The San Francisco 49ers took care of business against the Washington Commanders on Sunday, cruising to a 27-10 victory that secured the top seed in the NFC. The Niners will now have a chance to rest their best players for two weeks and will not have to play on the road in the playoffs unless they reach the Super Bowl.
Here are position-by-position grades from the game:
The 49ers primarily relied on the rushing attack early and Brock Purdy missed some crucial opportunities. However, Purdy got some opportunities to cook in the second half. As has been the case in the vast majority of games this season, he rose to the moment. Purdy’s two most impressive plays came on downfield throws to Aiyuk. After a mistake-ridden game last week, Purdy avoided making it a pattern on Sunday.
Running backs: A
While Christian McCaffrey was sidelined for a portion of the game with an injury, Elijah Mitchell did not miss a beat in the backfield. The two top backs combined for 144 rushing yards on 31 carries. McCaffrey added four receptions for 27 yards as well. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk caught all three of them targets as well.
Wide receivers: A-
Brandon Aiyuk hauled in seven of his eight targets for 114 receiving yards and a touchdown. Deebo Samuel was a solid second option, racking up 72 yards from scrimmage on eight touches. Despite their excellence, the 49ers felt the absence of typical third receiver Jauan Jennings in the first half. Ronnie Bell has just been unable to build upon his preseason momentum.
Tight ends: B-
George Kittle was not involved much as a pass catcher, but his blocking continues to give him a solid floor of contribution.
Offensive line: B
The 49ers offensive line bounced back well from their ugly showing on Monday Night. Purdy, Mitchell, and McCaffrey are an easy group to block for, and the Commanders already depleted their defensive line at the trade deadline.
Defensive line: D
The Commanders did not run the ball much, but they still managed 4.4 yards per carry. The Niners defensive line got some pressure on Sam Howell, but the Commanders were missing several starting offensive linemen. The Niners defensive line still landed only one sack and three tackles for loss.
Fred Warner’s unusual missed tackle issues continued on Sunday. Dre Greenlaw was the 49ers best linebacker, recording a league-leading 10 tackles.
The 49ers defensive backs seem to really be blossoming under Steve Wilkes. Charvarius Ward and Deommodore Lenoir each added another interception to their tally and Lenoir nearly made another incredible interception along the sideline late.
It was a pair of veterans starting as the 49ers last line of defense, with Logan Ryan and Tashaun Gipson holding down the fort. Howell isn’t a great quarterback, but they nevertheless didn’t let him beat the defense deep.
Special teams: B+
The 49ers special teams didn’t make any costly mistakes but the fade on Jake Moody’s kicks and Ronnie Bell’s punt return dance continues to seem like playing with fire. It’s hard to imagine Bell returning punts in the playoffs, but Moody is going to need to make some kicks under pressure.