly. Hufanga got beat for TD once a week. Confusion and blow coverage are seen often.

    7) Impose curfew for NFL officials in Vegas: YES
    Clay Martin and his refs must have been partied out the night before in Sin city . They ruled the 45yards to Davante Adams a catch when even kids saw the ball touched the ground.

  14. It looked to me that the 49ers were playing with less intensity than normal along with playing safe. At no time during the game did I sense that the raiders were going to win the game.

    That said, there were some things that stood out to give me pause. Hufanga’s aggressive play puts him in unfavorable positions at time’s. And if speed TE’ and WR’ get past him it will possibly create some issues.
    But on the other hand, Talan can also be a disruptive force that create turnovers.

    With Hufanga, it’s a give and take proposition. And imho, I can live with that until he improves with more experience.
    Can Hufanga be a liability in the playoffs? Maybe.
    Can he make a big play in the playoffs like he did against the Packers last year? Yes.

  15. Purdy is slowly making me a believer, but I thought that he failed to see some wide-open WRs, especially Danny Gray in the back corner of the end zone. The lack of arm strength was more evident in this game than the previous games.
    Also, not sure why Shanahan had a vanilla QB game plan that didn’t allow Purdy to throw deep passes.

    But Purdy did bring the team back for the win on a day when he wasn’t at his best, and I was impressed by that.

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