What it means: The 49ers can finally exhale. They won a game. They were not going to go 0-16, but it felt like they might until Sunday. And yet very little about this performance suggested the 49ers had turned a corner or fixed the problems that have held them back this season. They were the lesser of two evils in this game and that will have to suffice for now. It sure beat the alternative.
What I liked: Frank Gore carried 25 times for 149 yards, bouncing back from an uncharacteristically poor performance against Philadelphia. Quarterback Alex Smith tossed two touchdown passes without an interception, but he completed only 16 of 33 attempts and the offense was far from efficient. Gore's 25 carries sustained the 49ers. He hadn't carried that many times since getting 28 carries against Detroit late last season.
What I didn't like: The 49ers had to scratch and claw for this victory even though they held Raiders quarterback Jason Campbell to 83 yards passing and a 10.7 rating. It just shouldn't be this tough for the 49ers. They held a 349-179 advantage in total yardage. Oakland managed only 10 first downs. San Francisco still needed a touchdown pass with 7:14 remaining to afford any sort of breathing room.
Rookie comparison: The 49ers' Michael Crabtree caught four passes for 57 yards, with a 32-yarder for a touchdown. The Raiders' Darrius Heyward-Bey had three catches for 19 yards, with no reception longer than 8 yards. Crabtree should outperform Heyward-Bey because he plays in an offense with more weapons. But there's also little evidence the Raiders made the right choice when they selected Heyward-Bey over Crabtree in the first round of the 2009 draft.
What's next: The 49ers visit Carolina in Week 7.