The San Francisco 49ers took care of business on Sunday afternoon, cruising to a 27-14 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Niners are now 7-3 on the season and have won both of their games since returning from a BYE.
Here are position-by-position grades from the win:
Brock Purdy finished with a perfect quarterback rating, and it was well deserved. His 76-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk was one of the best throws of his career, downfield with enough loft to allow Aiyuk to get under it without giving a defender an opportunity to make a play on the ball. The closest thing to a knock you could give Purdy was the fact that he took four sacks, but he’s bailed out the offensive line plenty of times this year.
Running backs: B-
Christian McCaffrey was solid, but his impact was ultimately limited by a mediocre offensive line performance. McCaffrey eclipsed 100 yards from scrimmage on 26 touches, but averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and was stopped on a 4th-and-1 opportunity that would have sealed the game. Elijah Mitchell was effective spelling McCaffrey, accruing 24 yards on four carries.
Wide receivers: A-
Brandon Aiyuk’s superstar rise continued. He only hauled in five catches, but the big play machine accrued 156 receiving yards and a touchdown. Deebo Samuel was the only other receiver to catch a pass and had a 40-yard reception to highlight his day.
Tight ends: A
While Aiyuk and Samuel were the big play pass catchers, George Kittle took on the volume. Kittle was targeted on more than a third of Purdy’s pass attempts. He finished the day with eight receptions for 89 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Offensive line: C
Purdy has done a lot of work escaping sacks throughout the season, covering up some inconsistent play along the offensive line. Purdy was under fairly consistent pressure and there weren’t many massive holes for McCaffrey either.
Defensive line: B+
Nick Bosa, Chase Young, and Arik Armstead each recorded a sack, combining on six quarterback hits. Javon Hargrave didn’t end up with a sack or tackle for loss, but was the only defensive lineman to record more than three tackles. Baker Mayfield will continue to be haunted in his dreams by Bosa.
There isn’t a better linebacker in the NFL than Fred Warner, who was playing at the top of his capabilities on Sunday. He finished with a game-high 10 solo tackles, two passes defended, and half a sack. Dre Greenlaw was not too shabby either, with 8 tackles, two passes defended, and half a sack.
Deommodore Lenoir is finally emerging into a solid number two corner behind Mooney Ward. After an ugly few weeks, the Niners seem to finally be solidifying their secondary by having Lenoir start on the outside and shift inside in nickel.
Ji’Ayir Brown is going to have massive shoes to fill now that Talanoa Hufanga is out for the season, but he was an immediate difference maker after Hufanga had to leave the game late. Tashaun Gipson nearly had an interception of his own.
Special teams: D
Jake Moody and Mitch Wishnowsky were great, but the Niners were flagged for a kick catch interference on a fair catch and later allowed 51-yard punt return. The coverage needs to be better.