RAIDERS AT 49ERS
WHERE: Candlestick Park
WHEN: 1:05 p.m.
TV: CBS RADIO: KNBR 680/1050 AM, 107.7 FM
THE LINE: Niners by 7 (41.5 total)
THE SERIES: Oakland leads, 6-5. Niners have won two straight.
LAST MEETING: The Niners hope history repeats itself. Their 34-20 win over the Raiders on Oct. 8, 2006 at Candlestick was highlighted by a pair of familiar faces — RB Frank Gore had 134 yards on 27 carries and QB Alex Smith completed 15 of 19 passes for 165 yards with three TDs and one INT. San Francisco trailed 10-7 at halftime before benefiting from an outpouring of charity from Oakland, which committed five second-half turnovers. Niners CB Walt Harris had three interceptions in the final two quarters, Manny Lawson blocked a punt that set up a touchdown and rookie DT Melvin Oliver scooped up a muffed backward pass and scored on a 12-yard fumble return. Raiders quarterbacks Andrew Walter and Marques Tuiasosopo combined to throw four interceptions in 32 pass attempts. Walter threw a TD pass to Randy Moss, who had three TDs with Oakland in 2006. He scored 23 with the Patriots the following season.
49ERS: S Curtis Taylor (quadricep) and TE Delanie Walker (ankle) are out; QB Troy Smith (abdomen), G Adam Snyder (quadricep) and T Joe Staley (shoulder) are probable.
RAIDERS: RB Michael Bennett (hamstring), LB Travis Goethel (back), DT John Henderson (foot), LB Thomas Howard (knee) and WR Chaz Schilens (knee) are out; QB Bruce Gradkowski (right shoulder), LB Quentin Groves (hamstring), WR Johnnie Lee Higgins (knee) and RB Darren McFadden (hamstring) are questionable; G Robert Gallery (hamstring), G Daniel Loper (ankle) and CB Jeremy Ware (ankle) are probable.
49ERS (0-5): RB Frank Gore leads the NFC in yards from scrimmage and ranks fourth in the NFL with 33 receptions. Now the bad news: Gore is averaging 3.5 yards a carry, 1.3 yards fewer than his career average entering the season, has rushed for more than 80 yards in just one game and has averaged less than three yards a carry in three contests. Are Gore's issues tied to the offensive line, a predictable offensive system or the wear-and-tear associated with 1,259 carries? Whatever the reason, if Gore can't find some holes against Oakland's annually awful run defense, the problems might be even greater than imagined. The Raiders rank 31st in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per game (147.8) and they are allowing 5.0 yards per attempt — the worst in the league. Oakland run defense hasn't ranked higher than 25th in the NFL since 2005 and has ranked 31st on two occasions.
RAIDERS (2-3): The dreaded Quarterback Controversy has reared its ugly throwing arm again in Oakland. Since injuries ended Rich Gannon's career in 2004, we've had, among other memorable competitions, Kerry Collins vs. Marques Tuiasosopo, Andrew Walter vs. Aaron Brooks, and JaMarcus Russell vs. anybody who could stand on two feet. Now we've got Bruce Gradkowski vs. Jason Campbell. But perhaps there is a difference. On the heels of Campbell's performance against the Chargers last week, the Black Hole might be happy with either of the current candidates. Campbell was booed off the field after just six quarters of play to start the season. In that 35-27 win over San Diego, however, Campbell replaced the injured Gradkowski, completed 13 of 18 passes for 159 yards and engineered two long scoring drives in the second half. Gradkowski didn't practice this week as he nursed a strained shoulder, and Campbell is expected to start — though everyone's favorite underdog could be available in a pinch. A wealth of options at QB? Who would have guessed?