49ers Win a Barn-Burner Battle of the Bay - NBC Bay Area


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49ers Win a Barn-Burner Battle of the Bay



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    OAKLAND, CA - AUGUST 28: Frank Gore #21 of the San Francisco 49ers runs against Michael Huff #24 of the Oakland Raiders during an NFL preseason game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on August 28, 2010 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Frank Gore;Michael Huff

    The Battle of the Bay turned into the Battle of the Backups, and the backups put on a heck of a show in Oakland Saturday night.

    David Carr and Bruce Gradkowski assumed the roles of Johnny Unitas and Otto Graham, turning garbage time into gold for a highly entertaining preseason duel that went to the 49ers, 28-24.

    Jason Campbell's opening drive won the hearts and eye patches of new his hometown fans. He was 4-for-4 on a nine-play, 81-yard drive, highlighted by a 34-yard pass to fullback Marcel Reese. When's the last time you saw a 34-yard completion to a fullback?

    Michael Bush capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run, his first of the preseason.

    Frank Gore's 2010 debut was kind of a mixed bag. He tore up the Raiders' defense for a 49-yard romp on his very first attempt. On his second attempt, he fumbled. Gore finished with three carries for 58 yards.

    Gore could be seen apologizing profusely to his teammates after the fumble, but NFL statisticians guys credited the fumble to Alex Smith. Gore finished with three carries for 58 yards.

    But the Niner Faithful may have found another new scoring hero. Rookie and seventh-round draft pick Phillip Adams -- who is a defensive back, by the way -- took a turn returning punts and dashed 81 yards for a touchdown to put the 49ers ahead 10-7.

    The evening's most significant development was the blind side thrashing Jason Campbell took from 49er linebacker Travis LaBoy. Campbell had a neck stinger and was forced to leave the game.

    Bruce Gradkowski stepped right in for Campbell, and hit Louis Murphy for a 74-yard touchdown on his very second throw.

    The 49ers' No. 2 quarterback David Carr was handed the keys at halftime with a 17-14 lead.  He would complete only one pass all quarter, while the Raiders went ahead on another Gradkowski TD and a 57-yard field goal by Sebastian Janikowski. Polish-American Raiders fans were just loving life.

    But with 10:15 remaining in the fourth and down 24-20, Carr came through with a sloppy but effective drive that chowed nearly eight whole minutes off the clock. Carr got pummeled like he was still a Houston Texan on a particular scramble, but stayed composed and had the 49ers inside the one-yard line at the two-minute warning.

    Anthony Dixon got the winning score on a one-yard run.

    Gradkowski threw a picture-perfect bomb with 1:14 left that would have won the game, but Todd Watkins couldn't hold on.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who is selling his ticket to Burning Man just so he can stay here and watch David Carr play some more exhibition football.