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PFF Grades and snap counts from the 49ers victory over Arizona: Welcome back, Kittle

The usual suspects were among the highest graded players, with a splash of Witherspoon

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

We’ve gone over a few takeaways from Saturday’s 20-12 49ers win over the Cardinals. Now, let’s take a look at the highest and lowest graded Niners on both sides of the ball. Let’s start with the snap counts on offense.

Offensive snap counts - 56


C.J. Beathard - 56

It’s always nice when only one QB plays.

Running back:

Jeff Wilson - 39
Kyle Juszczyk - 30
Jerick McKinnon - 10
Tevin Coleman - 7

Why do we rarely see this type of split when everyone is healthy? Even last year, before the team had the same faith as they do in Wilson than they’ve shown this season. Raheem Mostert was rolling, but they continued to give Coleman touches. Now, Coleman only came in when Wilson Jr. needed a breather or was banged up.

Wide receiver:

Brandon Aiyuk - 52
Richie James - 51
Kendrick Bourne - 19
River Cracraft - 1

No. 85 makes a lot of players an afterthought, but Bourne saw his snap count drop as the 49ers played more 12/21 personnel against Arizona. Over the Cap values Bourne at just north of $5 million per season. Knowing what he brings to the locker room from a bubbly, cultural point of view, I wonder what the 49ers do with Bourne this upcoming offseason.

Tight end:

George Kittle - 28
Ross Dwelley - 26
Jordan Reed - 10
Daniel Helm - 7

Kittle did a lot of damage in 28 snaps. Speaking of afterthoughts, I don’t recall seeing Kittle and Reed on the field at the same time.

Offensive line:

Mike McGlinchey - 56
Daniel Brunskill - 56
Laken Tomlinson - 56
Trent Williams - 56
Justin Skule - 29
Colton McKivitz - 27

Skule went down, and McKivitz took his spot. The offense almost made it through a game without having to shuffle positions around upfront.

Five-highest graded offensive players

Trent Williams - 94.1
George Kittle - 91.1
Laken Tomlinson - 89.6
Mike McGlinchey - 78.5
Jeff Wilson Jr. - 77.8

Beathard was sacked three times, and one of them came from McGlinchey that resulted in a sack-fumble, which caused fans to question McGlinchey. Aside from that, McGlinchey had a relatively clean game. The contrast between his pass and run blocking grade is still night and day. McGinchley’s pass-blocking grade was 39.6, and his run-blocking grade was 91.4.

Outside of Kittle’s drop, it was tough to find a flaw from Saturday. He did a little bit of everything and reminded us why he broke the bank this past offseason.

Wilson Jr. had a drop as well, but that was a difficult catch. Wilson had 22 carries for 183 yards. Eight of those carries went for first downs, and he had seven, yes, seven carries that went over ten yards. Of Wilson’s 183 yards, 119 came after contact.

Five-lowest offensive graded players

Daniel Brunskill - 58.3
Jordan Reed - 53.9
Tevin Coleman - 50.2
Ross Dwelley - 44.5
Richie James Jr. - 44.3

Whenever Coleman is on the field, something goes wrong. It’s not always his fault, but he’s always on the field. For example, Coleman subs for Wilson, who left the game for a snap or two with an apparent hand injury. On the first play, there’s a sack.

Kittle is better than Dwelley and Reed. Who knew. From moving grown men to different gaps when it’s time to block to creating for yourself after the catch. The difference was evident between the tight ends.

James dropped his only target while Brunskill allowed a sack.

Defensive snap counts - 82 snaps

Kerry Hyder - 65
Arik Armstead - 61
Jordan Willis - 56
Kentavius Street - 52
D.J. Jones - 41
Alex Barrett - 32
Darrion Daniels - 22

Reading these names and knowing how successful the 49ers were on defense Saturday makes their defensive performance even more impressive.

Fred Warner - 82
Dre Greenlaw - 80
Azeez Al-Shaair - 21

The Cardinals are an Air Raid, spread you out type of offense. When Al-Shaair played, I thought he had his best game of the season, especially in coverage. His grades won’t agree, but watching Al-Shaair on plays he wasn’t involved in, he did a great job of being where he was supposed to.

Tarvarius Moore - 82
Ahkello Witherspoon - 82
Jason Verrett - 82
Marcell Harris -73
K’Waun Williams - 57
Emmanuel Moseley - 10
Dontae Johnson - 2
Kai Nacua - 2

Was this the best game all season from the secondary? As far as being active and aggressive. Wiliams was banged up for a play, and Johnson subbed in. On a few obvious third downs, Robert Saleh would take Harris out and sub in Emmanuel Moseley. That gave the defense plenty of speed on the field, and Arizona’s receivers couldn’t shake free.

Five-highest graded defenders

Warner - 93.4
Williams 90.5
Witherspoon 81.4
Greenlaw - 78.5
Moore - 72.5

When the 49ers needed a play, Warner came through. He forced and recovered a fumbled. On a fourth-down, Warner read the play, jumped into the throwing lane, and batted the pass. There were two other plays where he also broke up a pass. On one play, Warner dropped the interception. He did allow an explosive play, but he’s 1-on-1 running with receivers down the field. Warner finished with 14 tackles, four stops, and two hurries.

Williams had a sack, four stops, forced a fumble and batted a pass. That seems like a typical stat line for K’Waun. Witherspoon looked like pre-injury 2019 Witherspoon. He blitzed and had an opportunity to sack Kyler but missed the tackle. Outside of that, and allowed a 38-yard reception, Witherspoon was effective. He broke up a pass, took points off the board with an end-zone interception, and made tackles near the line of scrimmage.

Greenlaw continues to play faster and not think as much as he was earlier in the season. Greenlaw allowed all five of his targets to be completed, but they only went for a total of 23 yards. As for Moore, this might’ve been his most effective game as a tackler in the past two seasons. Moore’s always been aggressive, and with his speed, he should be making as many stops around the line of scrimmage as he did Saturday.

Five-lowest graded defenders

D.J. Jones - 57.2
Marcell Harris - 54.9
Jordan Willis - 41.0
Kentavius Street - 37.9
Darrion Daniels - 36.0

Not going to spend too much time on these five. The way Jones plays and what he’s asked to do, he’s never going to truly shine in PFF’s grading system unless he’s making plays.

The other four shouldn’t be playing as many snaps as they are in an NFL game. It’s that simple.