Another strong showing overall for the 49er rookies. I could honestly see all their draft picks making the team. These grades are not on a curve, a "C" will mean that the player played as well as an average NFL starter/special teamer for this game, so a "C" is not a bad grade for a rookie.
Anthony Davis - May have taken a step forward in pass protection, but he also may have just had a more favorable match-up in Henderson over Mathis. Davis is still engaging with his head in pass protection instead of using his hands, the difference is that this week it worked. His feet also looked faster this week, again it may just be that he wasn't playing against Mathis. His run blocking was solid, but he did get one offside penalty.
Grade: C+ : the positives this week were slightly better than the negatives, he did a good job of riding his guy out on pass plays and didn't make any glaring mistakes.
Mike Iupati - Another strong showing, also worth noting that the 1st team 49er offensive line as a whole won the battle on the line. They didn't push the best defensive front in the league around, but they held them at the point and gave their running back a chance for success. On passing plays Smith had as much time as you can ask for to execute allowing them a nice opening drive TD. Iupati continues to look very..very..strong. He did however look (Cue 70s sitcom music) Lost In Space and missed picking up an inside blitz, he was also called for a holding play and than made to "Go to confession" by Father "Flanigan" Singletary.
Grade: C+: So the bad news was a couple small mental errors, the good news is that Iupati held his own against 1/2 of the best interior line in the league (One Williams played the other didn't).
Anthony Dixon - Dixon didn't have nearly as strong a showing week two that he had week one and he reminded me that he is in fact NOT Frank Gore. If you ever find yourself on a road trip with Frank Gore and you come to a fork in the road do NOT guess which way to go..first ask Frank, because Frank ALWAYS chooses the right way to go. Gore is the best in the game at reading blocks and one of the best all time as far as vision and decision making. Dixon has a ways to go. I cannot emphasize enough that Dixon received good enough blocking to have success this game, but he seemed to repeatedly run into the only guy who could tackle him. Just a bad day of decision making, but he continued to play hard, and run hard. He did do some things well. His pass protection was solid as he picked up a blitz that allowed a long completion.
Grade: D+ : This would be a below average showing for a starting running back. I honestly think that with the exact same blocking Gore would have averaged 5 yards per carry. I think given another shot at the same blocking, Dixon would have also done much better, sometimes a guy is just off.. Dixon did do other things well and didn't make any "rookie" mistakes, but the primary job of a RB is to gain yards from scrimmage and Dixon didn't make the most of his carries this week.
Nate Bynam - Byham had another very strong showing and did everything asked of him. He played a couple snaps at FB and picked up a blitz. His in line blocking from the TE position was fine and he continues to surprise as an option in the passing game where he's a load to bring down with a full head of steam. The only thing he could have done was make the catch when he got drilled on a high pass, but it would have been an amazing catch had he held on.
Grade: B+ : To contextualize this grade, I'm grading Bynam as a blocking TE/FB/H-Back not as a TE1. The only thing that kept him from having a "perfect" game was the one dropped pass. Byham continues to impress.
Taylor Mays - We got our first taste of what Mays can bring to the table when he put a big hit to drive a Viking receiver out of bounds for an incomplete pass. The hit was completely clean but very hard and Mays looked around like he may have been expecting a flag, rightfully none came. Mays also had coverage on one complete pass, it wasn't bad coverage though. He showcased his speed from the "Gunner" position getting there first on a punt play, but missing the Tackle. This isn't a terrible thing though because often when the return man has to make a hard lateral move to miss the first guy it sets the next guy down up for a tackle, as was the case on this play.
Grade: C+ : No glaring mistakes and a couple positive plays, I can't wait for Mays to have a breakout game because he seems to have all the tools to be dominant.
NaVorro Bowman - Got pressure and a QB hit on a stunt up the middle but honestly it looked like if he had run a shade faster it could have been a sack. Bowman doesn't appear to have blazing speed, he's fast for a LB..maybe just not as fast as I had hoped. His play was solid though. He looked decent in coverage and recorded a few tackles but he was also flagged on a punt for illegal man down field.
Grade: C : Solid first showing with no flashes of brilliance and one small mistake. We'll have to see if he gets "faster" when he gets more comfortable in the system.
Phillip Adams - Adams got in for most of the second half and the Vikings wish he hadn't. He was all over the field, breaking up several passes and making another several tackles. At least for the second half of his first preseason game, Adams was a star.
Grade: A - : Had he held onto a fourth quarter interception I'd drop the minus, not much more you can ask from him.