Andy Lee

The Raiders, the 49ers, and punting

If you happen to be a “Bay Area” fan, and who isn’t (Get your 1/2 Giants, 1/2 A’s hat out, kids), this is the best season of football we’ve had since 2002. Both teams are in the playoff hunt! Can you feel the excitement? Let’s hear a Sabercat growl!!!!!

The Raiders have the better record (7-7) and the best RB tandem in football, other than maybe Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs (but I’d rather take McBushen when they’re healthy).

The 49ers (5-9) are mostly known for a coach who’s had no control over his team from the first preseason minicamp on, and a quarterback situation that everyone east of Lake Tahoe ceased caring about two months ago.

Both teams have excellent punters.

The Raiders’ problem is that when they faced the 49ers, in a game which was a true puntfest (Shane Lechler averaged 53.5 yds/pt on 6 punts, and Andy Lee averaged 43.3 yds/pt on 8 punts), their offense looked positively Niner-like. They allowed the 49ers’ oh-my-God-we-need-a-win desperation to prevail in a game where the Raiders were blessed with more talent — even without McFadden, who was injured. Both teams  punted all game long on that dreary afternoon at Candlestick Park, and at the end, although we didn’t know it then, the Raiders punted their playoff hopes away.

The Raiders’ and the 49ers’ fortunes have been intertwined all season, and why wouldn’t they? Their stadiums are within a 30-130 minute drive of one another, and their divisions were pitted against each other this season. So it was had to drive the Raiders crazy that while they got to .500 yesterday with a nice little win against the first of at least 50 Tim Tebow starts for the Broncos (you know it’s coming, they probably already have the “Play 60” commercial scripts written with Tebow in mind for next season … if there IS a next season), the 49ers were inching as slowly as ever toward the playoffs with Kansas City’s win over St. Louis and Seattle’s continued plunge into the abyss.

The 49ers can also thank the Raiders for beating both the Rams and the Seahawks this season. Every little bit counts!

And all the silvuh and black have is themselves to blame for having worse playoff positioning than the Niners, because they punted their own season away when they couldn’t beat their 0-5 cross-bay rivals in one of the sloppiest, most pathetic games of the year. Seriously, this game was so bad I was GLAD I had to go pick up my wife at the Oakland Airport (I live in San Francisco) during the second half.

There’s something blatantly unfair about this, like Ray Guy still not being voted into the Hall of Fame. The 49ers haven’t done anything right in years, and seem to be going backward. Still, their games are “sold out.” The Raiders, who could only be watched on RedZone yesterday around here, need one win to guarantee themselves a better record than the Niners — the same Niners who have lost more games by 20+ points this season than any other team. If you’re a Raiders fan, it’s enough to make you punt your remote control out the window. Lord knows it won’t help you watch the Raiders play at home.

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