The San Francisco 49ers offense ended up with a box score that made it seem like the offense had a better day than they did. During the game, the offense dropped the ball, literally. The Niners failed to execute in critical spots while the Bills made plays. Let’s look at the offensive snap counts and PFF grades.
Offensive - 61 snaps
Juszczyk playing 14 snaps is a surprise. That would suggest the 49ers lived in 12 personnel with two tight ends on the field as opposed to Juice. Kyle Shanahan must’ve liked the matchup, but the offense couldn’t take advantage. Jerick McKinnon was supposed to be the Niners third-down back, but he only played two snaps in a game where they were playing catch up for the entire second half.
Top-five PFF grades
Laken Tomlinson - 90.1
Charlie Woerner 86.0
Ross Dwelley 85.3
Kyle Juszczyk 83.3
Nick Mullens 82.5
Tomlinson had another clean sheet in pass protection and had a run-blocking grade of 86.1. This is his fifth game in a row where Tomlinson graded in the 90s, or “elite.”
Woerner and Dwelley did their damage during garbage time, so I’m not going to pretend as if the offense didn’t miss George Kittle. Both players finished with a combined 62 yards on four receptions. Each of those catches went for first downs. Juice had a 67.9 receiving grade but an 85.7 run-blocking grade. Unfortunately, that didn’t matter as the Bills got out to a big lead.
Mullens is a backup quarterback, and our expectations shouldn’t be high for him. Mullens is one of the better backups in the league, and while he did a lot of damage in garbage time, I never felt like he cost the team points. He was inaccurate on a few passes, but the 49ers also had three drops. Mullens made a few plays with his legs and hit on throws down the field. Eighteen of his 26 completions went for first downs, and one of the interceptions wasn’t on Mullens.
Five-worst PFF grades
Jeff Wilson Jr. - 62.5
Mike McGlinchey - 58.8
Tom Compton - 57.6
Raheem Mostert - 56.3
Colton McKivitz - 47.8
Three offensive linemen being listed is not ideal. McKivitz allowed three hurries, and a QB hit on 20 pass-blocking snaps. McGlinchey allowed two QB hits and two hurries, while Compton allowed two hurries. It didn’t feel like the offensive line played poorly, but Mullens was under pressure on 41% of his dropbacks.
When the line doesn’t block well, the runners aren’t going to have lanes. It’s crazy how that works. One thing I’ll add is that the tight ends, fullbacks, and receivers haven’t done the backs any favors in regards to blocking this season.
Defense - 73 snaps
Dontae Johnson missed a critical tackle, but for what he was asked to do, you can’t be upset at his play. The lack of depth hurt on Monday night, considering the defense had to play 73 snaps. D.J. Jones played 11 of those, which meant a heavy workload for everyone else. Ahekllo Witherspoon’s two snaps came when Richard Sherman played deep safety.
Top-five PFF grades on defense
Dontae Johnson - 85.0
Kerry Hyder - 76.6
Arik Armstead - 69.0
Jimmie Ward - 62.9
Warner had an interception taken away due to a penalty, but he had an aggressive game against the run and added a QB hit one five pass rushes.
Johnson gets graded on a curve. You don’t want a cornerback leading your defense in tackles, but that was the case for the Niners Monday night. Johnson had three stops and only allowed 34 yards on six targets.
Hyder and Armstead both had run grades in the 80s and finished with five stops combined. The 49ers needed those two to get after Josh Allen, and the two combined for one QB hit and zero sacks.
Five-lowest graded 49ers on defense
Javon Kinlaw - 53.0
Kevin Givens - 48.4
Tarvarius Moore - 29.9
Jordan Willis - 28.9
Kentavius Street - 27.2
Kinlaw had a nice spin where he beat two offensive linemen, but Allen was able to escape the pressure and throw for a first down. Givens had a couple of early stops but wasn’t credited for any pass-rushing stat. The same can be said for Willis and Street, who had that brutal roughing the passer penalty. Street’s run defense grade was 27.3.
Moore played unsure of himself. PFF gave him a touchdown, but that was ‘palms’ coverage, and by the way, the play turned out, I believe the coverage bust was on Sherman. Still, Moore’s angles have been an issue, and he doesn’t seem sure of himself in coverage. Moore had an opportunity to prove to the front office that he has a future on this team, but Moore hasn’t done a convincing job that he should be a starter in the future.