The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Las Vegas Raiders in overtime 37-34. While of course the team and fans would have preferred a blowout win with no injuries, is it possible that the close 49ers game was not completely a bad thing for them? This matchup showed some weakness on both sides of the ball and there is a lot that will need to be fixed ahead of playoffs. After this close 49ers game, here is how the struggles they faced can possibly help San Francisco as they move forward.
Close 49ers Game: Quick Recap
The biggest issue within this game was surprisingly the defense. It does come as a shock, but they did show some weakness. In the game, the Raiders quarterback, Jarrett Stidham completed 23 passes out of 34 attempts for 365 yards, according to ESPN. Stidham also threw for 3 touchdowns. The 49ers also allowed the Raiders to rush for 135 yards, and one rushing touchdown.
It was wide receiver Davante Adams specifically that exposed the 49ers’ defense. Adams had seven receptions for 153 total yards and two touchdowns. In this close 49ers game, San Francisco did not have any sacks, which also hurts due to Nick Bosa looking to tie the franchise single-season sack record. The defense had two interceptions, the final one by Tashaun Gipson leading to a San Francisco win. While the defense stepped up when they had to, there is a lot they will need to fix before playoffs, which the league knows they can.
As for the 49ers’ offense, quarterback Brock Purdy completed 22 passes out of 35 attempts for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Purdy also threw one interception. Purdy admitted he did not see the Raiders’ defender, and this is something that he will have to work on moving forward. In the second half it seemed as though Purdy felt the pressure of being down, and potentially tried too hard in making big plays. Purdy did calm down and show composure towards the end of this close 49ers game, and the team got the win they needed when it comes to seeding for the playoffs.
Close 49ers Game: How This Helps
Many fans may believe that this close 49ers game is a really bad thing for a team with super bowl hopes, but maybe this is okay. A blowout would have been great, but there is also a positive way to view what happened during the game. To start, the team was finally able to see what the rookie Purdy can do under pressure in a close game.
Heading into the second half, the 49ers were down 17-14. The Raiders were also the first to score in the second half. With a surprisingly weak defense, this was the game Purdy had to show he can play with the pressure on his shoulders. This was the biggest question with the rookie quarterback ahead of playoffs. While he seemed overwhelmed at times, he was able to calm down and push the team ahead. After the game, Purdy told reporters he spoke to quarterback coach Brian Griese and that helped him keep his composure.
Brock Purdy said that 49ers QB coach Brian Griese helped re-center him on the sideline after some struggles later in the game. Purdy corrected course with some excellent timing connections to Brandon Aiyuk
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) January 2, 2023
As for the defense, this was the first poor game they have had since playing the Kansas City Chiefs, their most recent loss in week seven of the season. This gives them a chance to regroup ahead of their playoff push. The Chiefs scored 44 points against the 49ers in that week. The following game against the rams the team regrouped and has not lost since that game against the Chiefs.
While this close 49ers game was a struggle, the defense stepped up when they needed to and forced an interception in overtime, giving their offense a chance to kick the winning field goal. It is better the team played like this now rather than a couple of weeks from now during the playoffs. It showed them that no matter who they played, this defense cannot underestimate anyone. Following the game, Bosa did admit the defense may have underestimated Stidham. This could be the push the defense needs to not make this mistake again.
There were two injuries that occurred during this close 49ers game which is a concern for the team. Offensive Lineman Aaron Banks may have suffered an MCL Sprain, which can really hurt this offense as he has done a great job this season. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw suffered a back injury. While he got up and was able to jog off the field, he did not return to a game, and back injuries are not something to take lightly. It initially looks as though the Banks injury is more serious, but hope both have a speedy recovery and can return during the playoffs.
The final regular season of the game will be against the Arizona Cardinals at home in Levis Stadium. The team will hope it is not another close 49ers game but will be pushing for the number one seed, which can give them a bye week to be fully healthy in their playoff run. In order to clinch the number one seed, the 49ers will need to defeat the cardinals, and the New York Giants will need to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles.
For More NFL and NCAA Content:
Check out my most recent 49ers article on the top players in the close 49ers game against the Raiders. Also, be sure to check out Penn State’s top players who have already declared for the NFL Draft. As well as the top 5 Rutgers games for the season.
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