The 49ers fell back below .500 after a 44-23 blowout loss at home against Kansas City on Sunday. While Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes had their offense flying on all cylinders, the Niners' missed several opportunities to defend home field. Now, all the pressure is on San Francisco as they prepare to face the Rams next season.
Here are the 49ers position-by-position grades from the game:
Coming off one of the best performances of his career last week, Jimmy Garoppolo needed another big game to keep up with Patrick Mahomes. He and the 49ers offense seemed to be heading in that direction on their first two drives. He did a great job evading pressure and finding Ray-Ray McCloud on the Niners first touchdown of the game.
However, Garoppolo was not as precise as he was last week, and the offense stalled around him. He cost the Niners an opportunity to score late in the first half with an unacceptable interception. The 49ers offensive line struggled all game, but Jimmy did not do them any favors, holding the ball for more than three seconds on a pair of sacks. He also fumbled.
Garoppolo made a great throw to George Kittle to pull the Niners back within a score in the fourth quarter, but he took a safety on the next possession, effectively his third turnover of the game.
The Jimmiest of Jimmy plays. He feels Clark beat Williams, relocates in the pocket, and then forgets (?!) that Clark is pursuing him when he sees another Chiefs defender, subsequently slowing up (?!?!?!) and getting immediately hawked lmao https://t.co/O0lOw5TMPX— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) October 23, 2022
Brock Purdy played in garbage time and looked like a rookie seventh-round pick.
Running backs: B+
The 49ers offensive line was inconsistent (at best) in pass protection, but they carved massive holes in Kansas City’s defense on the ground. Christian McCaffrey and Jeff Wilson Jr. ran for 92 yards on 15 carries (6.1 yards per carry). Kansas City’s defense did a better job containing the Niners backs in the second half, but it’s still worth wondering if San Francisco’s back could have controlled the game if the 49ers converted on more of their trips to the red zone.
Tight ends: B+
George Kittle celebrated National Tight Ends Day with his best performance of the season, leading the Niners with 98 receiving yards on six receptions with a touchdown. This was the closest Kittle has gotten to carrying the 49ers' offense this season. That said, he did drop a perfectly placed 14-yard throw from Garoppolo.
Wide receivers: B
Brandon Aiyuk was the 49ers best wide receiver for the third consecutive week. Aiyuk caught a team-high seven passes for 82 yards and had another big gain called back because of a holding penalty on the offensive line. Deebo Samuel had one 22-yard reception, doing a nice job grabbing a high throw from Garoppolo, but netted just 22 yards on his five other touches on the day.
After dropping a beautiful deep ball last week, Ray-Ray McCloud bounced back with his best receiving game in a Niners uniform. He caught all four of his targets for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Offensive line: D+
The 49ers offensive line was excellent creating holes in the run game, but things were far more inconsistent in pass blocking. While Garoppolo didn’t do them any favors on his sacks, it was far from just the quarterback’s fault. The Niners line allowed eight QB hits and added several costly penalties as well.
Defensive line: F
Nick Bosa acknowledged after the game that the defensive line knew they would need to step up to stop the run with the rest of the 49ers defense trying to limit Mahomes’ ability to pass the ball. Well, Kansas City averaged 6.4 yards per carry on 18 carries (their team stats were brought down by three late-game kneel downs).
Bosa sacked Mahomes once, but the Niners only got two more QB hits in the rest of the game. If your defensive line is going to get killed on the ground, you need them to get pressure. The 49ers defensive line did neither on Sunday.
Almost every 49ers linebacker missed multiple tackles on Sunday. Fred Warner seemed unusually out of sorts, perhaps putting too much pressure on himself in the Super Bowl LIV rematch.
Mooney Ward returned to the field without missing a game with his groin injury, but he delivered his worst performance of the season. Whether his former team knew his weaknesses, or he was not 100% (he did seem to be dealing with cramps at one point in the game), Ward was under constant onslaught by Mahomes. It’s never a good sign when a cornerback leads a defense in tackles, but Ward did that on Sunday with 10.
To be fair to Ward, he was far from the only Niners corner to get torched. Ambry Thomas and Deommodore Lenoir got beat for big gains on their share of snaps as well.
Tashaun Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga teamed up for an excellent interception on Kansas City’s first possession of the game. That’s the only thing that kept every position group on the defense from an F.
Special teams: C+
McCloud made multiple poor decisions returning kicks, pinning the 49ers deep in their own territory. The Niners also allowed a 48-yard kickoff return. With that said, Robbie Gould made his three field-goal attempts, including one from 49 and 50 yards, respectively and Mitch Wishnowsky’s lone knuckleball punt was muffed and resulted in a Kansas City turnover.