49ers 21, Cardinals 33: Grades


These are the grades for the 49ers’ 33-21 loss to the Cardinals.

QUARTERBACK: D. Blaine Gabbert showed none of the confidence he played with last week against the Cowboys. He somehow managed to average more yards per rush (7.0) than yards per pass (5.2), which has to be an NFL first. He also somehow managed to lead the offense to 21 points despite committing three turnovers. His most egregious turnover was his second interception, when he double-patted the ball while staring down his intended receiver, Jeremy Kerley, which allowed Cardinals cornerback Marcus Cooper to break on the pass before it even left Gabbert’s hand.

RUNNING BACKS: F. The Niners’ best running back was their quarterback, who rushed for 70 yards on 10 carries. Carlos Hyde, the starting tailback, rushed for 78 yards on 22 carries. He is averaging only 4.0 yards per carry through five games.

WIDE RECEIVERS: D. Jeremy Kerley, maybe be the best player on the team, caught 8 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown. The second-leading receiver, Quinton Patton, caught two passes for 16 yards. And Torrey Smith, supposedly the team’s No. 1 receiver, caught zero passes, although Gabbert over threw him deep down the field for the second game in a row.

TIGHT ENDS: D. Garrett Celek caught just one pass for four yards, although he was open on the first play of the game and Gabbert overthrew him. Do you sense a theme?

OFFENSIVE LINE: D. Gave up 7 sacks and a safety while primarily playing from open formations (no tight ends). The coaching staff could have helped the line by using more than just five blockers on passing downs. More on the coaches below.

DEFENSIVE LINE: F. Gave up 174 rushing yards and recorded zero sacks. Trent Baalke officially assembled one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL.

LINEBACKERS: F. To tackle successfully, you have to strike through and beyond the ball carrier. You can’t just lunge and try to tackle him where he is, although that’s what the Niners’ linebackers try to do every week. Shameful.

SECONDARY: C. Gave up two touchdown passes to Drew Stanton, the Cardinals’ backup quarterback.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F. Kick returner Chris Davis gave away the game when he fumbled the kickoff to start the third quarter.

COACHES: D. The 49ers’ players beat themselves by committing 14 FIPS (fumbles, interceptions, penalties and sacks). But the coaching staff could have put the players in better positions to succeed. Here’s what I mean:

Chip Kelly knows the Cardinals’ defense likes to blitz on third down. So why not call a play with more secure protection to pick up the pressure so Gabbert can make a legitimate throw to guys beyond the chains?

On one third-and-long play, Kelly called a five-man protection and Gabbert felt pressure right away. So he threw a quick one-yard pass to Carlos Hyde while the other receivers still were running and had yet to reach the chains for the first down.

Kelly played right into the Cardinals’ hands.

Grant Cohn writes sports columns and the “Inside the 49ers” blog for The Press Democrat’s website. You can reach him at grantcohn@gmail.com.

This article has 27 Comments

  1. ‘Trent Baalke officially assembled one of the worst defensive lines in the NFL.’

    And to think it was meant to be one of the team’s strengths this year. Sigh.

  2. Secondary deserves a D. Robinson made a bone headed play running into the Kicker, and the Cards receivers dropped many balls, or it would have been an F.

  3. Went to the game, what a sad show. Drew Stanton????? I luckily had tickets to the Mellon bank room and just ate and drank and gave up. Can’t believe this is the product on the field. Baalke has to be fired before year end. Teams a joke. 3-13 year…

  4. ” The 49ers’ players beat themselves by committing 14 FIPS (fumbles, interceptions, penalties and sacks). ” What a ridiculous statement.

    Are you sure the opponent was not on the field when those 14 FIPS occurred? Good defenses, and the Cards have a top notch one, work at causing fumbles (second in the NFL last year). This year they lead the league in sacks, and interceptions and they were 4th in interceptions last year. So, no, 14 FIPS just didn’t magically happen…the Niners are not that inept. The Card D had a LOT to do with it.

    1. Niners only had 7 FIPS vs. Cowboys last Sunday afternoon. So, what was the difference for last night? I believe Niners had surrendered only 3 sacks before last night’s game! Also, when Gabbert scrambles and does not make it beyond the line of scrimmage, it is counted as a sack, even if it is for zero yards gained, and if my memory serves me, Gabbert had at least two of those such plays in the final minutes of the game, of course, not counting the sack/safety.
      Even at 1-3, the Niners were playing relatively “clean” football with respect to fumbles, interceptions, penalties and sacks. The wheels came off last night, although the Niners still had several excellent opportunities squandered early in the game – opening pass to Celek and later to a wide open Kerley were two potential big gainers.
      Heck, the game was 7-7 at the half, and the Niners were receiving the second half kick-off, then the roof caved in in a matter of minutes.
      Run defense does look like “swiss cheese,” but maintaining gap integrity, “playing square” and taking on blockers with the proper shoulder appear to be issues, and those elements are coachable and can be corrected!

  5. They can’t put Kap out on the field..
    The Defense would love to kill that punk.
    I can hear it now..
    Defensive lineman..
    “”Hey boy u can’t stand for the national anthem..well I guess I will make sure u can’t stand at all””….

    That would be classic

  6. So, looking at the Niners’ situation in contrast to the Eagles. What does it say when the Eagles are 3-0. It says coaching and quarterback…… Jeb York made a monumental mistake not hiring Mike Shanahn…..the league has figure Chip Kelly out. Trent Baalke let ego get in front of winning hiring a tamed Chip Kelly and by passing a super bowl winning coach who twice before said he’d relinquish some personnel control because Shanahan believed he could with in San Francisco. If the a third time, hire Shanahan, turn over the football operations over to him, and bring “professional” football back to the Bay!

    1. Shanahan wasn’t hired because he wanted to get rid of Kap. Kap sucks and Shanahan knew it. I bet if you called Shanahan or Holmgren today they would still take the HC job. They are the only credible coaches that would work for Jed and Trent.

  7. We are at the point when it has become fruitless to grade positions and critique individual performances. We are the worst team in the NFL with the possible exception of Titans.

    The real stats which matter: 66%, 2, Week 13, 42% and 0

    1. 66% of our draft picks in rounds 1-3 , including all first round picks, have been defensive players the last 3 years. Yet, our defensive is one of the worst. We dont have a shut down corner. Our LB cant stop the run and we dont have an edge rusher. Our D line gets thrown around like rag dolls. We are near the bottom of league in sacks and qb pressures.

    2. In the last 3 years , there have been only 2 receivers who have made any reasonable contribution to the niners – Boldin/Kerly. They were both discards from other teams.

    3. Week 13 is our next realistic opportunity to win a game -vs Bears. We are a horrible team. The niners , Titans, Jags should be demoted to a lesser league – Carribean NFL or something. An all-star SEC/ACC college team could beat us. Before you say no, Rookie and 2nd stringer QBs beat us without issue.

    4. 42% is what I estimate last nights attendance to be based on empty seats. No one wants to support a loser run by an incompetent owner.

    5. 0. Zero appearances by Jed York last night. Where is he? WHere does he hide? Does he even watch the games? This guy is an embarrassment. He has ruined a once great franchise.

    Things will not change until Denise takes the Niners away from little Jed.

    1. Rollo…….
      Your close but not quite there. Things will not change until the Yorks sell the team. Denise will only damage it further-if thats possible.

      This team should absolutely be boycotted.

  8. the game was essentially unwatchable.

    virtually empty stadium suggests Niner fans in the Bay Area figured this out beforehand.

    right now, Jed York realizes he made the wrong call of choosing Baalke – he of the big hands/recent ACL scar – and his talent for political infighting over Harbaugh, a coach who just wins everywhere he goes.

    he’s got a brand new stadium and a product no one wants to watch.

    I think that grades out as an F.

  9. Sad times for a once proud franchise. The Niners will not win another game this year. That’s a good thing. That way they’ll get the number one pick and Trent can draft a player with a significant injury. Maybe a broken neck instead of just a serious knee injury. As far as the diminished crowd, doesn’t matter. The games are sold out. The problem is the product on the field is so pathetic the sucker season ticket holders can’t sell their tickets, except some to fans of other teams, such as the cowboy fans last week, who took over the stadium. The smartest decision I’ve ever made was not renewing my season tickets for the new stadium after 38 years at the ‘stick. The Niners are the second most profitable organization in the NFL and ownership could care less about what they are putting on the field. Good luck and good night.

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