San Francisco’s running game was the talk of the town on Tuesday morning, as the 49ers curb-stomped the Cleveland on Monday Night Football, 31-3. Kyle Shanahan’s offense was cooking something special against the Browns, racking up over 446 total yards, including 275 of them on the ground. How did all the different position groups grade out in their fourth-straight win to open the season?
Offensive Play Calling — A
Head coach Kyle Shanahan was running circles around Browns’ defensive coordinator Steve Wilks on Monday night. Shanahan called 71 plays, including 40 rushing attempts for a whopping 275 yards.
The 49ers’ play-caller mixed in a variety of runs to five different offensive players, including tight end George Kittle. San Francisco averaged 6.3 yards per play on offense, and it never seemed like the Browns’ defense had a chance of stopping the 49ers.
The best story of the night came from left tackle Joe Staley, who claimed that Shanahan called “touchdown” and turned and walked away on the George Kittle touchdown before the ball was even snapped.
Quarterback — B
Before everyone starts to slander this grade, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was more than sufficient on Monday night, but his play was definitely one of the weaknesses on offense.
Early in the game, the Browns turned over the ball twice, and the 49ers punted after a three-and-out the first time, and then the 49ers missed a field goal after three plays. Both of those drives ended as a result of the 49ers’ passing offense being unable to move the ball through the air.
Garoppolo only completed 20 passes for a total of 182 yards — but should he be blamed if the 49ers’ offense didn’t really need him?
Running Backs — A+
San Francisco’s running offense is really turning heads — starting from the opening 83-yard touchdown run from running back Matt Breida. The 49ers nearly had two 100-yard rushers between Breida and tailback Tevin Coleman.
The most important member of the 49ers’ running backs room is fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Shanahan’s proven that he can get the most out of any running back that plays for him, but Juszczyk has been vital in opening up lanes for the runners. His blocking has been spectacular so far, and he’s truly become a Swiss-army knife for this offense.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends — B-
Again, should this position group really get a lower grade because the 49ers’ rushing offense was carrying the load?
Wideouts Deebo Samuel and Dante Pettis had key drops that lower this overall grade. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was probably the best receiver for the 49ers, while Kittle was spectacular in all facets of the game. Goodwin and Kittle combined for nine catches on 12 targets for 121 yards and one touchdown.
Offensive Line — A-
Without their best offensive lineman in left tackle Joe Staley, the 49ers’ front five did an outstanding job. They faced one of the better pass rushes in the league, featuring linebackers Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon and managed to keep them fairly quiet.
San Francisco’s front line only gave up two sacks on the evening and cleared gaping holes for the running backs to run through. Although they’re going to be without Mike McGlinchey, the interior offensive line and rookie tackle Justin Skule has really started to gel.