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Bay Area’s NFL Teams Face their Growing Pains

Ishaan Khemani, Staff Writer

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The Niners and Raiders both have started off this season with losing records after major changes to both team’s players and staff.

The San Francisco Forty Niners start with three wins, all at home, four consecutive losses, and two more against the Seahawks and the Rams.When the season started, fans did not know what to expect of the team, losing 14 players to retirement or other teams along with the removal of Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Now heading into the 9th week  The team has shown signs of strengths and weaknesses.

After what seemed to be a promising start against the Vikings, 20-3,  in the opening game  the Niner’s headed south losing three games being two touchdowns or more away from the opponent. . One against the Arizona Cardinals started off with two pick sixes thrown by Colin Kaepernick within the first 6 minutes of the game.  Problems like a weak offensive line, uncomfortable  quarterback, slow defense, and predictable running offense became evident very quickly.

After re-evaluating the team’s game, they came back  in the fifth week, playing  the New York Giants which came down to one touchdown, losing by only 3 points, 30-27. The team’s game play was evidently different. The offense especially stepping up with deeper passes to wide receivers Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, and Bruce Ellington all having above 35 yards.

Against the Baltimore Ravens in week 6, San Francisco  brought a strong offense again to Levi’s stadium winning by five points, 25-20. This game showed a little more of Kaepernick’s confidence in his arm, which wasn’t displayed in earlier games, this included a 76 yard touchdown pass to Torri Smith early in the second quarter.

In the last game against the Atlanta Falcons, the Niners benched Kaepernick, playing Blaine Gabbert, released Vernon Davis and Jarryd Hayne (he was later admitted back to a practice squad), and won without Anquan Boldin, Carlos Hyde, and Reggie Bush due to injuries. Some people think this could mean re-thinking our first string quarterback, some suggest it was a lucky game.

The Forty Niners have shown signs of improvement in the second and third last games after a rugged start. The players still are at question for the upcoming games. Vernon Davis, tight end, was taken off the injured roster after week 5 but still did not play against Baltimore.

The first three running backs on the team are injured or have been released Jarryd Hayne, former Australian Rugby star showed a great potential in the preseason but has turned up below par runs and punt returns resulting in him being released.  Another running back, Reggie Bush has had only four attempts with Niners with a total of seven yards.

With seven games left in the season, the Niners don’t have a lot of time to make up the slow start they have taken off with this season and recover from the big losses against teams like the Seahawks and the players like Vernon Davis

The Oakland Raiders have come up with different results but a similar start to their season having won and lost three games but facing team problems.  They also have a new Head Coach Jack Del Rio and many new players that are being tested on the team.

The Raiders started their season with a devastating loss against the Bengals, 33-13, but came back the next week to defeat the Ravens 37-33 and again the next week against the Browns 27-20. Derek Carr passing for over 315 yards and Amari Cooper receiving over  100 yards in both games.

After the two wins the raiders played the Chicago Bears and then the Denver Broncos losing by less than one touchdown in both cases.

It was evident in these games that some of the players were struggling. One very important player Clive Walford, tight end was not getting enough passes for him to be useful. Also J’Marcus Webb, seems to be struggling with the transition from tackle to guard giving up three sacks in five games

In week 6, the team had a week off, giving their coaches and players some time to come back with a  win against their rivals the San Diego Chargers, 37-29.

Against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Raiders brought it down to the last few seconds of the fourth quarter with only a field goal differential of 35-38.

With both bay area teams fighting to grow out of their young coaching and on field mistakes, the two west coast units face week 9 in hopes to bring success to their franchises.

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Bay Area’s NFL Teams Face their Growing Pains