Gradkowski almost saves the day

The Oakland Raiders weren’t able to overcome the big plays they allowed to the San Francisco 49ers Saturday night, losing 28-24 in their third preseason game of 2010. In the end, it was the 49ers’ final drive that lasted 8:31 and resulted in a touchdown and two-point conversion to ice the contest.

The Raiders played as if they were riding a roller coaster — sometimes up and sometimes down. Jason Campbell led the Raiders on their first possession by going 4-4 for 67 yards and setting up a Michael Bush one-yard plunge in the end zone. Campbell’s two best passes were to Darrius Heyward-Bey for 22 yards and then a deep pass to Marcel Reece for 34 yards.

Heyward-Bey, who was selected in front of the 49ers’ Michael Crabtree in the 2009 draft, had three catches for 46 yards. Crabtree didn’t play in the game.

Late in the second quarter, the Raiders were given a scare. Jason Campbell, 6-8 for 93 yards, went down with a neck stinger after Travis LaBoy was able to get around Mario Henderson and tackle the Raiders’ starting quarterback around the neck. Campbell laid on the field for several minutes and the team sent out the carts to carry him off the field, but Campbell was able to walk to the cart with help and leave the game.

After the game, Campbell said, “I couldn’t really feel a lot because it was down the back of my neck a little bit. We went to get it X-rayed to see what’s going on.” Most likely, Campbell will miss the final preseason game and be ready for the season opener on September 12.

Bruce Gradkowski came in with the Raiders down 17-7 and threw a laser to Louis Murphy, who had gotten behind safety Reggie Smith. Murphy caught the pass in stride and streaked for a 74-yard touchdown to get the Raiders within striking distance with 40 seconds remaining in the first half.

On the Raiders’ first possession of the second half, the receivers had trouble holding onto Gradkowski’s passes. With the Raiders on their own 45, and needing four yards on second down, Louis Murphy dropped an easy first down. On the next play, Zach Miller let the ball slip out of his hands, but luckily for the Raiders, a 49ers defender was called offsides to give them a first down. On first and 10, DHB got into the act with a drop of his own. All three balls should have been caught.

Both DHB and Zach Miller would redeem themselves on that drive. On third and 15 from the Raiders’ 45, DHB caught 17-yard pass for the first down. Miller would later catch a 27-yard strike for the go-ahead touchdown, making the score 21-17.

After the 49ers kicked a field goal to bring the score to 21-20, the Raiders’ possession stalled at San Francisco’s 40 yard line. That didn’t stop Tom Cable from calling on his big-legged kicker, Sebastian Janikowski. From the middle of the infield, Janikowski launched a 57-yard field goal to put the Raiders up by four, 24-20.

The 49ers would take up most of the fourth quarter by driving 80 yards on 16 plays for the game-winning score.

The Raiders next play Seattle at the Coliseum, Thursday evening at 7:00 PM.

  • Michael Bush may lose his starting job, but it won’t be because of his performance. Bush left the game with a broken left thumb and his prognosis is yet to be determined. When asked if he’d miss the opener, Bush replied, “I’ll find out tomorrow or when I go in and talk to ‘em and see what’s going on.
  • Desmond Bryant wasn’t able to finish the game also. He left with what Tom Cable called, “an elbow issue.
  • DB Joey Thomas suffered a concussion during the game. He’s a long shot to make the team, so it shouldn’t make any difference on the team for the start of the season.

Check back later for a more detailed recap.