GLENDALE, AZ. – The 49ers lost 23-14 to the Cardinals. Here are the 49ers’ grades.
KAEPERNICK: A. Gained 290 of the 49ers’ 318 total yards. Ran 13 times for 54 yards and completed 78.4 percent of his passes. Passer rating was 103.3. The entire offense was Kaepernick. Hard to win in the NFL with a one-player offense.
RUNNING BACKS: D. Frank Gore carried the ball 6 times and gained 10 yards. Awful. Carlos Hyde had a tough seven-yard touchdown run on a sweep around the 49ers’ left side, but he carried the ball just three times all game. The 49ers had an eight-point lead when the second half started and, in that half, Gore and Carlos Hyde each ran the ball just once and each gained just three yards. The past two games, Gore and Hyde have gained just 19 yards on 12 second-half carries. Hard to keep a lead in the NFL without a running game.
WIDE RECEIVERS: B-. Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and Stevie Johnson combined to catch 25 passes on 26 targets. Most of those catches were short- gainers – the 49ers didn’t have a deep passing threat without Vernon Davis. Still, Stevie Johnson was excellent. The Cardinals couldn’t cover him. But Anquan Boldin did not have a good game. His 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty killed the 49ers’ drive when they were in the red zone at the end of the third quarter. Boldin caught the ball at the Cardinals’ six yard line and got tackled and, as he got up, he hit a defender. The penalty pushed back the Niners and a few plays later the Cardinals blocked Phil Dawson’s 45-yard field goal attempt.
TIGHT ENDS:C. Derek Carrier caught one pass for 23 yards when the Cardinals didn’t cover him. No other tight ends caught passes. Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald did not play.
OFFENSIVE LINE:D. Jonathan Martin was flagged for a 15-yard clipping penalty in the red zone. The offensive line could not move the Cardinals’ defensive line in the run game and had a tough time picking up the Cardinals’ blitzes in the second half.
DEFENSIVE LINE: D. Held the Cardinals to just 3.1 yards per carry, but the four-man pass rush produced no pressure against a bad offensive line and the defense sacked Drew Stanton zero times.
LINEBACKERS: D-. Even when they blitzed they couldn’t get to Stanton. Patrick Willis and Dan Skuta committed back-to-back 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalties in the third quarter. The Cardinals scored a touchdown and took a six-point lead on that drive.
DEFENSIVE BACKS:F. Made Stanton, a backup, look like a Pro Bowler. The 49ers had no answer for Michael Floyd, either. He caught five passes for 114 yards. In addition, the Niners gave up two long touchdown passes to a rookie, John Brown. He was wide open on both plays. On his second touchdown catch, Brown beat 49ers’ rookie first-round-pick Jimmie Ward at the line of scrimmage, beat him like a tambourine, and Ward had no safety help over the top, which equals touchdown Arizona.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D. Allowed Tommy Freaking Kelly to block Phil Dawson’s 45-yard field goal attempt at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
COACHES: F. The 49ers were penalized 12 times. Nine were enforced. Six were 15-yarders. Embarrassing. Last season, after the 49ers’ beat the Cardinals at Candlestick Park, Jim Harbaugh bragged about “grinding that meat” and finishing games by running the ball. Gore and Hyde rushed just nine times all game. What happened to the meat grinder, Jim?