SAN FRANCISCO — Finally, the 49ers have a reason to celebrate after a game in 2010. After losing the first five games of the season, the 49ers defeated the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in a wet, sloppy game to put their record at 1-5.
Relief and joy filled the team locker room after the game.
“Anytime you get a win, it’s exciting for our guys,” head coach Mike Singletary said.
“Satisfied. Relieved. We got the first one,” quarterback Alex Smith said after the game. Smith finished the game completing 16 of 33 passes for 196 yards. Most importantly, Smith did not turn the ball over. “(I’m) happy for everybody.”
Both the 49ers and Raiders combined for 19 penalties during the game, but it was strong second half by the 49ers that broke a tight 6-3 Raiders lead after halftime. Smith hit wide receiver Michael Crabtree for a 32-yard touchdown and tight end Vernon Davis for a 17-yard touchdown late in the game to give the 49ers momentum late in the fourth.
“I feel like I just took a house off my back,” Davis said of the team’s win. “It was weighing me down, but I believe in my team and I believe in myself. I knew we could go out there and do it.”
On his quarterback’s play, Davis also had praise for Smith who had been under the microscope all week after his struggling performance last Sunday.
“He picked it up, he started to play,” Davis said. “One thing I learned while playing with Alex is that you have to stay on top of him. That’s what I’ve been trying to do lately, I’ve been trying to help him out. Making sure his mind is right.”
The 49ers defense played one of the best games in recent memories. Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell threw two interceptions on the day as he was under pressure all day and the 49ers. Linebackers Manny Lawson and Takeo Spikes both had an interception on Campbell. Spikes’ pick sealed the win for the 49ers late in the fourth quarter.
After cutting the deficit to 6-3 entering halftime, Singletary said that he didn’t want to the offense to try to press after a shaky start. The offense totaled only 126 offensive yards in the first half.
“I think it was important for us to make sure that we weren’t pressing,” Singletary said. “I think that was the most important thing we did today as an offense, is not try and force something that just wasn’t there.”
The 49ers defense kept the pressure on the Raiders offense all game. Campbell threw for only 83 yards (with a stretch of 35:21 of game clock between completed passes) and starting running back Michael Bush only ran for 47 yards. The Raiders got two field goals on the team’s first two drives but were held out of the red zone for the rest of the game.
“We pride ourselves on red zone defense,” cornerback Shawntae Spencer said. “When we get to the red zone, we’ve to got to buckle down and try to hold them there to three – and today we did that.”
Other notes from the game:
– Injury report: Nate Clements (leg contusion), Manny Lawson (rib contusion), Josh Morgan (thigh contusion), Parys Haralson (calf contusion) and Justin Smith (hand laceration). All players did return to the game.
– Late in the third quarter, quarterback Alex Smith overthrew wide receiver Josh Morgan on the left side. The pass sailed over Morgan’s head and Smith was flagged for intentional grounding. Both Smith and head coach Mike Singletary argued that despite the ball not being catchable, Morgan was in the area of the throw.
“I don’t understand that call, I really don’t,” Singletary said. Singletary said that his interpretation of the rule must be different than what the actual rule states. “We have to look at that again and revisit that and make sure that we really understand that rule.”
“I’ve never seen a call like that,” Smith said. Smith said that the referee tried to interpret his intention of throwing the ball away instead of trying to hit Morgan. “How does he know?” Smith wondered.
– The 49ers didn’t turn over the ball and forced two interceptions from Campbell. It was the first time all year that the 49ers won the turnover battle.
– Early in the game, running back Michael Bush was held up and the play was called dead. Immediately after the play was ruled over, Bush fumbled and the ball was recovered by San Francisco. Singletary challenged the play right when the Raiders ran the next play (a 14-yard run). That run was called off as the referees had to explain that the fumble was not challengeable.
Later in the game, quarterback Jason Campbell was sacked in the end zone but forward progress deemed that he was down at the 1-yard line. Singletary opted to not challenge the call because of the incident earlier in the game.
– Darrius Heyward-Bey vs. Michael Crabtree:
DHB: Three catches for 19 yards
MC: Four catches for 57 yards and a touchdown
– DT Isaac Sopoaga got a chance to play fullback late in the game.
“I was so anxious,” he said. “I was looking forward to it, but this is just fullback. I played rugby 12 years of my life, you know rugby people we play with no helmets and no pads so this is nothing. I hope there is more coming.”
– Smith had a wide-open pass to Josh Morgan early in the game but missed the receiver by throwing in the wrong direction.
“It was miscommunication for sure,” Smith said. “You got to take advantage of those…you have to capitalize.”
– Both the Seahawks and Rams won today. The Cardinals had a bye.