The 49ers' flaws were highlighted by the Raiders in their OT win - and Nick Bosa thanks them

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The 49ers won a game in a playoff-like atmosphere, are in line for second place in the playoffs, and could even get the No. 1 seed — and a bye — if they win next week’s playoffs and the Eagles lose theirs.

And yet, their 37-34 overtime win against the Raiders also highlighted flaws, especially on defense, which playoff opponents are sure to study and take advantage of later this month. Going into the game, the only team to clinch the 49ers this season is the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs, who gained 529 yards in a Week 7 loss. The Raiders came close to that mark — 500 yards — behind backup quarterback Jarrett Stidham, making his first NFL start.

“Stidham can shoot — he’s got a big arm and he can make all those shots,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. “I thought we had let him get a little too comfortable there, especially in the first half. (We) didn’t hit him too much and let him move the chains with his legs. And that put them in a really good rhythm.

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Where were the team’s weaknesses on Sunday? Here are five, starting with the biggest.

1. Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir

When the 49ers faced the Seahawks in Week 15, they had their best cornerback, Charvarius Ward, in the shadow of Seattle’s best weapon, receiver DK Metcalf, wherever he lined up. They didn’t go through with that plan with Davante Adams, which resulted in Adams taking on Deommodore Lenoir throughout the feud. This included a late 45-yard sideline reception that set up the Raiders touchdown that sent the game into overtime.

Lenoir had good position on the play and made a great catch on an Adams home ball. But Lenoir was also on coverage on a 27-yard gain by Adams – which ended with 153 receiving yards and two touchdowns – in the first quarter and on a big catch by tight end Foster Moreau in the fourth quarter. Lenoir was also flagged for holding and had trouble setting the lead on some early Josh Jacobs runs, although he was better at it in the second half.

2. Quarterback runs

The Raiders were the first team to rush for 100+ yards against San Francisco since the Chiefs, and Stidham gained 34 of his 135 rushing yards. Quarterback runs have been a consistent problem for the 49ers over the years, with his aggressive up pass creating wide running lanes for quarterbacks when the pass misses the target.

Against Stidham these lanes were wider than usual, particularly in the first half. Stidham also made the 49ers pay with the arm when the defensive line failed to encircle him. The 49ers had no sacks.

“The clues we gave him – anyone could have gone through them,” said Nick Bosa. “Tom Brady could have gone through this. This is one of the things a D line, even a dominant D line, cannot have. Good quarterbacks will come out of their pocket and create (play) on the field. And that puts our rearguard at a disadvantage.”

Potential playoff opponents for the 49ers include the Giants, Cowboys, and Eagles, all of whom have mobile quarterbacks. New York’s Daniel Jones, for example, led his team with 49 rushing yards when the Giants and 49ers played in 2020. The Eagles’ Jalen Hurts had 82 rushing yards and a touchdown against San Francisco in Week 2 of last year.

3. Backend bugs

Some eyebrows were raised when Talanoa Hufanga was voted to the Pro Bowl last month. Yes, he leads the best defense in the NFL in threads and it looks like he will be a mainstay in the secondary for years to come.

But he also made mistakes in coverage that any aggressive young safety will make, including on Sunday’s opening drive, when he bit into a Raiders spoof play and had to catch up on tight end Darren Waller’s 24-yard touchdown run. Hufanga also made backend mistakes against the Dolphins and Commanders, and his inexperience promises to be something future opponents will look to exploit.

To his credit, Hufanga wasn’t fooled by a similar mock goal-line action on the Raiders’ ensuing drive, and Las Vegas had to settle for a 20-yard field goal.

4. Bad tackle

As noted above, Lenoir struggled early on to take down Jacobs on the perimeter, while Fred Warner was so smelly in an attempt to take down Hunter Renfrow that he reached out and grabbed the receiver’s face mask, giving the Raiders a 15-yard offense and a new lease of life. in a parked car in the third quarter. They scored on a 60-yard drive to Adams two plays later.

As strong as they were overall, Hufanga and Warner had a lot of missed tackles this season. Hufanga leads the way with 16, according to Pro Football Focus, followed by Warner with 13.

5. Brock Purdy

This one is last on the list because Brock Purdy had another promising outing and he did so in the toughest circumstances since becoming the starter. Still, he missed George Kittle driving across midfield early in the game and looked to do the same to another tight end, Tyler Kroft, along the goal line on a late drive where the 49ers had to settle for a field goal. .

His third-quarter interception, just the third since taking over for Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13, was also a miss for Kittle. The 49ers were on a roll at the time and Shanahan called a bread-and-butter play in which the quarterback rolls out of the pocket one way and a pass receiver cuts deep toward the other end. It’s the play that Trey Lance successfully ran with Trent Sherfield for an 80-yard touchdown in Lance’s 2021 preseason debut.

On Sunday, however, Purdy saw Kittle open, but he dropped the ball so short that Raiders cornerback Amik Robertson reached him and threw the interception.

“When I played for George, I thought there was nobody else out there and all I had to do was just give him a ball to catch and he would have a big win,” Purdy said. “But the corner came a little late and I didn’t put enough to get out there. I just have to lead it, and that’s something I have to watch and learn from.”

Of course, Purdy then led the 49ers on three consecutive scoring drives and set up the team for a potentially game-winning field goal — missed, right wing, by Robbie Gould — as regulation expired.

And while the defensive line recorded no sacks on Stidham, it did force two interceptions, one early in the fourth quarter when Kerry Hyder Jr. deflected a pass that Drake Jackson grabbed and another in overtime, when Bosa pushed left tackle Kolton Miller to the quarterback as he threw, resulting in a floating pass that was intercepted by safety Tashaun Gipson Sr.

After the game, Bosa saw something positive in the defense’s second-worst performance of the season: It will force that unit to solve its problems, perhaps the same way it did after the loss to the Chiefs.

“I think we needed that as a defense,” Bosa said. “It’s a really good team, the best running back I’ve ever played with in my career, hands down. That guy is a beast. … The NFL will humiliate you 100% of the time.

(Photo: John Locher/Associated Press)



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