Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: Cal and Stanford get opening day wins; 49ers open in Tampa Bay and Raiders host Denver on MNF; plus more

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On the Headline Sports podcast with Barbara:

#1 For the Cal Bears, getting a victory on opening day last Saturday was an important way to start the 2019 season with a win over UC Davis at Memorial Stadium and what a way to start with running back Christopher Brown Jr. rushing for 197 yards to help lead the team to a 27-13 win.

#2 The Stanford Cardinal defeated Northwestern, but the Cardinal lost their starting quarterback during the game when KJ Costello took a forearm to the head. The Cardinal hung onto win it 17-7. Costello could muster only one strong drive before the injury. The Cardinal are on the road next week to face the USC Trojans next Saturday.

#3 The San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo took Thursday Night Football off last week and the 49ers went with three quarterbacks: Nick Mullins, CJ Beathard, and Nick Speight. Speight and Beathard both saw the most time in the game with Mullens resting. Is that an indication that Nick Mullens, who saw limited time will be the backup, and head coach Kyle Shanahan wants to see if Beathard or Speight will fill the third-string spot?

#4 The Oakland Raiders look as if they had a very solid preseason winning three of their four games. Raider head coach Jon Gruden said he’s happy with the progress of backup quarterbacks Nathan Peterman (out with elbow injury) and Mike Glennon who he’ll really depend on if starting quarterback Derek Carr ever needs a rest.

#5 The Oakland A’s are hosting the LA Angels and Detroit Tigers this week at the Oakland Coliseum. The A’s are 1/2 game back in the AL wild card behind second place Cleveland. It could go right down to the wire for a chance of a wild card birth.

Join Barbara for Headline Sports each Tuesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Raiders face Packers in rare home game in Winnipeg on Thursday night

Photo credit: @NFL

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

Two down. Two to go.

The Raiders have played two exhibition games and sport a 2-0 record as the team inches closer to the regular season home opener against the Denver Broncos on Sept. 9 at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum as part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader.

Oakland will try to keep up its winning ways going as they will play host to the Green Bay Packers at IG Field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada on Thursday night in the third exhibition game for both teams.

Kickoff is set for 5:00 p.m. PDT.

Last week, Oakland went on the road and defeated the Arizona Cardinals 33-26. Oakland jumped out to 26-point before the Cardinals scored.

Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr made his first appearance of the exhibition season and looked in regular season form.

Carr led Oakland’s first-team offense to a touchdown on his only series of play, engineering a six-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 13-yard pass to wide receiver Ryan Grant. Carr went 2-of-2 for 40 yards on the drive before giving way to backup quarterback Mike Glennon.

In the battle for QB2, Glennon appears to have the inside track over Nathan Peterman.

On Glennon’s first drive of the game, he connected with wide receiver Rico Gafford for a 53-yard touchdown to give the Raiders a 17-0 lead. Then on his next possession, Glennon threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Derek Carrier that pushed Oakland’s lead to 24-0 in the second quarter.

Glennon threw for 175 yards on 11-of-14 passes and two touchdowns against Arizona.

Peterman didn’t lead Oakland to any points, but did complete 8-of-8 passes for 41 yards.

Oakland’s offense registered 373 yards total and controlled the football for 35:43 of the game, compared to 24:17 for Arizona.

Its possible that Carr and the first-team offense could see the field on Thursday night, but anticipate players who are on the roster bubble that will get the majority of the playing time.

Oakland’s first-team defense turned up the heat on Arizona’s rookie quarterback Kyler Murray.

Murray, the No. 1 overall pick by the Cardinals in April’s NFL Draft, had no time to throw the football as defensive coordinator Paul Guenther sent the wolves after the young player for much of his appearance in the game.

Oakland recorded a safety on Murray after safety Lamarcus Joyner sacked the former Oklahoma quarterback in the end zone that pushed Oakland’s lead to 26-0.

Murray passed for just 12 yards on 3-of-8 passing.

Along with Joyner, linebacker Brandon Marshall and defensive tackle Ethan Westbrooks each registered a sack in the game.

Linebacker Keisean Nixon led the team in tackles with five.

Green Bay (1-1) is coming off a 26-13 road loss to the Baltimore Ravens with starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers sitting out his second-straight exhibition season.

Backup quarterback DeShone Kizer started in Rodgers’ place, completed just 5-of-10 passes for 70 yards and three points on three drives. Fellow backup quarterback Tim Boyle actually fared better than Kizer in his showing.

Boyle completed 12-of-21 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown.

The second-year pro from the University of Kentucky led Green Bay on a seven-play, 84-yard drive that ended with a 7-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Darrius Shepherd that cut Baltimore’s lead to 20-13 in the third quarter before the Ravens added two fields goals from kicker Justin Tucker in the fourth quarter to put Baltimore up, 26-13, and the game out of reach.

After Thursday night’s game, the Raiders will wrap up the exhibition season in Seattle against the Seahawks on Aug. 29. It will mark the 14th-consecutive year that the two teams will conclude the exhibition season, with 10 in Seattle and four in Oakland.

The Packers will close out the exhibition season at home with Oakland’s biggest rival, the Kansas City Chiefs, coming into Lambeau Field.

Oakland Raiders podcast with Joe Hawkes Beamon: Raiders have had their share of players with drama; Brown once tried to sneak in painted helmet; plus more

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On the Raiders podcast with Joe Hawkes:

#1 The Raiders have a history of players that have had misfit issues or just wouldn’t play or couldn’t perform such as Randy Moss, JaMarcus Russell, Khalil Mack, and Aldon Smith. How would Antonio Brown match up with the best of those players?

#2 With Brown almost holding out because of his helmet issue now settled, does that still stain the team does that serve as a disruption?

#3 Brown tried to sneak his helmet into practice and had it painted silver and black it had to be a first for a counterfeit helmet.

#4 Brown’s story was a rough upbringing. When Brown was 16, his step father kicked him out of the house and Brown was a walk-on at Central Michigan and ended up getting drafted in the sixth round by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

#5 The Raiders back up quarterback Mike Glennon in Thursday’s preseason game in Glendale against the Arizona Cardinals had a productive game, going 11-14 for 175 yards and two touchdowns. He’s had a couple of impressive preseason games.

Joe Hawkes does the Raiders podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Gruden prepares team for Cardinals on Thursday Night Football

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Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria:

#1 The NFL preseason has kicked off and head coach Jon Gruden is taking a look at his team for preseason Week 2 as the Raiders head to State Farm Stadium in Glendale to face the Arizona Cardinal for another edition of Thursday Night Football.

#2 Amongst those that Gruden will be looking at are his backup quarterbacks Mike Glennon and Nathan Peterman, who both threw in Week 1 of the preseason against the Los Angeles Rams. Tony was at the game and tells us how Glennon and Peterman looked.

#3 Coach Gruden says at wide receiver this is his best core of receivers that he’s had as head coach at the Raiders with Antonio Brown, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, and JJ Nelson.

#4 How much time will Derek Carr get at quarterback for Thursday night against the Cardinals?

#5 What does it mean to have Antonio Brown back in camp after he threaten to retire if he couldn’t wear his old Pittsburgh Steelers helmet?

Join Tony for Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Raiders take on Cardinals in the desert on Thursday

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By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

Looking to build off their victory over the Los Angeles Rams at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum last Saturday night in both team’s first exhibition game, the Raiders will travel for the first time in 2019 to Glendale to take on the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday at State Farm Stadium.

Kickoff for this exhibition game will be at 5:00 p.m. PDT, and can be seen nationally on ESPN.

Last week, the Raiders (1-0) defeated the visiting Rams, 14-3, as both teams held out many of its starters including quarterbacks Derek Carr and Jared Goff, respectively and opted to play younger guys and backups.

With Carr on the sideline wearing team issued sweats, Oakland started seven-year veteran Mike Glennon in the first-half, while letting third-year player Nathan Peterman handle the second-half to do battle for the QB2 position behind Carr.

Glennon completed 17-of-25 passes for 200 yards, but threw two interceptions, including one inside the red zone shortly before halftime.

Glennon did lead Oakland to their first touchdown of the exhibition season on the team’s first drive, which culminated in a 7-yard rushing touchdown by backup running back DeAndre Washington.

In the six drives that Glennon led Oakland’s offense: one led to a touchdown, two ended in interceptions and three ended in punts.

Albeit it was the first exhibition game for Glennon, he didn’t show that he was ready to be QB2 behind Carr.

Peterman played decent, but didn’t set the world on fire with his play.

Outside of the 50-yard scramble that setup Oakland’s second score of the game, Peterman was purely pedestrian. On the scoring drive, Peterman was flushed out of the pocket on third-and-4 from Oakland’s own 42-yard line before sliding down at the Rams’ 8-yard line.

Two plays later, Peterman threw a 3-yard touchdown to Alameda High School and UC Davis product Keelan Doss for a 14-3 lead that the Raiders never surrendered.

“He can run,” Oakland coach Jon Gruden said during his postgame press conference. “As he continues to gain command of the offense he’s going to be an interesting guy to watch.”

“It was a super clean pocket and I was able to get out to my left.” Peterman said. “Took off and I was about to slide then noticed that there was nobody else there. I think it was because of guys blocking downfield, guys making big plays for me. Tried to get in there, didn’t quite make it.”

Typically, the second exhibition game is usually when we get to see more of the projected starting lineup. So don’t be surprised if Carr starts the game and plays 2-3 series before giving way to Glennon and Peterman.

Defensively, the Raiders didn’t have that much to write home about but, second-year defensive end Arden Key played well. Key recorded a sack and two hurries. Oakland had one of the worse pass rushes in the league last season, finishing last in sacks with just 13.

Arizona (1-0) defeated the Los Angeles Chargers, 17-13, at State Farm Stadium.

Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, who the Cardinals drafted No. 1 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, made his pro debut against the Chargers and looked smooth. Murray completed 6-of-7 passes for 44 yards, his longest completion was a 14-yard short pass to star running back David Johnson.

The 2018 Heiseman Trophy winner is slated to be Arizona’s starter in Week 1 when the Cardinals host the Detroit Lions, so the Cardinals played it safe with its new franchise quarterback who only played one series on the night.

“I was just going out there and being myself, like always. Trusting in my abilities,” Murray said after the game. “I wanted to score. I wanted to go back in. I was definitely itching for more.”

Backup quarterback Brett Hundley saw most of the action following Murray’s exit, completed 10-of-14 passes for 104 yards and a 22-yard touchdown pass to second-year wide receiver Trent Sherfield in the second quarter.

Glennon, Peterman lead Raiders over Rams in exhibition opener

sfgate.com photo:  In this June 11, 2019, file photo, Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown is shown during an NFL football minicamp in Alameda, Calif. The Raiders and their big personalities like Antonio Brown and Richie Incognito are ready to be stars on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — The NFL exhibition season is nothing more than drinking non-alcoholic beer. You’ll be satisfied momentarily by the buzz it creates but in the end, you’re sober again looking for another fix.

With roster spots up for grabs, the first exhibition game can go a long way in determining a player’s long-term future with a football team.

With many of the starters for both the visiting Los Angeles Rams and Oakland Raiders, including starting quarterbacks Jared Goff and Derek Carr respectively not suiting up, Oakland defeated Los Angeles, 14-3, in the exhibition opener for both teams at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on Saturday night.

Seven-year pro Mike Glennon, who signed with Oakland in the offseason after playing for the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, started the game for Oakland over third-year pro Nathan Peterman.

Glennon drove Oakland down the field on their first possession of the game, engineering a six-play, 70-yard drive in 2:45 resulting in a seven-yard touchdown run by backup running back DeAndre Washington for an early 7-0 lead.

But Glennon struggled overall, completing 17-of-25 passes for 200 yards to go along with two interceptions. Glennon’s second interception came in the red zone with Oakland driving down the field.

On the ensuing drive, the Rams would get on the board for the first time behind a 36-yard field goal by kicker Greg Zuerlein to make the score, 7-3, before halftime.

In the second half, Peterman took over the offense and quickly setup Oakland’s second touchdown of the game thanks to his 50-yard run on 3rd down-and-4 from the Raiders’ own 42-yard line moving the football to the Rams’ 8-yard line.

After a five-yard run by running back James Butler that moved the football to the 3-yard line, Peterman found reserve wide receiver Keelan Doss on an in-route for the score to make the game, 14-3, in the third quarter.

Peterman threw for 66 yards on 9-of-12 passes, and led the Raiders in rushing with 56 yards on three carries.

Second-year wide receiver Keon Hatcher, who is fighting for roster spot in a crowded wide receiver room that includes veterans J.J. Nelson and Ryan Grant, caught just two passes for a team-high 45 yards.

Nelson, who is in his first year with the Raiders after spending his first four seasons in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals, finished with 43 yards on two catches.

Grant added three catches for 32 yards.

Defensively, defensive end Arden Key recorded Oakland’s lone sack of the game. The second-year player finished tied with defensive backs Nevin Lawson, D.J. Killings, linebacker Marquel Lee and defensive lineman Anthony Rush with three tackles tonight.

Oakland held Los Angeles to just 190 yards of total offense on the night.

For the Rams, quarterback Blake Bortles started the game for Los Angeles but wasn’t impressive at all.

Bortles, who signed with the Rams in the offseason to be the primary backup to starter Jared Goff after spending his first five years with the Jacksonville Jaguars, completed just 3-of-8 passes for 50 yards on two drives before giving way to Brandon Allen (6-of-12 passing for 34 yards) and John Wolford (6-of-8 passing for a team-high 54 yards).

Rookie running back Darrell Henderson, Jr. led the team in rushing yards with six carries for 13 yards. Second-year wide receiver KhaDarel Hodge led the team with three catches for 48 yards.

The game was filled with penalties as both teams combined for 23 penalties (12 by the Rams, 11 by the Raiders).

Up next: Raiders will take on the Arizona Cardinals in the desert on Thursday night, while the Rams will host the visiting Dallas Cowboys at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum next Saturday night.

Ball bounces 49ers way in 33-14 win over Tampa Bay

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By Morris Phillips

It’s the one thing million of fans, 106 football players and 48 coaches gathered and paired on any given Sunday can’t control.  Given the effort, passion and countless film study that goes into a NFL game, it’s confounding and frustrating to all involved.  And while you may get used to it, it doesn’t get any easier to endure.

Yes, it’s the unsolvable mystery of the bouncing football. On Sunday in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the football took a cruel bounce on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Bucs suffered through a rough first half in which the defending NFC champs controlled the football and the scoreboard, leading 17-7 at the break.  But with a much better third quarter, Tampa Bay trailed just 20-14 after Mike Glennon connected with receiver Tim Wright on the first play of the fourth quarter.

But instead of continuing their surge, the Buccaneers collapsed while the 49ers and the mysterious bouncing ball took over.  Incredibly, Tampa Bay would have the ball for just 105 seconds in the fourth quarter and go on to fall to San Francisco, 33-14.

The 49ers continued their march to the playoffs, winning their fourth straight and improving to 10-4 with two games remaining.  The Bucs failed to continue their late season surge—they had won four of five after opening the season with eight straight losses—and fell to 4-10.

But back to the critical play; the Bucs trailed 23-14 after the 49ers responded to Tampa Bay’s surge with a 17-play drive and a Phil Dawson field goal that gave them a two-score margin once again.  That meant the Bucs needed a big play to regain momentum.  So Head Coach Greg Schiano dialed up the reverse on the ensuing kickoff, but watched it go horribly wrong.

“We were going to run a reverse if the opportunity presented itself in the right way,” Schiano recounted.  “It didn’t, yet we still ran it.  We made a mistake.”

“I don’t think anyone planned for it to go that way… that wasn’t the way it was supposed to work out,” Eric Page—who handles both punt and kickoff return duties for Tampa Bay—said.  “It was going smooth in practice, and we knew it was going to be open.  When I looked back, I thought he had the ball… then I saw him fall.”

“Him” was rookie Russell Shepard, who took the handoff from Page, going left to right.  While the play may have worked in practice, in the game, 49er Kendall Hunter had it sniffed out and was in perfect position to tackle Shepard after only a few strides.  Shepard—without having a chance to completely secure the ball—tried to make a big step in attempt to elude Hunter.  But he plant foot slid, and suddenly he was on his way down, face first.  That’s when the football, operating with a mind of its own, popped up directly into Hunter’s hands.  The 49ers’ backup running back then saw his momentum take him and the ball into the end zone for the back breaking score.

Shepard, who was waived by the Eagles at the end of the pre-season, then picked up by Tampa Bay, where he’s stuck for the entire season, became the goat.  But afterwards, he wasn’t shirking responsibility or placing blame on the power of the randomly bouncing football.

“I’ve got to secure it,” Shepard said.  “I have to be able to secure the ball.  Unfortunately, at a tight point in the game, it happened.  I have to give our offense an opportunity to come out and have a game-winning drive.”

Colin Kaepernick continued his strong play since the return of Michael Crabtree with a 19 for 29 performance, 203 yards and touchdown passes to Crabtree and Vernon Davis.  Repeatedly in the first half, Kaepernick dropped back to pass, but used his legs and strong arm to make plays.  First, Kap scrambled and threw for a 17-yard pass play to Crabtree that picked up a first down along the sideline.  Then another scramble bought time and Kaepernick found Crabtree for a 4-yard touchdown that put the 49ers up 7-0.  Later in the half, the third-year signal caller showed off his arm on a 52-yard pass and score to Davis.

“It was a heck of a throw,” Coach Jim Harbaugh said of the big pass play.  “We had really good protection on the play, but the way Vernon extended and ran that ball down, I mean it looked like Willie Mays running down a long fly ball to center field.”

Glennon didn’t have much early success and didn’t get hardly any touches in the fourth quarter.  In between, he was passable, finishing 18 for 34 for 179 yards.  But Glennon felt the pressure from the 49ers’ front four, getting sacked four times.  The Bucs’ run game didn’t provide much support either; two backs combined for just 39 yards rushing on 12 carries.

Former 49er Dashon Goldson got an opportunity to face his team of the previous six seasons but didn’t have much of an impact.  Goldson was in on five tackles, but didn’t have any of his signature run support plays against Frank Gore, who finished with 86 yards rushing on 22 carries.

Gore went over 1,000 yards rushing on the season with the performance, the seventh time he’s reached that milestone in his nine-year career.  Gore joins an elite list of 20 littered with Hall of Famers who also achieved seven 1,000-yard seasons.  The incredibly durable back also made his 42nd consecutive start against Tampa Bay, the longest such current streak in the NFL.

Davis’ touchdown catch was the 52nd of his career, and he became the first tight end in NFL history to register two, 12 touchdown-catch seasons.  Davis also made a touchdown catch for the fifth consecutive week even as the ending—into the wall at the rear of the end zone—wasn’t much fun.

“I didn’t know their wall was right there,” Davis said.  “As soon as I looked up, the wall was right there.  It just knocked the wind out of me a little bit.”

The 49ers return home for the season finale and possible final 49ers’ game at Candlestick Park on Monday night, December 23.  After that, the 49ers conclude their regular season in Glendale against the Cardinals on the following Sunday.

 

49ers looking to make it five straight wins

By Gabe Schapiro

This Sunday at 10:00am the San Francisco 49ers (9-4) will be taking on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9), at Raymond James Stadium. The 49ers are in second place in the NFC West, two games back of the Seattle Seahawks. The Buccaneers are in third place in the NFC South, and are out of playoff contention.

Last weekend San Francisco won their fourth consecutive game, beating the Seahawks 19-17, in possibly their biggest victory of the season. The 49ers came back three different times, ultimately putting the game away on a Phil Dawson field goal with 26 seconds left in the game. Dawson had four field goals on the evening, including kicks from 48 and 52 yards out. Colin Kaepernick wasn’t great, but he did just enough. He completed 15-of-29 passes for 175 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Anquan Boldin led all receivers with six receptions for 93 yards. After losing badly to Seattle earlier this season, San Francisco made the necessary adjustments, and leaned more on their running game. Frank Gore rumbled for 110 yards on 17 carries. As a team they ran for 163 yards.

The 49ers are unlikely to catch the Seahawks for the division crown, but it was still a huge win. It allows San Francisco to build some confidence and continue to build their momentum as they look to clinch a playoff spot.

This week the task at hand should be considerably easier. Tampa Bay has some talent, but are a team in turmoil looking to rebuild their identity. Coach Greg Schiano is likely on the hot seat, as he leads them through another disappointing season. Rookie QB Mike Glennon was handed the keys to the offense part way through the year, and for the most part has been solid. As is to be expected from a rookie, however, he is still going through some growing pains. At running back there are down to their third stringer after a rash of injuries to Doug Martin and Mike James. Bobby Rainey, the new starter, isn’t a world-beater but has some explosiveness. Vincent Jackson is the only reliable receiver on the squad, but is a legitimate deep threat. As a unit they are ranked 30th in the NFL in points per game, and 31st in yards.

It is their defense, which while not great, has been good enough to keep them in striking distance. Linebacker David Lavonte has been phenomenal, and leads the team in tackles (117) and interceptions (5), and is second on the team in sacks (6). And of course the imposing cornerback Darrelle Revis will be blanketing the 49er receivers. Statistically he isn’t have a great year, and in general hasn’t been the same recently, but is still always a threat. Their defense has allowed the 11th fewest points, and 12th fewest yards. Their primary weakness is against the pass, where they are only ranked 17th.

The 49ers are at their best when they are utilizing a run-heavy offense, regardless of the opponent. That shouldn’t change against the Bucs, but Kaepernick should have a slightly easier time making plays without the stout Seattle defense barring down on him. Particularly with Michael Crabtree back, who should only shake more and more of the rust off with each game he plays, their passing attack could get more explosive moving forward.

Crabtree has been limited in practices this week with a minor ankle injury, but it is not believed to be related to his Achilles tear. He is expected to be fine for Sunday’s matchup.