Chalk it up to a post-Thanksgiving malaise.
Colin Kaepernick, whose holiday game against the Seahawks was as rough as any outing in his career, still was in a stupor at the start of today's contest. His first pass was intercepted, his first run resulted in a seven-yard loss and, for good, measure, he was hit with a delay-of-game penalty and was sacked early on as well.
But he and the 49ers offense started to at least emerge from their funk on the third drive.
Thanks to a booming Andy Lee punt that flipped the field position in the game, Kaepernick took over at his own 40-yard line, then hit Vernon Davis for a 23-yard pass, the tight end's biggest gain since Week 1.
Davis' disappearance from the 49ers offense had been a story line as the team struggled in recent weeks. So was a lack of creativity and a lack of running from Kaepernick.
The first half featured some of all three.
A surprise handoff to receiver Anquan Boldin on San Francisco's third drive gained only four yards. But the next time Boldin lined up in the backfield, Kaepernick hit him with a nice touch pass that put the 49ers on the 8-yard line.
From there, Kaepernick found fullback Bruce Miller for an easy touchdown pass. It was just Miller's second receiving touchdown, the first one coming during his rookie season in 2011.
On the final drive of the half, Kaepernick had runs of 17 and 16 yards. He also hit Boldin on two crucial throws, the second of which was a 20 yarder across the middle that was reminiscent of Boldin's big catch two weeks ago against Washington.
That drive set up a 52-yard field goal from Phil Dawson that tied the game 10-10. An earlier 54-yard Dawson field goal was wiped out by a holding penalty.
Kaepernick went to the locker room 9-16 for 101 and with a 70.1 passer rating.
The 49ers' defense, meanwhile, managed to hold the Raiders to a 57-yard field goal following Kaepernick's interception. But they also allowed a long drive that ended with a surprise, four-yard touchdown pass to Okalnd offensive tackle Donald Penn. It was Penn's third career score and the second vs. San Francisco. He also had a touchdown on Nov. 21, 2010.
On defense, Dan Skuta – not Ahmad Brooks – started the game at left outside linebacker while rookie Aaron Lynch entered the game on passing downs. It's the first game in four seasons that Brooks has not started.
He had a sideline spat last month in a game during the Giants when he was taken out of the game. His actions led to him being benched for the second half of the contest. During today's game, Brooks has stood passively on the sideline or sat on the team's bench.
Also on defense, the 49ers lost cornerback Chris Culliver during the Raiders touchdown drive. He was carted off the field with an injury to his left knee, the same one that was surgically repaired (ACL) last year and cost him the 2013 season.
With Tramaine Brock (hamstring) already out for the game, the 49ers remaining cornerbacks are Perrish Cox, rookie Dontae Johnson and Leon McFadden, who began the season on the practice squad.
Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.