It’s undeniable now. Despite that three game losing streak, the San Francisco 49ers are the team to beat in the NFC, and probably the NFL. They destroyed the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field and are now just one game back of the top spot in the conference.
Here are position-by-position grades from the 42-19 victory:
Brock Purdy was not the star of the 49ers offense on Sunday, but it would be too dismissive to say he was held up by the superstars around him. Purdy avoided extremely costly mistakes, extended plays, and gave his playmakers opportunities to shine.
Running backs: A
The Purdy-MVP buzz is understandable, but I’m a bit confused why Christian McCaffrey has fallen out of the conversation. McCaffrey continued his incredible season on Sunday with 133 yards from scrimmage on 20 touches and a touchdown. Elijah Mitchell and Jordan Mason combined to average more than 4.5 yards per carry as well.
Tight ends: B
McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel did the bulk of heavy lifting, and George Kittle was perfectly content mashing blocks on running plays and settling for a perfectly solid day as a receiver. He hauled in four of his six targets for 68 yards, including a 32-yard highlight.
Wide receivers: A+
If a bowling ball could run a 4.48 40-yard dash, I’m still not sure it would be more dangerous in the open field than Deebo Samuel. When he’s at his best, Samuel finds a way to make something out of nothing in the most excitingly physical ways possible. He only received four targets all game, but he caught all of them and racked up 116 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 22 yards on three carries and a third touchdown. Jauan Jennings had one of his most productive games of the season (three receptions for 44 yards), and Brandon Aiyuk was solid as well.
Offensive line: A-
The 49ers offensive line carved open massive holes for every running back and also limited the Eagles’ defensive line’s ability to generate pressure.
Defensive line: B+
Javon Kinlaw may never reach the expectations that came with his draft pick, but he had a game to remember on Sunday. Flanked by the most talented defensive line in the league, Kinlaw recorded two tackles for loss and two sacks. The Eagles managed to keep San Francisco’s edge rushers, including Nick Bosa, from racking up stats, but that pushed the production to the interior. Kalia Davis had a sack and tackle for loss of his own.
Prior to Dre Greenlaw’s ejection, he and Fred Warner were living up to expectations, and led the defense back from an ugly first tow possessions.
The 49ers secondary had a massive assignment against the Eagles. Did they give up plenty of receiving yards to A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith? Yes. However, Ambry Thomas and Charvarius Ward combined for seven pass breakups as well. There is always going to be some give and take against an offense as strong as Philadelphia and the secondary held up well.
Ji’Ayir Brown led the 49ers in tackles and neither he nor Tashaun Gipson made any crucial mistakes. San Francisco is not going to get the same big-play production from their last line of defense without Talanoa Hufanga, but they still held things together on Sunday.