The 49ers defeated the Cardinals 27-13 on Sunday afternoon. Here are the grades for the offense:
Colin Kaepernick: A
The first quarter prevents this grade from being a perfect “A+” grade. After having only one completion for five yards in the first quarter, Kaepernick finished with a career high of 276 passing yards and two touchdown passes. He should’ve had a third touchdown pass if Delanie Walker didn’t drop a ball in the end zone. There was one scare where he almost threw an interception to Daryl Washington in the first quarter. He was fortunate the tipped ball was dropped. Kaepernick did a very good job and not forcing any throws into good coverage and threw the ball away when needed.
Running Backs: B-
The ground game was shut down by the Cardinals throughout the first half. LaMichael James had one 12-yard run near the end of the second quarter as the only big carry. In the second half, Gore had five carries for five or more yards and had a touchdown. James also had an excellent 26-yard carry in the second half, but wasn’t consistently stopped. Gore and James combined for 117 yards on 27 carries.
Wide Receivers: A-
If this was a grade for Michael Crabtree, there would’ve been a perfect “A+” for his performance. Crabtree finished with a career-high 172 receiving yards and two touchdown receptions. He still remained the go-to guy and converted two fourth downs during the game. This grade is lowered due to the lack of involvement from the other 49ers receivers. Randy Moss finished with two catches for 28 yards and A.J. Jenkins was only targeted once which ended up being a dropped pass. Ted Ginn saw time as a receiver, but wasn’t thrown to.
Tight Ends: C
Delanie Walker had two catches for 50 yards and Vernon Davis had only one reception for five yards. Davis saw limited time most likely due to his concussion injury while Walker saw more time on the field. He had a drop that would’ve given Kaepernick three touchdown passes. Garrett Celek was on the field for a few plays, but was covered by the Cardinals’ secondary.
Offensive line: B-
The offensive line did great in pass protection. Despite the Cardinals being known for sacking the quarterback, there was no pressure on Kaepernick for the entire game. The run blocking was the weakness throughout this game. In the first half, the 49ers were going nowhere on the ground and in the second half, they did just enough to make Frank Gore effective. The team might have trouble against other teams in the postseason if the run blocking doesn’t improve.
It wasn’t flashy, but the offense got the job done when they were aggressive in the passing game. The first quarter was a flat, boring and conservative offense that ended up being predictable with running the ball. The 49ers had trouble scoring touchdowns and settle for field goal attempts four times, which is a cause for concern. Offensively there were good second half adjustments after a dismal first half. On fourth down, Greg Roman had the right plays dialed up for Michael Crabtree.