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Raiders dent 49ers' playoff hopes in stunner

San Francisco's season is on the brink of extinction after the 49ers (7-6) imploded in a 24-13 loss to the Oakland Raiders (2-11) on Sunday. Our takeaways:

  1. Give the Raiders their due. Instead of folding the tent against their Bay Area rivals, Oakland played its finest game of the year on defense and rode a three-touchdown day from Derek Carr to dial up Sunday's biggest upset. Two years removed from the Super Bowl, Jim Harbaugh's squad looks nothing like a playoff team. They'll struggle to sneak into the postseason with tilts against the Chargers and Cardinals after next week's must-win rematch with the Seahawks.
  1. San Francisco's fan base doesn't want to hear this, but the Niners lack any sense of identity on offense. After bottoming out against the Seahawks on Thanksgiving, Colin Kaepernick and friends struggled to consistently move the ball while squeezing out just 4.4 yards per play. Throwing for just 174 yards, Colin Kaepernick's game-management skills were questionable, with the 49ers passer taking five sacks and drawing multiple delay-of-game calls. Once the NFL's most creative attack, the Niners are tough to watch this season.
  1. As Chris Wesseling noted in his fine post on the struggles of running quarterbacks, five NFL decision-makers recently told The Sideline View's John Middlekauff that they would rather have Carr than Kaepernick. Hard to blame them after what we saw Sunday. The Raiders rookie showed incredible poise on an 11-play, 80-yard scoring march that sealed the game away in the final quarter. It was rewarding to see the young passer patiently go through his progressions to hit on 22 of 28 passes for 254 yards.
  1. Play of the game for Oakland? How about big-bodied offensive tackle Donald Penn hauling in a 3-yard touchdown pass from Carr to carve out a 10-7 lead in the second quarter. Here's the behemoth in action:
  1. Mychal Rivera sizzled. The Raiders tight end recorded the first 100-yard day of his career with a seven-catch, 109-yard afternoon. He used his size to dominate reserve cornerback Leon McFadden for his key fourth-quarter touchdown grab

The latest Around The NFL Podcast recaps every Sunday game from Week 14 and discusses the Seahawks' return to Super Bowl form. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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