In the most lopsided blowout of the Kyle Shanahan era, the San Francisco 49ers destroyed the Dallas Cowboys 42-10 on Sunday Night Football. While plenty of national pundits thought the game was a matchup between the two best teams in the NFC, the Niners seemingly proved that Dallas remains a second-tier NFC contender behind San Francisco and the Eagles.
Here are position-by-position grades from the performance:
Brock Purdy had a couple of passes in the first half that lagged behind his receivers and probably could have turned into turnovers with some different luck, but I won’t nitpick him in this game. Purdy successfully slung the ball all over the field.
While there may be a deep pass or two that were his most impressive throws of the day, a pair of intermediate throws, which he managed to get over linebackers in throwing lanes and still hit receivers in stride, were the standout plays of the day.
Running backs: B+
Christian McCaffrey had his first pedestrian performance of the season, averaging just 2.7 yards per carry on 19 attempts and adding only two receptions for 27 yards. He also fumbled inside the 10-yard line.
With that said, Jordan Mason gave the grade a boost with some fantastic runs. Mason accrued a team-leading 69 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. Mason is a starting-caliber NFL back, it’s wild that he’ll be San Francisco’s third-stringer once Elijah Mitchell is healthy. Kyle Juszczyk also had his most productive game of the season, hauling in all four
Tight ends: A+
All three of George Kittle’s receptions resulted in a touchdown, which is hard to beat. After Kittle’s touchdown production lagged during his best seasons, it’s nice to see him get rewarded with a big-scoring day.
Wide receivers: A+
Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk consistently generated separation and probably could have racked up even more yards if Purdy had been more accurate early in the game. Either way, they both generated big plays, with Samuel leading the 49ers with 88 all-purpose yards on nine touches. Jauan Jennings also caught a 19-yard pass, his only target of the day, to convert a third down.
Offensive line: A
The 49ers offensive line may not have given McCaffrey some of the sizable holes they had in previous games, but they held Micah Parsons to just two pressures. They erased arguably the most dynamic pass rusher in the NFL.
Defensive line: A+
After struggling to convert pressure into impact plays against the Cardinals last week, the 49ers defensive line once again only combined for one sack. However, they smothered the Cowboys rushing attack and gave blitzers opportunities to capitalize. Moreover, Cowboys signal caller Dak Prescott was hit nine times (seven by the defensive line) and was shaken up by the pressure, playing a role in his three interceptions.
Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw, and Oren Burks combined for 18 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, two passes defended, two quarterback hits, two interceptions, and a forced fumble.
And that massive level of production was impossible to miss watching the game. Warner has undeniably been the best linebacker in the NFL for years, and it’s time to add him to debates about the best defensive players in the league.
Isaiah Oliver got beat on the Cowboys’ lone touchdown, but the 49ers' secondary (with plenty of help from the front seven) limited CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup to just six receptions for 64 receiving yards. Mooney Ward and Deommodore Lenoir also recorded a pass defended.
Tashaun Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga did their job. They only combined for three tackles, but it’s not like they were getting gashed down the field.
Special teams: A+
Mitch Wishnowsky has been punting better than at any other point in his career recently. He pinned the Cowboys inside their 20 twice, including once at the one, and launched a 59-yard punt with good hang time when asked to punt from deep in the 49ers' territory.
Jake Moody didn’t get a chance to kick a field goal, but he made all six extra-point attempts. Ray-Ray McCloud was also an effective punt returned, likely one broken tackle away from a punt return touchdown late in the game.