Preseason begins for NFL

Louis LaVenture,

For football enthusiasts, it is the best time of the year.

The NFL preseason kicked off last week and both of our local teams, the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers, finally got to hit another team after long couple months of training camp competing for roster spots with team- mates. Here is how both teams faired.

Oakland Raiders

Despite the starters only playing two series in the first preseason game in Arizona against the Cardinals, the silver and black dominated their first action of the 2016-2017 season. Oakland jumped out to a 17-3 lead after a dominant first quarter en route to a 31-10 mauling of the Cardinals.

George Atkinson III, a third-year running back from Concord and son of former Raider George Atkinson, provided the highlights of the game for Oakland. Atkinson III scored 2 touchdowns on just 5 carries for 97 total yards. His first score came on a 53-yard run where Atkinson III beat the defense to the corner and turned up field running past everybody.

With limited action for the starters, it was the reserves who got their chance to play and impress. Defenders Cory James, Korey Toomer and James Cowser all made big plays during the contest and made a case to make the team, which must be down to 53 players after the final week of the preseason on Sept. 4, before the regular season begins.

Oakland will travel to Green bay to take on the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin.

San Francisco 49ers

Despite a rocky start for the San Francisco 49ers, they bounced back and made their first preseason game a close contest.

San Francisco eventually lost 24-13 to the Houston Texans on Sunday in Santa Clara at Levi’s Stadium, but overcame an early mistake. On the 49ers first possession, they fumbled and a Texans defender returned the miscue for a touchdown to give Houston an early 7-0 lead.

However, new coach Chip Kelly and his offense racked up 302 yards in the first half and 409 total but managed just 1 touchdown and 13 points. Apparent starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert found veteran tight end Vance McDonald on a short pass that McDonald turned into a 49-yard score.

Gabbert finished the game 4-for-10 passing with 63 yards and a touchdown. It was his backup on the day, veteran Thad Lewis who impressed before he suffered a leg injury on a scramble in the third quarter. Lewis finished the game 12-for-21 with 97 yards.

San Francisco will have to travel to Denver to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos on Saturday.