Here are the grades for the San Francisco 49ers’ 19-13 loss to the Arizona Cardinals.
GABBERT: C. Played scared in the first half, and threw short of the first-down marker on third down all game. Badly underthrew a deep pass to Quinton Patton – a better pass would have resulted in a big play. Instead, the result was an interception. In the third quarter Gabbert played better, completing seven passes in a row. But, he reverted to the Old Gabbert in the fourth quarter. On third-and-10 with the game on the line, Gabbert took a sack instead of throwing the ball away. Next play, Gabbert threw an 18-yard pass on fourth-and-20. He is who we thought he was.
RUNNING BACKS: B. Starting running back Shaun Draughn gained 86 yards from scrimmage. He is surprisingly explosive and agile for a guy who was on the street this season.
WIDE RECEIVERS: B. Anquan Boldin outperformed Larry Fitzgerald and caught eight passes. Torrey Smith caught just two passes and committed three penalties.
TIGHT ENDS: A-. Vance McDonald dropped a pass early in the game, but redeemed himself by catching six passes for 71 yards and a touchdown. He is the 49ers’ best red-zone threat.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C. Created very little running room after the first drive, but gave up only two sacks.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A-. Allowed only 70 rushing yards only one week after giving up 255. Didn’t generate much pressure, though.
LINEBACKERS: A-. Starting outside linebackers Aaron Lynch and Corey Lemonier each hit Carson Palmer twice, although neither sacked him. Starting inside linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite were in the zone against the run, although Wilhoite committed a penalty on a pass play in the end zone.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: A-. Gave up zero touchdown passes and allowed a passer rating of just 80.3. Coming into the game, Palmer had thrown 27 touchdown passes, and his passer rating was 108.6.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C. Bruce Ellington fumbled a punt which the Cardinals recovered.
COACHES: C. Eric Mangini was fantastic. Geep Chryst was not. He coached scared. Called quick passes on third down instead of max-protection plays which would have given Gabbert time to throw past the first-down marker. Head coach Jim Tomsula wasn’t much better than Chryst. Tomsula got his players to play hard, but not disciplined. The Niners committed 13 penalties—one a result of Torrey Smith standing too close to the field and knocking into an official. Never would have happened under Jim Harbaugh.