Quarterbacks - Brock Purdy 66, Sam Darnold 2
Purdy returned from his UCL injury in January to deliver a sharp performance in his first regular-season action. Setting a new NFL record as the only quarterback to throw two touchdown passes in his first six regular season starts, Purdy looked as in control as ever of this offense.
Running Backs - Christian McCaffrey 58, Kyle Juszczyk 42, Elijah Mitchell 10
McCaffrey picked up right where he left off last season with another huge performance. The Steelers placed eight-plus defenders in the box 68.18 percent of the time, per Next Gen Stats. That mattered little as McCaffrey led all running backs in rushing yards and the highest RYOE (rushing yards over expectation) with 56.
Wide Receivers - Deebo Samuel 59, Brandon Aiyuk 58, Jauan Jennings 22, Ronnie Bell 8, Ray-Ray McCloud III 3
It was a banner game for Aiyuk as he looked as confident as ever, hauling in all eight of his targets for over 100 yards and two touchdowns. Samuel contributed with tough catches, but with the game well in hand wasn’t leaned on this week.
Tight Ends - George Kittle 47, Charlie Woerner 21, Ross Dwelley 12
Certainly felt like the 49ers were taking a cautious approach with Kittle while he recovered from his injury during the week. In a game the 49ers were controlling, the team chose to use Kittle sparingly.
Offensive Line - Spencer Burford 68, Aaron Banks 68, Colton McKivitz 68, Jake Brendel 68, Trent Williams 65, Jaylon Moore 3
The discussion following the game was about McKivitz and how he handled all-world EDGE rusher T.J. Watt. Watt finished with three sacks, but it’s hard to say McKivitz was bad in this game, by any stretch. Watt is bound to win reps against any RT, he’s done it his entire career.
The bigger concern is about Burford, who I would argue, had the worse game. Three penalties, a pass-blocking grade of 11.4, and an overall grade of 28.6 are not good.
Defensive Line - Javon Hargrave 42, Arik Armstead 41, Nick Bosa 35, Clelin Ferrell 31, Drake Jackson 28, Javon Kinlaw 24, Kevin Givens 20, Kerry Hyder Jr 16
The defensive line feasted on the Steelers offensive line. Bosa returned and recorded three pressures, while Jackson finished with three sacks. The most impressive players on the defensive line on Sunday were Armstead and Hargrave. Both terrorized the interior line of Pittsburgh and created opportunities for others on the line. They looked like the best interior duo in the league.
Linebackers - Fred Warner 63, Dre Greenlaw 61, Oren Burks 8
Warner and Greenlaw were their usual dominant selves. Fred finished the game with an 81.6 run defense grade, and Greenlaw finished with a 69.2 defensive grade. Warner nearly brought in a pick-six and was responsible for the tipped pass that led to an interception by Talanoa Hufanga. The 49ers didn’t employ a third linebacker much, instead opting for a nickel cornerback on most downs.
Secondary - Tashaun Gipson Sr 63, Talanoa Hufanga 61, Deommodore Lenoir 55, Charvarius Ward 51, Ambry Thomas 34, Isaiah Oliver 33, Samuel Womack 9, George Odum 2
Aside from one drive, the secondary was stellar. Ward brought in his first interception of the season, as did Hufanga. Steve Wilks used Lenoir outside and at nickel in certain situations before Oliver got on the field replacing Thomas, who dealt with a concussion scare during the game.
Ward finished with an 81.6 coverage grade, followed by Hufanga at 74.2. The pass rush was ferocious, but the secondary did its part to make Pickett hold on to the ball for the line to deliver.