Raiders return home to face tough Vikings team

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

photo credit ESPN Raiders Aldon Smith puts the sack on Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger

OAKLAND — Sunday’s match up at O.co Coliseum between the Vikings and Oakland will showcase two of the league’s best young quarterbacks in Minnesota’s Teddy Bridgewater and Oakland’s Derek Carr.

Both quarterbacks were drafted in 2014 to turn around struggling franchises with Minnesota selecting Bridgewater with the 32nd overall pick in the first round, and Oakland drafting Carr with the 36th overall pick in the second round.

Oakland (4-4), who has already surpassed its 2014 win total after finishing 3-13, is in the thick of the AFC playoff race thanks to their second-year signal caller. Carr has thrown 19 touchdowns to just four interceptions, including tossing four touchdowns in each of his past two games.

In Oakland’s 38-35 heartbreaking loss in Pittsburgh last week, Carr completed 24-of-44 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns and an interception. Carr is on pace for just Oakland’s third 4,000-yard passing season in franchise history. Raiders’ passing attack anchored by the wide receiver duo of Michael Crabtree (47 receptions, 591 yards, 5 TDs), and rookie Amari Cooper (45 receptions, 653 yards, 4 TDs) and both are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons.

Crabtree recorded his second straight game with seven catches and 100-plus receiving yards in the loss against the Steelers. The Silver and Black could have their work cut out for them when putting the in the air as Minnesota sports the NFL’s sixth-ranked passing defense, yielding just 220.6 yards a game.

Running back Latavius Murray practiced Thursday since suffering a concussion in Pittsburgh. Murray is seventh in the league in rushing with 630 yards with three touchdowns on 132 carries.

Bridgewater, who also suffered a concussion of his own in Minnesota’s 21-18 victory in overtime against the visiting St. Louis Rams last Sunday. Bridgewater left the game early in the fourth quarter and was replaced by journeyman quarterback Shaun Hill after taking a vicious hit from Rams’ cornerback Lamarcus Joyner.

On the season, Bridgewater has played steady, throwing six touchdowns and six interceptions, but has steered Minnesota to a 6-2 record tied for first place in the NFC North with the Green Bay Packers in his second season from Louisville.

Minnesota will host Green Bay next week.

But it was running back Adrian Peterson that was the standout performer in the game.

The NFL’s leading rusher finished with 125 yards on the ground, 21 of which came in overtime that would set up kicker Blair Walsh for the game-winning field goal.

The Raiders were torched defensively in Pittsburgh, allowing 597 total yards to the Steelers, with Antonio Brown recording 284 yards receiving on a franchise-record 17 catches. Safety Nate Allen, who has been sidelined with a knee injury since the home opener, is expected to be back and help a struggling secondary that sports future Hall-of-Famer in Charles Woodson.

Woodson leads the NFL with five interceptions in his 18th season.

Minnesota is currently riding a four-game winning streak, in large part to a defense that has yielded just 306.8 yards total per game and holding the opposition to 18 percent (9-for-50) on third down conversions.

Oakland is 5-1 all time at O.co Coliseum against Minnesota, and have won five of their last seven at home dating back to last season.

This will be the second trip to the Bay Area for Minnesota this season. The Vikings lost to the San Francisco 49ers 20-3 in Week 1 at Levi’s Stadium behind a season-low 248 total yards.

Peterson finished with just 31 rushing yards on 10 carries against a 49ers team that historically holds Peterson in check, yielding just 3.0 yards per carry to Peterson, his lowest against any team for his career.

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: Gabbert, Tomsula, & 49ers take bye in preparation for Seattle trip

photo credit bleacherreport.com 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert

On the 49ers podcast the 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was all the rage last week beating the Atlanta Falcons and the 49ers winning by a field goal. Gabbert kept the 49ers in check and the defense didn’t allow the Falcons to score a touchdown that would have surpassed the 49ers lead.

The 49ers have a bye this week as they prepare for the Seattle Seahawks. Gabbert who was named the starting quarterback for the game in Seattle on Sunday 22nd. The team looked like they put out a lot harder in the game versus Atlanta than some of their previous games. The Falcons at one time had a perfect record and are the one of the top teams in the NFL. The win over the Falcons last week could be a turn around for the suffering 49ers.

David explains more on the 49ers listen to the podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com below

Oakland Raiders podcast with Jeremy Kahn: Raiders look 90 % certain to move to LA with Disney backer and 20 NFL owners in favor

by Jeremy Kahn

photo credit bayareanewsgroup.com Raider fans protest LA move at Paramount theatre on Oct 29th

ALAMEDA–The Oakland Raiders have hired Disney CEO Bob Iger in their efforts to move the team to Los Angeles and the reality of such a move that looks close to 90% real. Iger has politcal influences in the Southland because of his Disneyland and California Disney Park connections also with ESPN and the NFL which makes for a strong representation for assisting the Raiders move.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff who went to meet with NFL officials this past week to try and convince them that Oakland is the best and only viable place for the team, that the Raiders can lure fans from San Francisco who no longer has a team playing in their city limits because the BART train comes right to the Coliseum.

Without a new stadium under construction in Oakland and no money to make it a reality and nowhere close Raiders owner Mark Davis has decided to move onto getting the NFL’s approval to move the team to the Southland in what could be the Raiders swan song season in of their second and very last tenure at the Oakland Coliseum.

The Raiders first left Oakland in 1983 and returned in 1995 but poor attendance and dysfunction by the City of Oakland and the Coliseum Joint Powers Authority on constructing a new Raiders stadium has put the idea of keeping the Raiders in Oakland out to pasture. It will be a very sad day in Oakland sports history when the Raiders back up the truck and leave town. The  Raiders could leave as soon as the end of this season and start play in the Rose Bowl or Coliseum in Los Angeles.

Listen to Jeremy’s podcast below and each week on the Oakland Raiders at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

NFL podcast with Tony Renteria: Cowboys Romo back with hope ending loss streak; ex-49ers head coach needs to focus in his own job; and more NFL news

by Tony Renteria

photo credit foxnews.com Tony Romo Dallas Cowboys

On the podcast we talk about the return of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo who was out during much of the Cowboys six game losing streak. The Cowboys are welcoming him back after he returns this weekend following an injury. Also former San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh says 49er coaches need to train their quarterbacks to throw to open receivers. Harbaugh needs to tend to his own sheep in Michigan.

Also the Raiders loss in Pittsburgh was caused by four fumbles and the ball being coughed up that resulted in the game being tied twice and the Raiders narrowly losing on Sunday 38-35. Robert Irsay the Indianapolis Colts owner purchased a drum head used by the Beatles during the Ed Sullivan show in 1964 for $2.125 million. Irsay in the off season just paid slightly more for the Colts Todd Herremans.

That and more with Tony on the NFL podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Categories NFL

Who was that? No-name 49ers come up big in 17-16 upset of the Falcons

Celek

By Morris Phillips

The 49ers’ game plan for beating the six-win Falcons was probably more nuanced, but the short version appeared to go something like this:

No. 47, you shut down Pro Bowl-caliber receiver Julio Jones and No. 24 you outdo NFL rushing leader, Devonta Freeman.  And by the way, No. 24, you’re our new starting running back.

Talk about an effective plan: the 49ers came up with the 17-16 victory, their first over a team with a winning record, after losing six of their last seven games.

Shaun Draughn, No. 24, was sitting on the couch with his wife, one-year old son and four-year old daughter when he received a phone call from the 49ers that prompted him to catch the first thing smoking to the Bay Area.  Seven days later, Draughn, who was released by Cleveland after spending the first six games of this season with the Browns, had an inkling that he was about to get good news, but he sure didn’t know how or when he would get that news.

So how did the 27-year old Draughn find out he was starting in place of the injured Carlos Hyde?

“When Tom (Rathman) walked up to me on the sideline before the game and said I was starting,” Draughn said.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and the 2-6 49ers certainly qualified heading into their home game with the Falcons.  The team was riddled with injuries, especially in their offensive backfield and secondary, and they had effectively parted ways with their “franchise” quarterback in Colin Kaepernick by announcing that he would be benched in favor of Blaine Gabbert.

So in stepped Draughn, a free agent who, according to him, has been cut by eight different teams in his brief, nomadic NFL career.  Marcus Cromartie, No. 47, was briefly a member of the San Francisco practice squad before he was promoted to the game-day roster this week.  Cromartie’s dramatic ascension came so fast that his name doesn’t even appear on the team’s roster on the gameday flipcard.

But with little notoriety—and in addition to a pair of curious, late game decisions made by Falcons’ head coach Dan Quinn–Draughn and Cromartie made big contributions that were integral to the outcome of the game.

Draughn contributed 92 yards in offense from scrimmage, running and catching, and Cromartie matched up with Jones frequently on a day that the powerful receiver was kept out of the end zone and his team scored just 16 points.

Gabbert didn’t empty the playbook with his 15 for 25 passing performance, but he threw a pair of touchdown passes to Brent Celek in the second quarter and used his legs—ala Kaepernick—in the second half to help make a 17-point offensive output somehow stand up for an improbable victory.

“It wasn’t pretty at times, but our defense played well,” Gabbert said.  “Got a big stop for us at the end and we found a way to move the chains there at the end to kill the clock.”

Quinn’s controversial decision may have been the key component to an unlikely outcome.  With the Falcons facing 4th-and-goal at the 1 with three minutes remaining in the game, Quinn decided to forgo a shot at a touchdown that would have given them the lead, instead opting for a 19-yard Matt Bryant field goal that drew them within a point of the lead.

Quinn’s rationale?  The former Seattle defensive coordinator decided to put faith in his defense, hoping they could force a three-and-out that would give his offense the ball with enough time to drive a short field for a game-winning field goal.  Afterwards, in explaining, Quinn pointed out that his offense had been exceptional with little time on the clock, as they were in the first half, needing just three plays to cut into the 49ers 17-6 lead with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Freeman.

But Quinn, upon the prompting of his coaches and television spotters upstairs, had squandered one of the Falcons three time outs challenging a spot that gave the 49ers a first down midway through the fourth quarter.  What prompted the Atlanta brain trust to question the spot wasn’t clear: television replays didn’t offer an angle that would have given conclusive evidence to justify overturning the call.  In fact, without a replay angle from a Skycam above the players, it would be difficult for a team to justify a challenge based on traditional camera angles that offer little more than a pile of bodies on a fourth-and-short play rather than a conclusive look at the football.

Given a chance to close the game out, the 49ers did, running Kendall Gaskins four times and Gabbert once on a nifty, five-yard scramble.  Gaskins, another new 49ers’ face, contributed a big eight-yard run and the 49ers picked up not one, but two first downs to finish the game, leaving the Falcons’ offense on the sideline.

Defensively, the 49ers surprised by shutting down Freeman, who entered with 709 yards rushing to lead the entire NFL.  Cromartie sent an early message by dropping Freeman for a four-yard loss in the first quarter.  On the day, the Falcons rushed for just 17 yards on 14 attempts, considerably lower than the 111 yards rushing the 49ers had allowed on average in their first eight games.

After the game, Falcons’ offensive lineman Ryan Schrader acknowledged that the 49ers’ frequent blitzes—often with NaVorro Bowman shooting between the guard and center—disrupted the timing of the Atlanta offense.  The Falcons one-dimensional attack did little outside of Matt Ryan’s 303 passing yards.

The 49ers have a much-needed bye week to get reorganized before they travel to Seattle to face the Seahawks on November 22.

Raiders lose on a late field goal

By Jeremy Kahn

photo credit steelersdepot.com Steelers kicker Chris Boswell FG attempt miss against Raiders

Once again, the Oakland Raiders and the Pittsburgh Steelers played a classic game in a rivalry that goes back over 40 years.

Chris Boswell hit a 18-yard field goal with two seconds remaining, as the Steelers defeated the Raiders 38-35 at Heinz Field.

It was a hard fought win for the Steelers, who lost quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a left foot injury midway through the fourth quarter. Roethlisberger was forced to leave the game after he was sacked by Aldon Smith.

Landry Jones, who started a few games for Roethlisberger after he missed a few games earlier in the season found Antonio Brown for 57 yards to setup Boswell’s game-winning kick.

It was a career day for Brown, who finished the afternoon with 17 catches for 284 yards, which are both new franchise records. Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams ran for 170 yards, as the Steelers racked up a whopping 597 yards in total offense on the afternoon.

Derek Carr attempted to lead the Raiders to their third straight win, as he threw for 301 yards for four touchdowns and an intercepted.

The Raiders tied up the game with just 1:15 remaining, as Carr found Michael Crabtree for a 38-yard touchdown pass.

Latavius Murray ran for 96 yards for the Raiders before he was forced to leave the game with a potential concussion in the third quarter.

Before leaving the game with his foot injury, Roethlisberger threw for 334 yards and two touchdowns, as he passed both two Hall of Famers, Joe Montana and Johnny Unitas into 13th place on the all-time in career yards passing.

Roethlisberger threw his two touchdowns in a span of 49 seconds, as he found Martavis Bryant from 14 yards out to give the Steelers a 28-21 lead and then after a Taiwan Jones fumble on the ensuing kickoff, Roethlisberger found Jesse James for a four-yard touchdown pass to give the Steelers a 35-21 lead with 11:24 remaining in the game.

Unlike in the past, where the Raiders would just fold up and roll over, the Raiders came back behind Carr, as fullback Jamize Olawale scampered in from 19 yards and then Crabtree tied up the game on a 38-yard touchdown pass, his second touchdown reception of the game.

Crabtree caught seven passes for 108 yards, while Amari Cooper also caught seven passes for 88 yards and a touchdown.

Listen to Jeremy’s weekly Raiders podcasts at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

49ers Hope Roster Moves Make Difference Against Atlanta

by Joe Lami

It appears the San Francisco 49ers have given up on the 2015 season. With a week filled with huge roster mix-ups, and announced lineup changes it looks like the 49ers are starting to look to the future and the 2016 draft.

Earlier in the week they traded away once great tight end Vernon Davis to the Broncos for multiple late round draft picks. The move shocked no one as Davis has been struggling to do anything in the last two seasons. He came out later to blame the locker room atmosphere for his recent struggles.

The 49ers also announced that quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been benched and that Blaine Gabbert will get the start. Kaepernick’s tenure in red and gold appears to be over as his performance is St. Louis was the last straw.

San Francisco’s offense has been horrendous this season and is dead last in the NFL with 109 points. They haven’t scored a touchdown since the win three weeks ago to the Ravens. Gabbert needs to be the 49ers savior, and he has a chance against the 6-2 Atlanta Falcons that have a terrible pass defense.

Hopes shouldn’t be high for a 49ers win on Sunday, but the excitement around a fresh start with the recent moves should help out a little.

Prediction: Falcons 28 49ers 10

Raiders face tough road test in Pittsburgh for Week 9

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon

Bing photos of Oak Raiders QB Derek Carr

OAKLAND — If last week’s 34-20 victory over the visiting New York Jets was any indication that the Raiders are a team to be reckon with in the AFC, then Sunday’s trip to the Steel City to face the Steelers may forecast the remainder of the season for Oakland.

Raiders’ starting quarterback Derek Carr dismantled a star studded Jets’ defense headlined by cornerback Darrelle Revis, throwing for a career high-tying four touchdowns to go with 333 yards passing.

For the season, Carr has thrown for 15 touchdowns with just three interceptions for an Oakland team that is in the thick of the AFC playoff race.

Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh, kickoff at 10:00 a.m. PT, could have that playoff type atmosphere, something that the second-year signal caller from Fresno St. appears to be ready for. Carr’s play this season in each game is reminiscent of a 10-year veteran who doesn’t let the moment get bigger than it is.

Oakland (4-3) has come a long way this season after starting last season 0-10, thanks in large part to the play of Carr, a talented receiving corps led by rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree (both are on pace for 1,000-yard seasons), and a strong defense led by the ageless wonder, safety Charles Woodson.

”It’s fine for some people to play from the underdog role, but I don’t like it,” said Woodson (via CBSSports.com), who played for the Raiders’ last Super Bowl team. ”I don’t like being the underdog. I want to be expected to win games. I want these guys to go out there and be expected to win games. Yeah, it’s a little premature to be thinking that far ahead, playoff-wise, but there’s no reason you can’t think of yourself as a playoff team.”

The 18-year veteran leads the NFL with five interceptions and is the heartbeat of the Silver and Black.

Pittsburgh (4-4) is coming off a tough loss at home last week to fellow AFC North rival, the Cincinnati Bengals 16-10. The Steelers blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead after having the still undefeated Bengals (8-0) on the ropes, and lost All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell for the season with a torn MCL in his right knee.

Steelers’ starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who made his return to the lineup after missing the previous four games with a left knee injury, looked rusty completing 28 of 45 for 262 yards with one touchdown, but threw three interceptions.

Roethlisberger is 1-4 in his career versus Oakland, but does average 300 yards passing and a quarterback rating of 97.5 against the Raiders.

Oakland’s 31st ranked passing defense (giving up 302.1 yards a game), will have its hands full with wide receiver Antonio Brown (52 catches, 718 yards, 3 TD).

Brown is a wide receiver that just runs right by people and if Oakland gives Roethlisberger time in the pocket to survey the field, he will find his dynamic wide receiver.

Mix in reliable tight end Heath Miller (you know Oakland has had issues covering tight ends this season), and Pittsburgh can move the ball and get first downs at a rapid rate.

“They’re coming in here, it’s going to be very physical,” Roethlisberger said. “Their defensive backs like to do a lot of grabbing, holding, and just being physical in general. It’s a really good test for our receivers and for me to be accurate.”

Oakland Raiders podcast with Jeremy Kahn: Former Raider convicted of three murders looking at another charge; plus Raiders get set for Steelers

On the podcast with Jeremy former Oakland Raider defensive end Anthony Smith is convicted of triple murder and is facing a fourth count of murder. Smith who played for the Raiders between 1990-98 was convicted of the 1999 double murder of the Nettles brothers Ricky and Kevin.

Ricky Nettles was leaving for work according to an employee who watched Ricky leave their place of business where he was the boss. The employee described who he identified as Smith forcing Ricky into a car this would be the last time that he would see his boss alive. Smith was also convicted of the 2001 murder of Dennis Henderson in Los Angeles. Smith is looking at a fourth charge of the 2008 killing of Maurilio Ponce of Antelope Valley.

Also on the podcast JJ talks about the Raiders chances as they head into Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday. The Raiders are coming off a two game win streak against the San Diego Chargers and the New York Jets. The Steelers are rough and tumble and their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger one of the top throwers in the NFL might be a match for the Raiders defense.

Jeremy discusses all of that and more on the podcast below right here at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

bing photos of former Oakland Raider defensive end Anthony Smith convicted for triple murder

 

 

San Francisco 49ers podcast with David Zizmor: Why Niners CEO Jed York is hiding from the media, the product on the field is awful

by David Zizmor

google image 49ers CEO Jed York

SANTA CLARA–The reason why San Francisco 49ers CEO Jed York is hiding from the news media is because the team sucks. There has been complete and utter turmoil from the entire team in terms of the players, in terms of the coaching staff over the last year. Also the product on the field is awful right now.

There’s tons of questions that the media would like to ask York and especially in light of the fact that when York hired head coach Jim Tomsula he was going from former head coach Jim Harbaugh to Tomsula. It was like hiring former Golden State Warriors head coach Mark Jackson over current head coach Steve Kerr.

Obviously this is not the case in general everybody on the outside of this that’s a football fan or a 49ers fan the product is awful. It has been declining for the last year and half. York and general manager Trent Baalke have either meddled or bad mouthed the coaching staff first with Jim Harbaugh and now quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Listen to the rest of the 49ers podcast with David Zizmor at http://www.sportsradioservice.com