Raiders try to keep banged-up 49ers at bay
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There's a lot at stake when the San Francisco 49ers host the Oakland Raiders on Thursday, but for all the wrong reasons.
The 49ers (1-7) and Raiders (1-6) -- along with the New York Giants (1-7) -- are the front-runners to claim the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL draft.
But first, the Bay Area clubs meet for the final time before Oakland moves to Las Vegas.
"I know it means a lot to our fans," Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said. "I know it means a lot to everybody. So of course we want to go out and win this game. That's every week. But we know how much it means to our fans and how excited they get for it. We're aware of that, but it doesn't change anything for us. We have to go out and just play well."
Carr is completing 72 percent of his passes, but 10 touchdowns, eight interceptions and 17 sacks are more of an indication of the rough season he and the Raiders are having.
But at least Oakland has an established quarterback.
San Francisco is prepared to go with Nick Mullens under center Thursday as C.J. Beathard, who took over after Jimmy Garoppolo sustained a season-ending knee injury in Week 3, injured his right thumb and wrist during the second quarter of Sunday's 18-15 loss at Arizona.
"C.J. (Beathard) would be good if we were playing on Sunday," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday after giving his players Monday off. "But it's going to be a test for Thursday."
Beathard credited adrenaline for having gotten him through the rest of the game.
"My wrist and thumb are kind of messed up," Beathard said Tuesday, holding up his right arm to show a soft cast that was applied despite the fact that X-rays were negative. "Hopefully (Wednesday) it will feel a lot better."
Asked if he expected to be ready to go by Thursday, Beathard said: "I'm hoping so. Yeah."
Mullens, a former Southern Mississippi standout who was on the 49ers' practice squad all last season, has never taken an NFL regular-season snap. He was 31 of 43 for 396 yards against mostly second- and third-stringers in the preseason with one touchdown pass and three interceptions.
"(He is) as ready as you can be," Shanahan said. "Nick's a very smart guy who works at it nonstop. He'll be able to go in there and execute the offense and knows what he's doing.
"I thought he played well in the preseason. Nick comes in there, moves the chains, competes hard, made some plays with his legs and his arm. Guys believe in him and he's as competitive and confident as a guy I've been around. If he needs to play this week, he'll be on it."
The 49ers have recently signed Tom Savage as their No. 3 quarterback and he'll likely serve as Mullens' backup should Beathard be ruled out.
Oakland is coming off a 42-28 loss to Indianapolis on Sunday as it steamrolls toward bringing a high draft pick with it to Sin City.
Carr threw three touchdown passes and rushed for another -- his first career score as a runner -- but Oakland blew 20-13 and 28-21 leads.
The Raiders have taken plenty of heat the last couple weeks for trading All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack and wide receiver Amari Cooper, and for placing running back Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve with a decent chunk of the season left.
But they were happy with their offensive performance against the Colts and hope it carries over Thursday.
"I think it reaffirmed in our heads that if we just do our job, we can do this," Carr said. "Even if we don't have Marshawn or Coop. If everyone just does our job and wins against the guy they're going against, we can do some good things. Hopefully guys continue to study and hopefully guys continue to learn and compete their tails off.
"We want to score some points and win some games. It definitely showed us that if we do those things, we can do it."
Oakland, which is last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (144.7 per game), leads the series 7-6 with the home team winning the last three meetings.
Updated October 30, 2018