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PFF grades: Ward was the second-highest graded defender in the NFL for Week 12

Tomlinson and Williams led the way on offense once again

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

We’ve gone over a few takeaways from the 49ers win, now it’s time to get an idea of how PFF thought the 49ers graded out. Let’s start with the snap counts on offense.

Offense - 72 snaps

Hroniss Grasu had to fill in for Laken Tomlinson, but other than that, there weren’t too many surprises. Twenty-five of Jordan Reed’s 31 snaps came as a route runner.

Kyle Shanahan using Richie James as the primary receiver over Kendrick Bourne is interesting, and I’d love to know why. Perhaps the threat of James’ speed and what he can do after the catch?

After the first game back in what feels like an eternity, Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. led the way in snaps, but neither played more than 30 snaps. Jerick McKinnon was the third-down back, as 15 of his 18 snaps came on passing downs.

Top-5 PFF grades on offense

Laken Tomlinson - 87.8

Deebo Samuel - 84.5

Trent Williams - 75.7

Kendrick Bourne - 64.3

Nick Mullens - 62.7

One of these names is not like the other.

The duo of Tomlinson and Samuel continue to be strong in both the run and passing game. Williams had two penalties, but other than that, there were no sacks or QB hits allowed from the two. The 49ers averaged 7.6 yards per carry when running to the left side on Sunday.

Give Deebo the ball and get out of the way worked to perfection. Samuel caught 11 passes for 133 yards. Four of those went for first downs, and Samuel broke six tackles. Surprisingly, Samuel didn’t have any carries, but I bet that changes next week once Brandon Aiyuk is back. Bourne had three catches for 34 yards, with two of those passes going for first downs. He’s an efficient chain-mover.

Mullens didn’t play well, which isn’t a surprise to anybody. He continued to miss open receivers, hold onto the ball, and leave plays on the field. With that said, San Francisco’s offense needed the drive to tie and needed the drive to win, and Mullens came through in both situations. If we’re going to give Jimmy Garoppolo credit for game-winning drives and fourth-quarter comebacks while we ignore the rest of the game, the same applies for Mullens. Nice QB win, Nick.

Five-lowest graded 49ers

Colton McKivitz - 53.7

Jeff Wilson Jr. - 52.5

Kyle Juszczyk - 50.9

Ross Dwelley - 46.6

Raheem Mostert - 36.7

Both running backs fumbled, and one led to a Rams touchdown. If the 49ers are going to make the playoffs, those mistakes can’t happen. Credit Shanahan for going right back to both players on the following drives, so they don’t lose confidence. Over 50% of both Mostert’s and Wilson’s yards came after contact, so I’m not worried about them. The Rams have one of the best defenses in the NFL.

The struggles of Juszczyk and Dwelley as blockers have been apparent all season. Juice’s fourth-down run saved the game after he made a nice cutback, while Dwelley’s block on the final offensive play on Aaron Donald should make fans happy:

Defense - 62 snaps

With D.J. Jones out, Kevin Givens got the start, and he was impressive. Ignore his grade, Givens lived in the backfield and forced the Rams runners off their path.

Without Jordan Willis, Hyder and Armstead have to play more than they should. Dion Jordan came in to play edge rusher, and Armstead kicked inside to defensive tackle. Injuries have hit this team so hard, Darrion Daniels played 15 snaps in a game the 49ers couldn’t afford to lose. Sunday was the first time Daniels had played all season.

Top-5 graded Niners on defense

Jimmie Ward - 94.7

Javon Kinlaw - 91.6

Richard Sherman - 80.4

Dion Jordan - 76.5

Jason Verrett - 72.9

Jimmie Ward was the second-highest graded defender in the NFL Week 12. He was outstanding against the Rams. Ward had four tackles, with three of them being run stops. He forced two fumbles (what was Goff thinking?) and broke up a pass. In coverage, Ward was targeted eight times and only allowed 16 yards. What a game.

I’m guessing Kinlaw’s grade is high because of his interception that was returned for a touchdown. That was a great play, but Kinlaw admitted he was supposed to be rushing. Kinlaw was credited for a hurry and had a pass-rush grade of 58.7 and a run defense grade of 56.6.

Welcome back, Richard. Sherman’s experience paid off on the interception as he knew Goff was not going to throw the ball deep. Sherman defended Robert Woods on two other targets, allowing one completion for nine yards. Where San Francisco missed, Sherman was his run defense. Sherman had two-run stops and led the defense in tackles with six. Sherman was aggressive in coverage and against the run, something the Niners had been missing on the perimeter.

Verrett continues to play at a high level. He allowed 40 yards on five targets, though he did miss a tackle that led to a first down. Sherman and Verrett will go from defending a short passing game to facing an air-out style of passing attack against the Bills. Monday night should be fun.

I don’t remember Jordan doing anything off memory. PFF credited Jordan with one hurry.

Five-lowest Niners defenders

Dre Greenlaw - 58.7

Kevin Givens - 58.0

Tavarius Moore - 55.2

Emmanuel Moseley - 52.6

Kentavius Street - 42

I thought that Greenlaw played faster against the run than before the bye and that allowed him to make more plays near the line of scrimmage. That’s positive. Greenlaw gave up 26 yards on three targets, but two of them went for first downs, and he still feels a bit lost in coverage this season. With that said, Greenlaw played with so much better “eye discipline” this week that I think Sunday was a step in the right direction for him.

Rolls eyes at Givens grade

Moore had a tackle “attempt” gone bad. That was the reason Cam Akers ran for 61-yards. It was an awful angle. Moore was also charged with giving up a 30-yarder to Woods. It looked like Moore jumped a route live. Those two big plays resulted in points for the Rams.

Moore was also charged with giving up a 30-yarder to Woods. It looked like Moore jumped a route live. Those two big plays resulted in points for the Rams. Moore missed two tackles, and that’s going to get the defense in trouble if he can’t clean that up. Moore’s speed lets him get away with a lot in coverage and also is a big reason why teams haven’t had success deep with Moore is a deep safety.

Moseley is going to be the nickel cornerback until K’Waun Williams returns, and I’m not too worried about him. When Moseley was set and ready to play when the ball was snapped, he was fine. The Rams beat Moseley on one play, but that was a good design, and most players would fall for that double move. I’ll take Moseley’s cover skills in the slot against Cole Beasley next week over Jamar Taylor, who is out for the season.

Street had a stop and a hurry, but he shouldn’t be playing 32 snaps against the Rams.