How 49ers can beat Raiders in ugly Battle of Bay

CORRECTS PLAYER TO SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS QUARTERBACK C.J. BEATHARD, INSTEAD OF ARIZONA CARDINALS QUARTERBACK JOSH ROSEN – San Francisco 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard (3) chases down a bad snap against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. The Cardinals won 18-15. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

It’s the dueling chokers.

The 49ers and the Raiders. They will face off Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium to determine which team will choke the least.

Both teams typically play bravely for three quarters, then lose heart. Each has blown three fourth-quarter leads already this season. The Raiders blew a seven-point fourth-quarter lead to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, while the 49ers blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead to the Arizona Cardinals.

Even if the 49ers have a 10-point lead late Thursday night, they should feel nervous, because they’re chokers. If they trail by 10 points late in the game, they should feel optimistic, because the Raiders are chokers, too.

The team less mentally fragile will win.

Here’s how the 49ers can increase their odds of victory.

This article has 160 Comments

  1. 49ers should find a lot of success on the ground. Raiders rank in the same area as the Lions and Chiefs in yards per attempt allowed.

      1. Brieda is relatively healthy I hear. I expect Niners run more to the left with Tomlinson trying to overpower the rookie Hall who has only 3 tackles in 161 snaps….
        The other key for the Niners to throw to Kittle early and often… Raiders have lousy LBs, and Joseph is too short to cover Kittle.

  2. We’ve got one healthy back on the roster, and Magnum PI at center. You don’t think the Raiders will stack the box, and make our injured backup quarterback beat them?

    1. I won’t be shocked to see a few RPOs with Mullen. (I mean Run Pass Option, not Run Punt Option!)….. Kyle hasn’t those a whole lot.

  3. Niners should stop hiking the ball over the QB’s head. If Richberg is out, they should move Person to center, where he has played before. Then they should insert Garnett at RG, where he has done well in the run game.
    They should take advantage of the defense by running counters and misdirections.
    They should shape the Raiders by spreading them out, making them use the nickle, then gashing them up the middle against the lighter defense. I hope Morris gains 100 yards, and hope Juice catches 6 passes.
    Mullens should use fly sweeps and bubble screens to negate any blitzes, and roll away from the blitz.

    1. I like the idea of moving Bones Buckner to DE, and let Thomas play inside.
      Seeing Carr crushed would help win the game.

  4. I like your game plan Grant and I will take it a little farther. Excluding the first point, the team should have been doing all of these things the second they list JG for the season. Next, field as healthy as a starting lineup as possible. That means along with Tartt and Foster and Exum, that Sherman, Garson, Richburg, Breida and maybe Staley need to sit. I think I might give Magnuson another shot at center and give Garnett a start at RG. This line needs a little bit of nasty and Person could back up the middle 3 spots. And Breida, bless his stubborn game day heart, needs to sit out a game. When was the last time he played a full game? And let’s see if Reed can play corner. He was damn good in college.
    Throughout this year, EVERY position group has suffered loss of starters and backups. There is no continuity to build on because we have gone through so many line up changes. Depth is not really the issue like some might suggest. No team in any sport can play this many injured players, back up players and reserves at one time and expect to wet.

  5. So I see now that this is a “must win” game coming up for the 49ers according to Lowder (I seem to recall Grant saying that about the last game), while Killion is questioning Shanahan’s system and the impact it has had on finding players that fit, especially at QB (again, something Grant has touched on).

      1. Ask Rob.

        Tbh the only reason this can be seen as “must win” is from the point of view of avoiding complete embarrassment. Losing to the Cards and Raiders in subsequent weeks would be a very sad indictment of where the team is at indeed. Though I am sure a lot of 49ers fans would still find reason to excuse it.

        I do find it interesting though that we are starting to see a couple of the other local media that follow the 49ers now dropping articles that suggest “the plan” isn’t going so well. The shine of ShanaLynch may be starting to wane.

        1. “Ask Rob.”

          Was wondering what he meant by that. KS isn’t getting fired this year. As you said, a lot of fans would excuse it, so no revolt. This is in no way a must win.

          1. There is “must win” or you get fired, or “must win” or you lose the fans, or “must win” or you lose media respect, or “must win” or you lose the playoffs, or “must win” or you lose control of the season. So there are variegated “must win” definitions and the effort to make this about Shanahan’s job status is silly. No one has called for his head.

            1. “must win” or you get fired,” Not happening.
              “must win” or you lose the fans” Not happening.
              “must win” or you lose media respect” Who cares? And it already happened with the losses to Az.
              “must win” or you lose the playoff” That ship has sailed long ago.
              “must win” or you lose control of the season” The season ended in KC. Maybe you mean KS would lose control? The team has never quit on him like they quit on Chip.

              1. 80, you seem to take the explanation and try to apply it literally. I was giving you several options. The writer, as Scooter pointed out is the one who can give a better explanation of what “must win” means but, as you highlighted and I have previously pointed out KSL (Kyle ShanaLynch) has had the honeymoon period end.

                I also stated:

                “No one has called for his head.”

                Regarding Shanahan.

                Shanahan, with few wins needs to have some success soon. If he can’t win at home vs. Arizona nor Oakland then things are very rotten in Denmark!

              2. I get it, it’s a must win to that particular writer and that writer will wonder if it was a bad hire or if he should be fired should they lose. I don’t think KS cares what he thinks. More importantly, I don’t think Jed cares what he thinks.

      1. Only person I see maybe losing their job at the end of the Season is Saleh.
        Everyone else is probably safe. I’m convinced we need an old school DC.

      2. Won’t happen though. Even if they lose out I don’t see Shanahan being sacked. The pressure will be on big time next season though.

              1. Yes, win some games. Continuing to lose close games is no improvement on where they were last season.

  6. 87 Keys To Victory

    – No matter how much jolly fun it is, Beathard should stop banging his throwing hand on defensive player’s helmets. Sooner or later he’s going to injury it.

    – The 49ers mysteriously stop running late in the game. Except its no mystery. Breida has sore parts that wear out. Use the spare Breida for the 4th quarter. Failing that, another running back.

    – Avoid watching the movie Melancholia before kick off.

    – The defense should play with ferocious intensity, but maintain placid Buddha like expressions the entire game. That will totally mess with their heads.

    There. I think that’s about 87 victory keys to winning the Coin Flip 2.0 Bowl. But Las Vegas shouldn’t worry too much. The 49ers are a no-tank franchise. They will win just enough games late in the season to pick behind the Rayduz and about six other teams, and totally miss out on a top edge rusher. And that’s OK. Tanking is boring.

  7. This Thursday Night Football game is a good example why the NFL should hire some one smart enough to schedule 2 games in a 3 week period. Exum became concussed, and it would be criminally negligent to play him with only 3 days of rest.
    If they scheduled 2 games within 3 weeks, and have them play Thursday, there could be 10 day periods between games. Somehow, the NFL is clueless about how to devise a strategy that allows for 10 day rest periods, or they do not care about CTE.
    They should be creative with the Bye week for teams that fly to England to play games. Monday Night Football could benefit from scheduling the bye after teams play on MNF.
    In the NFL, playing after only 3 days rest, and expecting quality football, is a cruel joke, especially for the players.

    1. Maybe I am missing something but I never understood why the league couldn’t just wait until the buy weeks to start scheduling their tThursday night games.
      They could schedule two teams coming off a buy week, which would give ample rest leading up to the game and recovery time afterwards. I also think they would have a better product on the field, as the players would be fresh and the coaches would have had enough time to game plan properly.

  8. The real laugher in this whole comedy is Lynch saying we need to draft our way out of this situation. Given his less than stellar first 2 drafts he must be targeting 2028 for a rebound!

      1. fat slob – oh boy calling it what it is. The people on the left are going to be highly upset with you. They would prefer for you to use weight challenged, fat slob works for me :)

  9. I hate to say it but I have the raiders winning this game.
    – The raiders Oline weakness is on the edge and the niners dont have an edge rusher.
    – The raiders have a much better qb.
    – The 49ers secondary is in complete shambles at with the injuries on short week.
    – The Raiders terrible run defense may look good due to the fact that they can ignore the pass and stack the box vs the 49ers 3rd string running back.

    1. I wish to disagree. Losing Dominique Rogers Cromartie to retirement means that the Raider players are giving up.
      They have nothing to play for, even pride.

      1. Not as embarrassing as 1-of-5 passing for 4 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions for a passer rating of 39.6, along with being sacked for 25 yards, leaving the Niners with negative-21 net passing yards.

  10. This game will be decided by QBs. Raiders have Carr and 49ers have Mullens
    I predict the raiders win by 10 (unless Mullens shocks everyone by having a “Mahomes moment”)

    1. Mullens… If he starts tonight, he’ll go 27 for 30, 417 yards and 5 TDs, with 88 yards rushing and 2 rushing TDs. The three incompletions will be dropped passes.

  11. Maybe there’ll be an earthquake later this afternoon–sufficiently strong to cancel the game. Something like a 6.6 on the Richter scale. Levi’s Stadium will suffer moderate damage in the south endzone, causing it to be shut down for a year long repair/renovation period. Next year the 9ers will have to split home games between Stanford Stadium and the Coliseum across the bay.

    1. Like the Giants-A’s World Series game interruption by Loma Prieta ’89? Two games at the opposite ends of the quality spectrum…..
      I’m looking for a line on whether there will be more field goals or arrests this evening…

  12. IMO Saying any athlete doesn’t have heart is probably the worst thing you can say about them. You can say they get nervous and choke. You can say they don’t know how to close out games. But when it comes to challenging someone’s heart you are saying they don’t have the courage to continue competing at the end of games. You are basically calling 49er players cowards. I’d be interested in you quoting that claim to any NFL player and see what reaction you get. I’m willing to bet that interview might get physical.

        1. You guys may be offended by the expression, but its because you are misunderstanding what the expression means. Has nothing to do with courage. Its about losing hope/ belief, as Grant said.

          1. Takes more than that to offend me. My point had to do with an expression that has more than one meaning. When you use that type of expression, it might behoove the user to clarify which one….

            1. It only has one meaning. You are mixing up expressions.

              Having no heart has a couple of meanings (lacks courage or lacks empathy/ feelings).

              1. Scooter (and Grant) is correct losing heart is to become discouraged. That’s here and down under…

                Having no heart can mean multiple things however, such as I have no heart for watching football, or he has no heart (cares for only himself), he doesn’t have his heart in the game (Joe Williams), he lacks heart (bravery or caring) etc.

  13. I remember when that happened. Jim Rome deserved to get his ass kicked. Disrespecting another man just to boost your profile is BS. If you’re going to play that way you really should be prepared to suffer the consequences. I don’t really think that’s what Grant is doing here. He’s not trying to provoke a reaction but he is writing what I consider to be one of the most derogatory things you can say about any athlete.

    1. Yep, calling a man a girl to his face is inviting confrontation, especially after you’ve been warned not to do it a second time.

  14. OT, but topical due to the playoff rankings in college.
    I wish the college football leaders could be smart enough to develop a better national championship system.
    They are missing out on billions of possible revenue, by limiting it to only 4 teams.
    The playoffs should include the 11 major conferences. American Athletic, ACC, Big 10, Big 12, Conference USA, FBS Independents, Mid- American, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC and Sun Belt.
    Add 5 additional top ranked schools, and there would be a pool of 16 teams.
    They should designate 8 Bowl games as the first round. That would exponentially increase the interest and attendance at those Bowl games. They could be spread out with 2 before New Years, 4 New Years games, and 2 after New Years. From those 8 games, there would be 8 teams left. The next round of 4 games could be played from Tuesday through Friday, so the NFL playoffs are not impacted. There would be 2 more after that, and the College Championship Game could be played on the week before the Super Bowl.
    Right now, there are many deserving teams who are getting squeezed out of the playoffs. This way, the conference winners would be rewarded, with 5 additional teams who also deserve consideration.
    The rankings should also take into consideration the strength of schedule. If a team played others with an overall 60 win, 40 loss schedule, the total points should be multiplied by 6/4. If the other teams have an overall 30 win and 70 loss schedule, the total points should be multiplied by 3/7. This way, Alabama will be penalized for playing a bunch of patsies, while Notre Dame will be rewarded by playing several top 25 teams.
    By expanding the playoff format, the college teams could garner billions in additional revenue. Various Bowls could bid for the rights to host a playoff game. The television revenues would be a boon to the whole system.
    They should be greedy enough to tap into that cash cow. Now, if only they are smart enough to think of ways to accomplish that goal.

    1. Geepers Sebbie… I don’t think ANYONE affiliated with any level of college football has come anywhere close to your thinking on this matter. Since it’s highly unlikely that crowd is reading your posts, you should reach out to college football leadership–including related media–and inform them. Wow! You are sooooo smart!

        1. Make ’em care Sebbie. You excel at getting people to do the right thing.

          Seriously, you should insert yourself in the Ted Talk circuit. You’d be a world-changer. If Ted won’t take you, form Seb Talk. Go bold.

    2. Major bowls include- Rose, Orange, Sugar, Cotton, Peach, Fiesta.
      Bids for inclusion should target the Sun, Gator, Citrus, Holiday, Liberty, Outback, Hawaii, Alamo and Independance Bowls.

    3. Sebnynah – talk about destroying any semblance of what is left of the perception of a student-athlete. teams going all the way could have 18-22 year-olds playing 18 games. their Thanksgiving already is destroyed and many also miss out on Christmas and now you have them playing into the middle of January. they are not professionals; however, your concept is turning them into money minting machines. sorry, but this defeats so many of what once were the qualities of college football and athletics for teenagers and young adults. also, consider the additional risk of injuries. these KIDS’ bodies are not ready for that type of punishment. as it is, look at how many NFL players cannot make it through OTAs, mini-camps or even the pre-season games and these guys actually train year-round, and you want the 18-22 year-olds to have a more rigorous season than the pros???????


      1. Mike, they already play all those bowl games. This format would just make them more important.
        There would be 4 quarterfinal games, then 2 semifinal games. With the finals, that would add a whopping 7 games to the season. Right now, they add 3 games.
        Oh please, they are already shamefully exploiting student athletes, making millions and giving back nothing.

  15. The 2005 team, coming off a 2 win season and having a new head coach managed to win 4 games with 3 different QB’s.

    Shanahan is a better HC and talent evaluator than Mike Nolan was right?

    1. You keep bringing up these old teams and trying to compare… But u always fail to mention, none of them had to completely gut a roster and start fresh. The best player on all those teams are better than the best player on this team. Now if I’m saying this in another year and a half, then you will have a point..

        1. That’s the disconnect for some. They argue the other team was so god awful that they had to get rid of them. So the new players are better but they don’t play better. The excuse…they got rid of players and had to gut the team and this one isn’t ready for prime time. 🤦‍♂️

          And if you call them on it, injuries are invoked (while true isn’t the whole story) and wait till next year. Then we will get them.

  16. One team will emerge victorious and avoid humiliation in front of a national television audience.
    The other team will most likely cement the #1 overall draft pick with some room to maneuver on draft day.

    1. He’s a better athlete than CJB so hopefully he can escape the pressure.

      Would it not be nice for the heavens to open up and provide us with a little luck and make Mullins a very capable QB the rest of the way? Can we finally catch a break or lightning in a bottle and have a miracle bestowed upon this team tonight?

      Come on man! We need this win!

    1. McVay’s 11 personnel with Gurley makes it go, imho.
      Shanny got a little innovative himself in Atlanta with his 13 personnel.

        1. McVay is underneath Seattle. He has a quarterback that commands respect through the air, and the league MVP at running back in Todd Gurley.

  17. How many Raider fans does it take to change a lightbulb?

    None, they all just look at the old one and talk about how great it was!


  18. So I completely changed my mind. The niners will win, still a low scoring game because they will run the heck out of the ball, and kick alot of field goals to mask Mullens. But then I remembered, Kyle doesn’t mask anyone, he’s going to make Nick throw. Niners win because of the unknown of mullens, and John gruden wanting the best draft pick he can get

  19. Word is, if the game is too big of a dud, the NFL Channel, in celebration of its 40 year anniversary
    ( Raiders vs Jets, November 17, 1968), will cut in with the movie “Heidi”.

  20. C.J. Beathard is so banged up that they’d rather start “Nick Mullens” yet they still have him a play away as the lone back-up instead of a perfectly healthy Tom Savage. 🤔

    ~ Ross Tucker (Twitter)

      1. Starting an Irish jobs program? Lynch, Shanahan, Mullins. Ryan doing play by play. Team runs Walsh offense. Had coaches Nolan, Nolan and Kelly. Run draft in the McVay war room.

        It’s a Keltic conspiracy.

  21. Recall the Raider tag lines: 1) Pride and Poise, 2) Commitment to Excellence.

    What are the enduring 9er taglines?

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