clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Position-by-position grades from the 49ers atrocious 11-10 loss to the Broncos

The 49ers wasted an excellent defensive performance with one of the worst games of Jimmy Garoppolo’s career.

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers steps out of the back of the end zone resulting in a safety during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on September 25, 2022 in Denver, Colorado.    Caption Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

It’s sure a tough Monday to be a fan of the 49ers. A week after losing their exciting young quarterback for the season, the Niners had arguably their worst offensive performance of the Kyle Shanahan era in an 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos. With veteran Jimmy Garoppolo under center, San Francisco was supposed to be ready to pile up wins. Instead, they lossed to a team that has yet to score 17 points in a game this season.

Here are position-by-position grades for the 49ers overall performance:

Quarterbacks: F

I’ve been a vocal Garoppolo critic for years, and for that reason, I’ve tried to go out of my way to justify harsh grades. I’m not doing that tonight. This performance was atrocious.

The Broncos would’ve had a pick-six off Garoppolo if he hadn’t accidentally stepped out of the back of the endzone (with both feet) and committed a safety before throwing the pass. Later, with a chance for a game-winning drive, he threw into triple-coverage, clearly not picking up the robber, and the ball was intercepted. He also mixed in a fumbled snap.

To his credit, he had an amazing throw to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, but even taking that into account, he had arguably the worst performance of his career.

Running backs: C+

Jeff Wilson Jr. had a couple of big runs, where he looked more explosive than he has since his injuries last season. He had a 37-yard and 18-yard run but managed just 20 more yards on his 10 other carries. Wilson was able to take advantage of big holes when they were present but was unable to make any Broncos defenders miss. He did haul in three receptions for 31 yards as well, but on his final catch, he fumbled the ball and sealed the Niners' fate.

Kyle Juszczyk had the best play of the game, with an incredible 24-yard reception along the sideline. Jordan Mason also gained seven yards on his first NFL carry.

Tight ends: C+

It was nice to have George Kittle back at tight end this week, but he was far from the dominant force 49ers fans have come to expect. He hauled in four receptions on five targets for 28 receiving yards and was his usual self as a blocker. That’s an above-average performance for an NFL tight end but far from what Kittle expects from himself.

Wide receivers: B

Garoppolo left a lot of yards on the field for Niners receivers, even missing some of the shorter passes that are usually his bread and butter. Brandon Aiyuk got off to a hot start in the first half and Deebo Samuel amassed 74 receiving yards on five receptions. Still, neither of them were able to get the elite levels of separation that Garoppolo needed. Samuel was also a non-factor in the backfield. None of the other 49ers receivers were able to make an impact. A group that flashed promising depth in the preseason has been solely reliant on Aiyuk and Samuel thus far. Someone needs to step up as a third receiver.

Offensive line: D

The 49ers offense went from mediocre to horrendous when left tackle Trent Williams was forced to leave the game. Garoppolo was under fairly consistent pressure and took some big hits on egregious missed blocks. The Niners run game continues to pale in comparison to previous seasons, raising questions about whether they will ever get back to that success without Mike McDaniel.

Defensive line: A-

The 49ers defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage through the first three quarters for the third time in three games. Despite missing Arik Armstead, the 49ers interior defensive line was able to pick up where they left off last week with Kevin Givens and Hassan Ridgeway. Off the edge, Nick Bosa, Kerry Hyder, and Drake Jackson each recorded a sack and combined for seven quarterback hits, showing off the team’s incredible pass-rushing depth. The d-line wore down late in the game, finally allowing Wilson to do some damage with his legs, but surrendering one touchdown drive in a game is still a commendable feat.

Linebackers: A-

The 49ers linebackers did a great job containing the Broncos' rushing attack. Dre Greenlaw, Azeez Al-Shaair, Fred Warner, and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles combined for 25 tackles. The Broncos have one of the best running back duos in the league and one of the best running quarterbacks. Yet, the Niners linebackers helped hold them to 3.1 yards per carry.

Cornerbacks: A

Mooney Ward is a star. Wilson’s best throw of the day was a beautiful downfield ball to Jerry Jeudy, but Ward made an incredible diving play to tip it at the last possible moment and force the incompletion. Emmanuel Moseley was also all over the field, crashing down on several screens and runs while limiting Denver’s opportunities through the air. Deommodore Lenoir also saw some playing time in the slot over rookie Samuel Womack and had some positive plays.

Safeties: B+

Talanoa Hufanga was not as involved in the action this week but still had another strong showing in the Niners backline. Tashaun Gipson also avoided the coverage gaffes that plagued him in the first two weeks of the season.

Special teams: A

Ray-Ray McCloud’s muffed punt is the only thing that kept the unit from an A+. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky was probably the 49ers' best player on Sunday, consistently pinning the Broncos back inside their own territory. Wishnowsky averaged nearly 52 yards a punt on seven punts. Robbie Gould also knocked in his lone extra-point attempt and a 51-yard field goal.