Derek Carr gave Colin Kaepernick a lesson in how to play quarterback as the 1-ll Raiders shocked the 49ers with a 24-13 win at the O.co Coliseum on Sunday. Unfortunately for the Niners, Kaepernick seems to be a slow learner.
This was definitely Carr's coming-out game. Though the rookie had played well earlier, coaches had told him he often left the pocket too early when the defensive pressure came. Not Sunday. He stayed in the pocket, always keeping his focus downfield until a receiver came open. One time, he looked away from his preferred target, spotted Mychal Rivera in the middle of the field and hit him for a big gain.
With that newfound presence, Carr guided the Raiders to a long touchdown drive just before the end of the first half and then two more long touchdown drives in the second half, the last one sealing the victory.
Kaepernick? He threw an interception on his first pass and his last one. Neither was close to a receiver and the last one was so far off target, Charles Woodson had to dive forward to catch it just above the ground.
So, it's clear that Carr is going to join the list of top Raiders quarterbacks, which includes Jim Plunkett, who won two Super Bowls but, mysteriously, is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It's also clear that Kaepernick is regressing. The Niners brought in extra receivers this season, hoping for a dynamic passing game, but that kind of offense needs a consistency at quarterback.
More and more, it seems that Kaepernick peaked as a quarterback in his first season, when other teams didn't know what to expect from him. As I wrote last week, he's not a quarterback. The 49ers probably should look for a quarterback in the draft — the college game is heavy with top prospects because of the emphasis on wide-open offenses — and shift Kaepernick to running back, where he could probably be very effective.
For the Raiders, Sunday's win was a much-needed morale booster, especially after they didn't show up last week in St. Louis. That game aside, they've generally played hard in most games but didn't seem to be able to put together a strong defensive and offensive effort in the same game. Sunday they did, which should give them some momentum going into next season.
The win also probably bought some time for general manager Reggie McKenzie because the Raiders got good play from the top two players he drafted this year and veteran free agents he signed. The question remains of who the next coach will be, though interim coach Tony Sparano has had the team playing hard, except for the atrocious effort in St. Louis.
For the 49ers, it ended their playoff hopes. The two teams ahead of them, Arizona and Seattle, both won and they still have to face the Seahawks in Seattle this week. The Seahawks crushed them on Thanksgiving at Levi's Stadium. Only the hardiest of 49ers fans could believe they'll win in Seattle.
So, the rumors surrounding the future of coach Jim Harbaugh will no doubt get even hotter and more ridiculous because there's nothing else to be said about the 2014 team.
Glenn Dickey has been covering Bay Area sports since 1963 and also writes on www.GlennDickey.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.