Sept. 12, 2011
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Evidently we hadnt made ourselves clear Sunday evening when we said that without Ted Ginn, the 49ers were pretty damned meh, because it seems we have to say it again Monday night about the Raiders.Except that Ted Ginn Jr. becomes Sebastian Janikowski in this version. And Darren McFadden is about three Frank Gores.Oakland subdued an erratic Denver team, 23-20, just as San Francisco had the day before to an equally uneven Seattle side, 33-17, but it wasnt all that much cleaner. Jason Campbell had more meager numbers than That Other Guy, the Oakland defense was as oppressive as the 49er defense was, and the game was defined by two enormous plays.Sunday, it was Ginn on Ginn. Monday, it was Janikowskis 63-yard field goal near the end of the first half, and McFaddens 47-yard sprint to the one-zinch line in the second half.
Oh, the Raiders tried to be more intrepid offensively than the 49ers did, because Hue Jackson is more committed to the deep ball by virtue of working where he is than Jim Harbaugh.But for the most part, what we got Sunday and Monday were two similar games by two similar (though not precisely so) teams.We can eliminate Ginns presence as a steady thing, unless he is actually Devin Hester just waiting to emerge, which we so far doubt. And we can feel comfortable thinking that Janikowski wont be kicking any other 63-yarders this year.And as an aside, I guess maybe we need to rethink Lane Kiffins 76-yard attempt request in his last game as coach as just an overexpression of his confidence in Janikowski. And we did rethink it. We were right the first time when we thought it was Kiffin waving his middle finger in Al Davis face, but you cant say we werent open-minded.But the two defensive lines dominated their space, the secondaries made throwing the ball difficult for Tarvaris Jackson and Kyle Orton alike, and they both controlled game tempo.If you wanted to find a radical difference between the two teams, its that San Francisco committed a downright law-abiding nine penalties for 102 yards, while the Raiders reverted to their old ways for their new coach, dropping a 15 for 131 for Jackson.But that isnt likely to continue if the two coaches have any concept of discipline through repetition. I mean, Oakland can get their misbehaviors up for Kansas City and San Diego too, but they cant a dozen and a quarter week in and week out.The Raiders looked crisper offensively because of McFadden, the 49er defense looked sharper because of the fewer penalties, and Ginn beats Janikowski by a final score of 12-11.But for the most part, what you all saw in Week One is that you have the same team, twice. Hope youre all up for it. This isnt going to be pretty, but it beat what it could have been.And hey, they both covered. Who can hate that?