These are the grades for the 49ers’ 37-18 loss to the Seahawks.
QUARTERBACK: F. Blaine Gabbert couldn’t have played much worse. He completed only 56 percent of his passes, averaged a miniscule 4.8 yards per attempt and beaned a running back in the helmet with a one-yard pass to the flat. Gabbert couldn’t hit a receiver in stride if his life depended on it. The only thing he does well is scramble. The Niners’ would be better off with Trevone Boykin, the Seahawks’ rookie backup quarterback.
RUNNING BACKS: F. Carlos Hyde rushed for 24 yards on nine carries during the first half when the game still was a game. Then Chip Kelly padded Hyde’s stats by feeding him the ball down 34 points with ten minutes left in the fourth quarter. Hyde’s signature moment came on the first play of the game when he mistakenly lined up at wide receiver instead of running back, and Blaine Gabbert turned and tried to hand the ball to no one. The Niners must have practiced that play 20 times last week. How did Hyde forget where to go? Remarkable.
WIDE RECEIVERS: F. Torrey Smith, the Niners’ leading receiver, caught just three passes for 35 yards then left the game with an injured ankle. Quinton Patton, the best receiver Trent Baalke ever drafted, caught one pass for eight yards.
TIGHT ENDS: F. Vance McDonald left the game early with a hip injury, Blake Bell dropped a pass and Garrett Celek caught three for 25 yards. This group of tight ends is among the worst in the NFL.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B. Kept Gabbert clean (no sacks) and gave him more than enough time to throw. Struggled creating running lanes during the first half, but I blame Chip Kelly’s simplistic system more than this group of players.
DEFENSIVE LINE: F. Got pushed around by the worst offensive line in the league, and gave up two touchdowns and a career-high 106 rushing yards to Christine Michael who had started just three NFL games before this one.
LINEBACKERS: D. Ahmad Brooks was the 49ers’ best player. He recorded two pass breakups, two tackles for loss and a sack. The rest of the linebackers were terrible. Eli Harold committed a horse collar penalty on third-and-long which gave the Seahawks an automatic first down. Gerald Hodges jumped offside and gave the Seahawks a free play which turned into a 40-yard pass to Jimmy Graham, who also beat NaVorro Bowman for a touchdown catch earlier in the game.
SECONDARY: F. Eric Reid was the 49ers’ worst player on defense. He gave up a 59-yard catch to Doug Baldwin and let Jimmy Graham wrestle what would have been an interception out of his hands. Reid has poor range and is one of the most overrated players in the league. The Niners’ corners aren’t much better. Tramaine Brock was equally responsible for Baldwin’s 59-yard catch, and Jimmie Ward left the game in the first half after pulling a muscle running down the field to cover a kickoff.
SPECIAL TEAMS: F. Phil Dawson missed a 53-yard field goal by about 15 yards and the punt-coverage unit gave up a 62-yard return to Tyler Lockett.
COACHES: F-. Jim O’Neil is an awful defensive coordinator – even worse than Eric Mangini – but Chip Kelly was the Niners’ kryptonite in this game. His plan was to throw short of the sticks on third down and hope his receiver could pick up the first down after the catch. He said so after the game.
This plan was moronic. Why? Because Kelly’s starting quarterback is physically incapable of throwing a pass that leads a receiver to run after the catch. Kelly should have known this – everyone else does. The Niners’ offense actually might have been successful if Kelly had called third-down plays in which the primary receiver ran to the sticks or past them. Instead, the offense converted just 4-of-15 third downs, and at one point had converted 0-of-10.
Can someone point out one area in which the Niners have improved from last season? To me, they have gotten worse on offense, defense and special teams.