The San Francisco 49ers are in firm control of the NFC West after a blowout 31-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Thanksgiving. Two games behind the Eagles in the standings, the 49ers may not be able to secure a playoff BYE without some good fortune, but they control their own destiny for the top spot in the division. That may not be a significant thing for a team with obvious Super Bowl aspirations, but it’s a necessary step.
Here are position-by-position grades from the game:
Brock Purdy made one costly mistake trying to force a tight window throw into Christian McCaffrey that resulted in an interception, but that was his only notable mistake. Purdy’s elusiveness stifled the Seahawks pass rush, and he sealed the victory with an incredible downfield throw to Brandon Aiyuk.
Running backs: A+
He may not be in the MVP conversation anymore, but Christian McCaffrey had an MVP-caliber performance on Thursday. McCaffrey accrued 114 rushing yards on six yards per carry and scored a pair of touchdowns. He also caught five of his six targets for another 25 yards from scrimmage. Elijah Mitchell ran for 39 yards on seven carries as well.
Tight ends: C+
George Kittle’s impact as a blocker helped the 49ers rushing game dominate all day long. He was basically a non-factor as a receiver, but that wasn’t a problem with the rushing attack firing on all cylinders.
Wide receivers: B
Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk were solid, although neither ever really took over the game.
Offensive line: B
Purdy covered up some struggles for the offensive line pass blocking, but they absolutely bulldozed Seattle in the ground game.
Defensive line: A+
It’s difficult to overstate how effective Nick Bosa was on Sunday. The Niners top edge rusher recorded five quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, and two sacks. It’s no coincidence that Bosa’s best game of the season coincided with impressive showings from Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave as well. Hargrave got in on multiple sacks while Armstead had one of his own. Geno Smith simply never had much time to throw on Thursday, which enabled the 49ers secondary to play aggressively.
Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw did not have to be the stars on defense for once, but they both handled their assignments and did what they needed to do.
Ambry Thomas’ year-three jump continued in one of the most impressive performances of his career. Charvarius Ward was tasked with shadowing D.K. Metcalf for nearly the entire game, and he rose to the occasion against one of the toughest assignments in the league. Ward broke up three passes, two of which prevented great downfield throws from resulting in completions. Thomas recorded two passes defended as well, alongside an interception.
Tashaun Gipson got in on the pass rush action, recording a rare sack (he only has 2.5 in his career) and had another tackle for loss. Filling the shoes of Talanoa Hufanga, Ji’Ayir Brown was able to avoid any costly miscues and did his job. He won’t be able to lean so heavily on his defensive line and cornerbacks to carry the load each week, but his teammates allowed him to ease into the first start of his career.
Special teams: A-
For the second week in a row, the 49ers kick coverage game allowed a massive return, this one for 66 yards. However, recovering a muffed punt is an easy way to make up for that. Mitch Wishnowsky’s career-year continued with some excellent punts and Jake Moody did not miss a kick.