LAS VEGAS — The 49ers didn’t start the new year the same way they closed out 2022.
But after eight straight wins, this might have been the kind of game the 49ers needed to fully prepare for the pressure of the NFL playoffs.
Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Christian McCaffrey helped the 49ers to a 37-34 overtime victory over the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
Robbie Gould redeemed a failed field goal attempt at the end of regulation with a 23-yard field goal after a Tashawn Gipson interception and 56-yard return. Gould’s kick was with 6:53 left in ten minutes of extra time.
The 49ers (12-4) advanced to the NFC’s second playoff seed heading into the final week of the regular season. They own a conference tiebreak against the Minnesota Vikings (12-4) who lost to the Green Bay Packers.
Here are three points from the 49ers’ game against the Raiders in Week 17.
Purdy faces NFL adversity for the first time
The 49ers haven’t lost in any of Purdy’s first three starts. What he got in his fourth start was his first come-from-behind victory.
The 49ers were trailing 7-3 when Purdy entered the Week 13 game against the Miami Dolphins. They led on Purdy’s first drive and haven’t trailed in any games since.
That changed against the Raiders.
He led the drive down the field at the end of regulation with 12, 18, 11 and 11 yard completions for Brandon Ayuk. Kicker Robbie Gould missed a 41-yard field goal try to right as time expired in regulation.
Purdy completed 22 of 35 passes for 284 yards and had two touchdowns with one interception. He marched 75 yards on his 5 plays for the 49ers go-ahead TD, and he was in control when running back Jordan Mason scored on his 14-yard run.
The 49ers trailed 24-14 in the third quarter, forcing Purdy to catch up. And with the 49ers trailing late in the third quarter, George Purdy’s deep his pass to Kittle was intercepted by Raiders defensive back Ami Miklo Bartson.
However, the 49ers got the ball back shortly after with a Drake Jackson interception and settled for a Gould field goal to tie the game at 24.
Purdy got off to a good start in Las Vegas. He threw two touchdown passes each in his first four games and connected with Ayuk and Kittle in the first half, so it didn’t take long for him to equal that average Sunday. It was the second touchdown throw to Ayuk and the fifth touchdown throw to Kittle.
A tough day for the NFL’s top defense
This should have been a mismatch.
The Raiders turned to No. 2 quarterback Jarrett Stidham after ousting Derek Carr for the rest of the season.
It was speculated that Raiders coach Josh McDaniels had folded with two games to go. But it didn’t seem that way from the start.
In his first start of his four-year NFL career, Stidham played well until Gipson’s interception in overtime. Nick Bosa forced a bad throw under pressure.
The 49ers entered the game, averaging a league-lowest 290.3 yards. Las Vegas gained 134 yards in his first 15 minutes. That’s the most yards the Raiders have totaled in the first quarter of a game this season.
Stidham and the Raiders continued to work out the 49ers’ defense until the end of the first half. Stidham capped it off with a fine four-yard fade to Davante his Adams, who made a beautiful catch in the end his zone against tight cover from 49ers cornerback Chervali Ward.
The 49ers entered Sunday’s game and allowed 100+ yards rushing only three times this season. At halftime, the Raiders had 20 carries and he gained 101 yards.
The Raiders then took advantage of one of many blown assignments in the 49ers’ secondary to start the second half as Adams went free for a 60-yard touchdown reception.
The 49ers entered the game and posted NFL lows of 290.3 yards and 15.3 points per game. But the Raiders (6-10) piled up 500 total yards and could have taken advantage of the 49ers’ weakness in pass defense.
Stidham finished 22 of 34 passes for 365 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
McCaffrey surpasses Craig’s six-year record
The 49ers are done with the whole concept of scaling back on Christian McCaffrey with a playoff spot already secured for the team.
McCaffrey was the centerpiece of San Francisco’s offense on Sunday as the team hit the accelerator with the No. 2 seed in front of them.
The All-Pro running back carried the ball 19 times for 121 yards and one touchdown and had six receptions for 72 yards.
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McCaffrey got off to a hot start with a 37-yard run in third-and-third situations on the 49ers’ first drive of the game to set up a touchdown. He scored his TD run of his 14 yards and pulled his 49ers within 3 points of him in the 3rd quarter.
McCaffrey’s 38-yard catch-and-run set up Jordan Mason’s go-ahead TD with 2:17 left in regulation.
His second reception in a game was the 435th of his career, surpassing former 49ers star Roger Craig’s mark for most receptions for a running back in his first six seasons. In his six seasons since Craig entered the NFL in 1983 he has achieved 434 receptions.
Also in 1983, Craig became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards and receive for 1,000 yards. He recorded a league-high 92 catches for 1,016 yards.
McCaffrey joined the 1,000-1,000 club alongside Craig and Marshall Faulk in 2019 when he rushed for 1,387 yards and caught 1,005 receiving yards for the Carolina Panthers.