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PFF Grades and snap counts: Witherspoon had his highest-graded game since Week 8 of ‘17

Mike McGlinchey was the highest graded 49er on offense

Los Angeles Rams v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The 49ers allowed 41 points to a depleted Dallas Cowboys team, but those points weren’t due to poor defensive performance. Special teams and San Francisco’s offense aided the Cowboys, as they’ve done for most opponents this season. Let’s get into the snap counts and PFF grades from Sunday.

Offense - 84 snaps


Nick Mullens: 77
C.J. Beathard: 7

Running back:

Kyle Juszczyk: 39
Jeff Wilson: 39
Raheem Mostert: 25
Jerick McKinnon: 14
Tevin Coleman: 6

Wide receiver:

Brandon Aiyuk: 80
Richie James: 54
Kendrick Bourne: 42
River Cracraft: 12

Tight end:

Ross Dwelley 46
Jordan Reed 42
Daniel Helm 21

Offensive line:

Mike McGlinchey 84
Daniel Brunskill 84
Laken Tomlinson 84
Justin Skule 84
Trent Williams 84

If your offense plays 84 snaps, that’s a good thing and means you’re moving the ball and scoring a ton of points. The offense's stats look better as C.J. Beathard threw for 100 yards on the final drive, but the ground game was working. The 49ers carried the ball 36 times and averaged 4.2 yards per carry. Third downs, turnovers, and penalties did the offense in, as has been the case all season.

Top-5 PFF grades

McGlinchey - 83.0
Mostert - 80.9
Williams - 80.3
Tomlinson 79.1
Aiyuk 74.5

It felt like, at least for the majority of the game, the offensive line gave Mullens plenty of time to throw. Plus, the running lanes were there and the line generated movement upfront. McGlinchey allowed a sack, and Williams allowed a QB hit, but I didn’t get a sense that the line played poorly.

The first sack-fumble wasn’t on McGlinchey, in my opinion. The edge rusher tried to bend the edge, and Mullens could have easily avoided the rusher had he took one step forward. So if that’s the sack we’re counting, then Mike’s grade should be higher. There was a play near the goal line where fans were upset about McGlinchey's inability to “reach” block a three-technique that was a full gap away from him. That’s not realistic for any lineman.

Mostert remains excellent, but he also has shown he’s oft-injured. Thirty-five of Mostert’s 68 yards came after contact. He routinely outruns defenders' angles.

Aiyuk continues to excel. Five of his nine catches resulted in a first down. Aiyuk had one play where he broke two tackles. Aiyuk’s much stronger than a lot of us realized, or at least myself, and it’s been fun to see him continue to fight his tail off to gain the extra yard on each reception.

Five-lowest graded 49ers

Juszczyk - 58.7
Brunskill - 52.2
Reed 52.1
Mullens 51.4
Skule 37.9

I remember seeing Juszczyk miss a couple of blocks in the running game that was costly. That’s been the case this season in every game. Juice means a lot to the offense, but he has not played well this season.

As for the other three, save Reed, they are what they are at this point, and it feels like a waste of energy to keep beating a dead horse. “Player who had to play a new position for the first time in his life with three practices under his belt struggled.” That’s Skule, basically. He allowed four pressures and two QB hits. Dallas kept running stunts toward Skule, and he failed to pick up the looper.

Breaking: The 49ers have a QB problem.

Defense - 58 snaps

Defensive line:

Arik Armstead: 48
Kerry Hyder: 47
Javon Kinlaw: 43
Jordan Willis: 27
D.J. Jones: 25
Kevin Givens: 18
Kentavius Street: 13
Dion Jordan: 12


Fred Warner: 58
Dre Greenlaw: 57
Azeez Al-Shaair: 21

Defensive back:

Tarvarius Moore: 57
Ahkello Witherspoon: 57
Richard Sherman: 57
K’Waun Williams: 37
Jimmie Ward: 29
Marcell Harris: 26
Emmanuel Moseley: 5
Kai Nacua: 1

Football is a dangerous sport, and seeing Ward go down on the field was scary, even for a brief moment. Ward left the game with a concussion, and that’s when the Cowboys passing attack got a bit more comfortable. Other than that, there weren’t too many surprises based on who played.

Five-highest graded defenders

Witherspoon - 86.9
Armstead - 79.5
Hyder - 74.1
Greenlaw - 73.5
Moseley - 71.6

I’m happy for Witherspoon as he’s had to battle through the adversity of being benched and fighting his way out of Shanahan’s doghouse. This was Ahkello’s highest-graded game since Week 8 of 2017. I don’t think it’s his best, as Witherspoon was dominant in early 2019, but Sunday showed that Witherspoon is a competitor.

Good for Moseley as well. The two combined to allow three receptions on nine targets for 22 yards and two pass breakups. Dallas has three high-quality receivers as well, making both cornerbacks' performance even more impressive. They were in phase all game, and that’s all you can ask for from those two in the spot they were put in.

Greenlaw had four stops, and Hyder was credited with a pair of hurries. Armstead notched two sacks and lived in the Cowboys' backfield. He was credited with five hurries and also added four stops. Arik was awesome on Sunday and looked the best he had rushing the passer from the inside. I asked him after the game if the 49ers knew they’d have success on the T/E stunts, and Armstead confirmed that was the case.

Five-lowest graded 49ers

Sherman - 51.1
Kinlaw - 46.6
Ward - 33.4
Givens - 31.6
Harris - 25.3

There is a reason that Harris has been practicing with the linebackers in recent weeks, and his deep coverage is why. Harris doesn’t look comfortable playing deep. He allowed two receptions for 57 yards and a touchdown and also missed a tackle for good measure.

Givens and Kinlaw must have a low grade for getting washed in the running game. Then again, Kinlaw’s 49.2 pass-rush grade won’t help. It felt like Sherman was just “out there.” He missed a pair of costly tackles and allowed both of his receptions to be completed, with one resulting in a first down.