clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Position-by-position grades for the 49ers 30-23 victory over the Rams

The 49ers had far from their best performance, but it was enough to defeat the Rams.

Christian McCaffrey San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers were unable to dominate the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon at Levi’s South, but the best teams in the league are able to control games even when they are not at their best. The Rams are clearly better than expected this season, but the Niners also missed several opportunities to blow them out of the game early. Nevertheless, the 49ers came away with a 30-23 victory and will head into Week 3 with a 2-0 record.

Here are position-by-position grades from the victory:

Quarterbacks: C+

This was probably the most Garoppolo-esque performance of Brock Purdy’s young NFL career. He missed three wide-open throws downfield, not only missing out on YAC, but completions altogether. He also misfired a slant route on a would-be third-down conversion. That said, head coach Kyle Shanahan continued to give Purdy opportunities to make plays downfield and he delivered some dimes as well. He also did not have any throws that should have been intercepted. He was able to recover a fumble after a snap mishap with Jake Brendel, but that’s now his third in just two games after none last season.

Running backs: A-

It seemed like Christian McCaffrey was going to have a chance to break some records after an incredible first half, which included a 51-yard rush. However, Shanahan’s trust in Purdy, alongside some Rams defensive adjustments to slow down San Francisco’s rushing attack, “held” him to 116 yards on 20 carries. He did add three receptions for 19 yards, although miscommunication with Purdy led to a third-down incompletion.

Tight ends: B-

It might be time to readjust expectations for George Kittle. Unlike Garoppolo. it’s clear that Purdy is going to lean on his wide receivers in big moments. Plus, with McCaffrey alongside Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, Shanahan is much more comfortable letting Kittle serve as a decoy on routes to save some energy to mash opponents as a blocker. Kittle hauled in all three of his targets for 30 yards receiving and got his fair share of mauls in as a blocker.

Wide receivers: A+

While Aiyuk was limited by an early shoulder injury, he still racked up 43 receiving yards. With Aiyuk short of 100%, Samuel led the Niners with six receptions for 63 receiving yards and also rushed for 38 yards on five carries. Jauan Jennings had a 31-yard highlight, Purdy’s longest completion of the day, as well. The 49ers wideouts also did plenty of damage blocking downfield, helping other pass catchers and rushers get even more yards downfield.

Offensive line: B+

Purdy faced some pressure but rarely had to run for his life and was able to evade rushers within the pocket. As the Niners spread their rushing attack out horizontally with Samuel in the second half, the line had less of an opportunity to open up big holes, but they had done more than their fair share in the first half.

Defensive line: D

Javon Hargrave wreaking havoc on the interior helped this unit avoid an F. Nick Bosa was facing chips and double teams all game long and did get after Stafford on the rare moments he was left alone. However, Drake Jackson was unable to build off his three-sack Week 1, and Matthew Stafford had way too much time in the pocket to pick the Niners apart. Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks made things happen once he dialed up the blitz, but this 49ers line has too much talent to need that.

Linebackers: A+

Nothing changed the game more than Wilks beginning to send Fred Warner more aggressively as a blitzer. It’s impossible to watch Warner week in and week out and not come away convinced that he’s the best all-around linebacker in the NFL. He finished the game with 11 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a quarterback hit, and a pass defended. He’s truly in a league of his own. Dre Greenlaw led the Niners with 12 tackles and had a pass defense of his own, but also was called for a personal foul penalty in the first half.

Cornerbacks: B

The 49ers cornerbacks played terribly for most of the game but delivered in a couple of huge moments. Mooney Ward missed an opportunity for a huge sack on a cornerback blitz, part of the reason Wilks had to begin sending Warner. Ambry Thomas and Isaiah Oliver continued to struggle in coverage. However, Oliver made a pivotal open-field tackle in the first half that led to a punt and hauled in an impressive one-handed interception. Then, late in the fourth quarter, Deommodore Lenoir undercut a poor route by Tutu Atwell to pick off Stafford that helped the Niners build a two-possession lead.

Safeties: D+

Talanoa Hufanga had an uncharacteristic performance without a big play and Tashaun Gipson missed an opportunity for a game-sealing interception.

Special teams: A

Jake Moody continued to put his preseason inconsistencies behind him, highlighting his day with a make from 57 yards. He did shank one kickoff out of bounds, but that was by far the most preferable blemish on the rookie kicker’s line. Mitch Wishnowsky had an excellent day punting as well, although one was undone by a kick catch interference penalty.