The 49ers are onto their bye week after missing a chance at upsetting the Arizona Cardinals Sunday. Giving out positional grades in a disappointing loss is always difficult, but there were a few bright spots.
The same goes for plays. We look at four uplifting and deflating plays below.
Trey Lance and Brandon Aiyuk convert a 2nd & 25 in the third quarter. As an Aiyuk stan, it was beautiful to see him flourish. Aiyuk is too talented of a receiver not to contribute to this offense.
San Francisco has pass-catchers capable of explosive plays, and Aiyuk is one of them. The offense needs to do its part to win games. Kyle Shanahan needs to get him more involved.
When you give your playmakers the ball, good things happen. Deebo Samuel has been the best player on offense through five games.
Shanahan did not get him involved enough after this play. Samuel has grown as a receiver and should be treated like a true number one target. We will riot if he doesn’t get 100 targets this season.
Josh Norman gets a great pass-breakup downfield in the third quarter. It was encouraging to see Norman make a play on DeAndre Hopkins, especially after Hopkins burnt him to a crisp in the first half.
Norman and Dontae Johnson were targeted with success in the first half. Which resulted in the secondary receiving a D- in my position grades. Johnson’s subpar play cannot go unnoticed. A cornerback competition is imminent. Deommodore Lenoir should be the front runner for that starting nickel job.
The throw is better on the All22 pic.twitter.com/zgIvMW69QZ— Javier Vega (@JavierVeg_) October 11, 2021
Arguably the best pass and catch from the 49ers Sunday. Lances’ ability to extend the play is matched with an accurate pass. Samuels’ effort needs to be recognized as well.
Samuel played well after dropping two passes in the first half. Lance establishing a connection with Samuel and Aiyuk is key for the offense.
Lance had some throws off-target, but this ball was placed in Mohamed Sanu’s hands.
That was an unacceptable drop from a veteran down 10 points. He would redeem himself with a fourth-down catch later in the game. The 49ers' offense needs to focus on avoiding shootings themselves in the foot.
It was embarrassing when Shanahan called the same play from two weeks ago. Just another example of Shanahan outsmarting himself.
His interior offensive line got whooped throughout the game. Zach Allen, J.J. Watt, and Chandler Jones dominated the Niners’ offensive line Sunday.
The Cardinals’ final scoring drive was tough to watch. Kyler Murray’s chemistry with Hopkins prevailed all game.
In the first clip, Jimmie Ward loses the ball in the air. A Nick Bosa pressure didn’t faze Murray as he stepped to the left and threw a game-sealing bomb. Ward not making a play on the ball affected the safeties’ grade greatly. He missed a key moment that could have given the label elite.
Secondly, Hopkins showed why he’s regarded as a top-five receiver. Norman can’t play better defense than this. The magnificent ball placement by Murray can’t be ignored. Again, it just shows the connection that those two have established.
My problem is not with the defense. Although, the cornerback situation is still a problem. DeMeco Ryans has put players in a position to make a play all season. I got flack for my defensive grades, but at the end of the day, I can’t give them too many flowers in a loss.
With that being said, the offense has to step up. I’ve been saying this since the hard-fought game against the Eagles.