Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media


FSM Essential Recap: Raiders vs 49ers – Week 17

Las Vegas Raiders (6-10) | San Francisco 49ers (12-4)

Franchise Sports Media


Another week, another mind-bending game. In QB Jarrett Stidham’s first career start, the Raiders give NFC 2-seed San Francisco all they can handle, as the 49ers’ defense forces a crucial interception in OT. An instant New Year’s Day classic, Vegas will be kicking themselves for letting another game slip away. 


Raiders vs 49ers
Photo Credit: Las Vegas Raiders

As the San Francisco 49ers arrived in Sin City, they brought with them the rains from Northern California. Thankfully for those in attendance, Allegiant Stadium’s indoor atmosphere is always kept at optimal playing conditions. The storms may cancel the New Year’s Eve firework shows, but for football, we are full steam ahead on this first day of 2023.

As explained in my SF-LV preview article from earlier in the week, the Raiders and 49ers will always share a heated rivalry despite no longer sharing a regional market. These days, we are awarded this matchup only once every four years, and as a NorCal kid myself, it always hits home for me.

Of course, this Week 17 game comes at a turn of the tide for Raider Nation. As widely reported, HC Josh McDaniels has elected to sit QB Derek Carr for the remainder of the season. Even more alarming, Carr has (with permission) dismissed himself from the team as to not be a distraction. With that, fourth-year QB Jarrett Stidham will make his first NFL start against the buzzsaw that is the 49ers’ defense.

As expected, a mixed crowd filed into the Death Star, with sections of varsity red sticking out in the sea of Silver & Black. In terms of player personnel, the Raiders are mostly healthy heading into Sunday’s game. RB Zamir White (ankle) and OT Jackson Barton (back) are the only two with game designations, and both are questionable. For San Francisco, they will officially be without star WR Deebo Samuel (knee/ankle) and DT Kevin Givens (knee).


Previous contests


HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)
WK3: Titans 24 – Raiders 22 (L)
WK4: Raiders 32 – Broncos 23 (W)
WK5: Chiefs 30 – Raiders 29 (L)
WK7: Raiders 38 – Texans 20 (W)

WK8: Saints 24 – Raiders 0 (L)
WK9: Jaguars 27 – Raiders 20 (L)
WK10: Colts 25 – Raiders 20 (L)
WK11: Raiders 22 – Broncos 16 (OT)/(W)
WK12: Raiders 40 – Seahawks 34 (OT)/(W)
WK13: Raiders 27 – Chargers 20 (W)
WK14: Rams 17 – Raiders 16 (L)
WK15: Raiders 30 – Patriots 24 (W)
WK16: Steelers 13 – Raiders 10 (L)


1st Quarter


Raiders vs 49ers
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

As they have so often this season, the Raiders got underway by losing the opening coin toss. With San Francisco deferring their decision to the second half, it’s Las Vegas’ ball to start. And after a roaring kickoff from the rival fan bases, this game should be as intense as any this year.

Statistically, the Raiders are among the best offenses in the NFL on their opening drive. Staying on theme with that, Vegas got rolling when QB Jarrett Stidham connected with TE Foster Moreau for a healthy 20-yard gain up the left sideline. Next, RB Josh Jacobs took to the ground and rumbled up the middle for four yards. From there, Stidham got Jacobs involved in the pass game by hitting him over the middle for another 1st down. Now approaching the red zone, San Francisco was able to stall the Raiders momentarily, but on 3rd & 2 from the SF 24-yard line, Stidham found TE Darren Waller on a corner route in the back of the end zone for a touchdown!

Stidham put amazing touch on the pass, right into the basket of Waller who beat S Talanoa Hufanga in coverage. In a flash, Las Vegas is up 7-0, and the Raider fans are making it known that Allegiant Stadium is their house.

Now for our first look at the 49ers’ offense. Thanks to a solid kick return from Ray Ray McCloud, San Francisco would start at their own 35-yard line. With rookie-QB Brock Purdy under center, he turned and handed to RB Christian McCaffrey who shifted his way to an 11-yard gain. From there, Purdy began to dink and dunk to TE George Kittle and others, picking up numerous 1st downs. Once on to Vegas’ side of the field, Purdy handed back to McCaffrey who romped ahead for 37 yards and would have scored if not for a touchdown-saving tackle at the 2-yard line from S Isaiah Pola-Mao. However, the 49ers would stay out of the end zone for only a few more moments, as Purdy delivered a play-action strike to WR Brandon Aiyuk in the back of the end zone from a San Francisco touchdown. Just like that, we are all tied up at 7.

Returning to action in shotgun formation, Stidham and the Raiders got rolling by sending Jacobs up the gut for a 9-yard run. On the next play, Vegas used a little play-action of their own as Stidham hooked up with WR Davante Adams on a post for a gain of 27 yards (into 49er territory). Next, the Raiders got in the power-I and went toss-right to RB Brandon Bolden who added another 9 yards. Now in the red zone, Stidham tried to fit in a tight window pass to Adams, but CB Mooney Ward was there for the pass deflection. Yet, just as the football hit the ground, the back judge tossed a flag on Ward for pass interference, giving Vegas a new set of downs inside the SF 10-yard line. Unfortunately, the 49ers’ stout defense would rally over the next three plays, forcing the Raiders into a short Daniel Carlson field goal. From 20 yards out, Carlson gave Las Vegas a 10-7 lead.

San Francisco’s offense retook the field only to have Purdy’s first pass batted down at the LOS by DT Kyle Peko. Next, another McCaffrey run produced a moderate gain off RT. That’s when the opening quarter’s clock expired.


2nd Quarter


Raiders vs 49ers
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Flipping the field, Purdy’s next pass was a 6-yard completion to TE George Kittle. Then the Raiders proceeded to get flagged for pass interference on back-to-back plays (Moehrig on Kittle followed by Hobbs on Aiyuk). That picked up a crucial 3rd down for San Francisco, giving them new life on the Raiders’ side of the field. Ultimately, the 49ers were sure to take advantage of the gift from Las Vegas. Three plays later, Purdy used his legs to buy time before hitting Kittle in the back-left corner of the end zone. With that, we have our first lead change of the day, and San Francisco leads 14-10.

Now faced with some adversity, Stidham got going by finding Adams along the right sideline for a 5-yard gain. A couple plays later, Stidham displayed fantastic finesse down the field by connecting with Waller up the seam for a completion of 24 yards. Now on S.F.’s side of the field, Stidham got loose on a broken play for an 11-yard scramble (and another Raiders’ 1st down). Next, Jacobs added to his league-leading rushing total by slamming forward for four yards inside the red zone.

When eventually faced with a  3rd & 10 from the SF 11-yard line, Stidham again broke away on a scramble, falling just short of the line to gain. Now at 4th & 1 at the 2-yard line, the Raiders gave Jacobs a shot to blast through into the end zone, but the 49ers’ defensive front was able to gang tackle Jacobs just shy of the goal line, giving us our first turnover of the day. It’s now 49er-ball backed up on their own 1-yard line.

After trying a couple runs up the gut, the 49ers were flagged for offensive holding (T. Williams), pushing them back even closer to their own goal line. When faced with a 3rd & 5, Vegas’ pass rush was finally able to bother Purdy, forcing the young QB to throw the ball away. A cramped, short punt from Mitch Wishnowsky followed, as WR Hunter Renfrow was able to fair catch the ball at the SF 44-yard line. Starting the drive in enemy territory, can the Raiders turn the punt into points?

Coming out in an offset power formation, Las Vegas went right back to Jacobs from a short gain. Now on the other side of the two-minute warning, Stidham came out in an empty formation delivering a strike to the left sideline for a Jacobs’ reception and a 1st down. Next, Stidham found Renfrow on a whip route for another 1st down, and his first reception of the day. Continuing the air attack, Stidham next connected with WR Mack Hollins for a 9-yard gain. That brought up a 3rd & 2 from the SF 8-yard line. From there, Stidham did well to utilize his legs on another broken play, scrambling ahead for a 1st down to the 4-yard line.

What happened next was a work of football art; Out of the gun, Stidham took the snap, dropped back, and lofted a pretty pass in the back-left corner of the end zone where only Adams could come down with it. Like the All-Pro that he is, Adams hauled in the football over C. Ward who was tight in coverage. With only 10 seconds left in the opening half, the Raiders reclaim the lead, up 17-14. Now let’s enjoy a half time show from Raider Nation ambassadors, Ice Cube & Too $hort.


3rd Quarter


Raiders vs 49ers
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

After $hort & Cube brought the house down, the entire building was champing at the bit to get back to football. The 49ers restarted the action on offense, and in what felt like no time at all, went three-and-out. With the lead, the Raiders are getting the ball back after Wishnowsky’s punt was fair caught by Renfrow at the LV 16-yard line.

With the Raiders back on offense, Stidham and his unit came out in the power-I, only for Stidham to fumble the snap. Fortunately for Raider Nation, he was able to recover his own gaff. The next play was not much better, as two free 49er rushers swarmed Stidham right before he was able to throw the football away. From there, the Raiders got going when a WR screen to Renfrow was aided by a facemask penalty on All-Pro LB Fred Warner.

Approaching midfield, the Raiders went back to Jacobs for a 6-yard romp up the middle. Faced next with a 3rd & 4, Adams snuck behind the S.F. secondary and Stidham made sure not to miss him, connecting with the wide receiver for a major 60-yard touchdown! A penalty on the 49ers would be declined, and with that, Vegas makes it a two-score game (now leading 24-14).

The 49ers offense came back out with a Christian McCaffrey emphasis, using a run and a pass to the shift tailback to move the chains on their first series. From there, CMC continued to make plays, hauling in another 1st down catch & run along the left sideline. However, a hold on Kittle on the following play pushed the 49ers back onto their own side of the field. Now facing 1st & 20, Purdy was able to deliver an accurate pass in traffic to WR Jauan Jennings who was tackled by S Duron Harmon just short of the sticks.

From there, HC Kyle Shanahan dialed up a little trickeration, running a WR reverse to Aiyuk that blasted into the red zone. Staying on the ground, Purdy next handed off to McCaffrey, who waltzed through a gaping hole, zooming 14-yard ahead into the end zone. In a flash, the 49ers respond, cutting into Vegas’ lead. Raiders are still up, 24-21.

Unfortunately for Raider Nation, Vegas’ next drive was one of their most forgettable of the entire afternoon. After a stuffed run, an incompletion, and a catch from Adams, the Raiders were forced into a three-and-out. Worth noting, P A.J. Cole’s ensuing punt was a gem, pinning the 49ers inside their own 15-yard line.

San Francisco’s offense came back out to feed their hot hand, McCaffrey. CMC was able to take a short reception and turn it upfield for a sizable gain, but the 49ers were flagged for an illegal man downfield. Immediately after the penalty, Purdy connected with Jennings for a 28-yard pickup, moving onto the Raiders’ side of the field. But just when the 49ers’ momentum was building, Purdy attempted a reverse-boot PA pass to Kittle, who was undercut by a lurking CB Amik Robertson for the clutch interception! In the game’s loudest moment, Robertson gives Raider Nation a reason to roar: Vegas ball, still up 24-21.

Immediately after the pick, Stidham came out firing, hooking up with Waller for a 24-yard reception down the right sideline. Now with their home crowd behind them, the Raiders kept an aggressive approach, bullying ahead for numerous runs from Jacobs, earning a 1st down on the 49ers’ side of the field. That would be the final play of 3Q. Are we in store for another roller coaster 4th quarter? All signs point to yes.


4th Quarter


Raiders vs 49ers
Photo Credit: Chris Unger/Getty Images

On the opening play of 4Q, Stidham had Waller running open deep down the seam, but S.F.’s pass rush was able to deter the QB enough to cause his throw to fall short and incomplete. Next, tragedy struck for the Raiders as Stidham’s following pass was deflected at the LOS by DT Kerry Hyder, only to fall right into the arms of DT Drake Jackson for a 49er interception at midfield. The ball is back with San Francisco, and the intensity is officially dialed all the way up.

Looking to take advantage of the Raiders’ turnover, the 49ers returned to action by running a WR screen to rookie Danny Gray. Next, CMC bulldozed through the middle to move the chains. From there, the 49ers wound up stalling on the Raiders’ side of the field, close enough for K Robbie Gould to trot out and convert a 43-yard field goal. And with just under 13 minutes left to play, this game is all knotted up at 24.

Back on offense, the Raiders went right to the ground-game with Bolden, but found little room to work. On the following play, Stidham did well to avoid the ensuing pass rush and found Hollins along the right sideline for a 1st down. But just when Vegas started rolling, the Raiders were flagged in their next huddle for having 12 men in the group. Now behind the sticks, Stidham went back to Adams only for the All-Pro receiver to be swarmed by Mooney and Jimmie Ward. Then on 3rd down, Stidham narrowly overthrew Adams who got behind the defense again. Talk about a missed opportunity, there. With that, here comes Cole to punt back to S.F. Cole put a major boot into it, but the ball sailed out-of-bounds at the 35-yard line. Now, can the defense pick the team up?

Back with the 49ers, Purdy’s first pass of the series was a drive scheme to McCloud, who was able to burst upfield for a 42-yard pickup. Next, S.F. went right back to McCaffrey who added another positive run. From there, Purdy picked up a 1st down by connecting with Aiyuk at the LV 6-yard line. Yet, the Raiders’ D was able to rally over the next three plays, keeping the 49ers out of the end zone. At that, Gould resurfaced to knock through a short 24-yard field goal. With 6:44 left on the clock, S.F. leads 27-24.

Facing their first deficit since early in the second quarter, the Raiders desperately needed points. Right away, Vegas was able to move the chains when Stidham connected with Moreau for a 21-yard gain up the left side. Now at midfield, Stidham went back to Moreau, this time over the middle for 14 yards and another 1st down. An incompletion then a false start penalty on RT Jermaine Eluemunor followed before Jacobs added a short reception. Facing 3rd & 10 near midfield, Stidham targeted Hollins short middle, but was unsuccessful. At that, Carlson returned to kick a lengthy 57-yard field goal straight through the uprights. With the score now tied at 27, there is just above four minutes left in regulation.

Like Stidham on the previous drive, Purdy wasted no time going downfield. On the second play of the drive, the rookie from Iowa State zipped a dart over the middle to Aiyuk for a gain of 23 yards. What happened next was rather discombobulating for Raider Nation, as McCaffrey took a short pass into the second level before colliding into and spinning around several Vegas defenders down inside the red zone. One play later, RB Jordan Mason burst through the left side for a 14-yard touchdown run. Just like that, the 49ers lead 34-27 with 2:17 on the clock. With two timeouts remaining, did Mason and San Francisco actually score too soon?

On par with his other 4Q drives, Stidham returned to action with intention. On the first play of the drive, he found Hollins over the middle for a pickup of 21 yards. That play then gave way to the two-minute warning. After the break, an incompletion came coupled with a holding penalty on RG Dylan Parham, resulting in a 1st & 20. Now working behind the sticks, Stidham and Adams proceed to hook up for what was one of the most miraculous catches I’ve ever seen live. Floating a ball deep down the right sideline, Adams somehow maneuvered around his defender in coverage, hauling in the pass with a single hand. After a replay review, the catch stood as called: Complete at the SF 19-yard line for a gain of 45  yards.

To make matters even sweeter for Raider Nation, LB Fred Warner was flagged for pass interference on Waller, giving Vegas a fresh set of downs at the 1. On the very next play, Stidham turned and handed to Jacobs who easily blasted through the left side into the end zone. With 1:11 left in 4Q, we are tied again, 34-34.

For the 49ers final drive of the quarter, Purdy set his sights on the speedy Aiyuk. Catching four passes on the drive, the Arizona St. product was able to come away with a key grab when Purdy was hit as he was throwing, causing the football to flutter directly to Aiyuk (despite targeting Kittle). This put the ball all the way down at the LV 23-yard line with only seconds remaining, ultimately sucking the life out of Raider Nation.

But as strange things happen every day, Gould’s ensuing 41-yard field goal was pushed too far right by about seven inches, leaving the game tied at 34 for all zeros on the clock. In a matter of moments, the Raiders are back from the dead, and have all the momentum heading into overtime (their fourth such time this season).




Raiders vs 49ers
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

As often as the Raiders have lost the opening coin toss this year, it seems A.J. Cole has been masterful at calling the OT coin toss. That was the case again on Sunday against S.F. as Vegas won the call and took the ball. With pep in their step, the Raiders first went on the ground to Jacobs who rumbled 9 yards over LG. On the next play, Jacobs popped for 6 more yards rushing before then being stood up on 1st down for no gain. However, the next play would be the eventual demise of the Raiders.

Dropping back to pass, Stidham was rocked by a bull-rushed LT Kolton Miller who was driven back by DPOY candidate Nick Bosa (who was actually held in check for most of the afternoon). The resulting pass fluttered in the air very similar to Purdy’s pass that fell fortuitously to Aiyuk, except it fell into the arms of a defender (S Tashaun Gipson), who then returned the interception 56 yards to the LV 7-yard line–This gut-punching feeling is becoming all too familiar. Two plays later, and Gould easily converts a 23-yard try to send the Raiders officially into elimination: 37-34 (OT) San Francisco is the final score from Las Vegas.




As Raider Nation begins to shift toward a post-Derek Carr epoch, it is clear that there is still fight left in this team. 

And I think that’s one thing the Raiders have had going for them all season long (and last season) is their resiliency. Other than the rotten egg game in NOLA, the remaining nine losses for Las Vegas have all come down to the final possession. In a weird way, I feel that the Raiders are not too dissimilar to the Minnesota Vikings of the NFC North: A team that is 12-4 and playoff bound. Simply put, that’s just how thin the margin of error is in the NFL. At the end of the year, Raider Nation will be extremely frustrated that they know they can compete tooth-for-tooth with the likes of the 49ers or the Chiefs: Two teams that many would have ranked in the top-3 of the entire league. Is this something that McDaniels and Co. can build on in 2023?


All-Pro WR Davante Adams has no intentions of quitting on the Raiders just yet. 

With his collegemate and close personal friend (and recruiter) Derek Carr now distanced from the team, some wondered whether Adams would also sit out the remaining games of the 2022 season, or what sort of effort he would produce. Well, after a two touchdown/153-yard performance (to lead all Week 17 receivers not named Mike Evans) against the 49ers, it is clear that Adams is just as motivated to catch passes for the incumbent, Jarrett Stidham. Adams is a high-character player, so this is really no surprise, but what is in store for his immediate future? At this current moment, the crystal ball is still too foggy to even have a real inkling. But it should be of the most urgent priorities in Las Vegas to retain Adams‘ services as long as possible. Generational talents are exactly that.


For the final game of the 2022-23 season, the Raiders will welcome their fiercest rival – the Kansas City Chiefs – back to Allegiant Stadium. Kickoff in Week 18 is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 7 at 1:30 pm PST and will be nationally televised on ESPN/ABC (local radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

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