SANTA CLARA – The 49ers beat the Chargers 21-7 Sunday afternoon. Here are the grades for the Niners’ starters.
KAEPERNICK: D-. Fumbled twice and committed one turnover. Completed 50 percent of his passes. Completed zero percent of his passes in the red zone. Posted a 64.2 passer rating. Performed poorly in areas he needed to improve this offseason – accuracy, touch, footwork and red-zone passing.
RUNNING BACKS: C. Carlos Hyde popped a beautiful 20-yard run. Takeaway that play and he gained just 18 yards on five carries. Still, he ran hard and picked up yards after contact. There just wasn’t much room to run up the middle. LaMichael James was flat-out bad, gaining 9 yards on 7 carries.
WIDE RECEIVERS: B. Anquan Boldin caught two short passes and Michael Crabtree caught one. Stevie Johnson caught a 5-yard pass and was flagged for being offside. Quinton Patton was better than Johnson. Patton caught a 10-yard pass while taking a vicious hit to the head on third-and-10. Jim Harbaugh would not say after the game if Patton or Johnson will be the No.3 receiver when the regular season begins.
TIGHT ENDS: B+. Vernon Davis dropped a short pass Colin Kaepernick threw with no touch. Davis also caught a 16-yard pass on third-and-five, easily outrunning the Chargers’ starting strong safety Marcus Gilchrist on a crossing route. Vance McDonald made three catches – one was a touchdown and the other two were tough grabs. Once he spun around and caught a pass behind him. Another time he jumped and caught a ball over his head.
OFFENSIVE LINE: F. Allowed constant pressure up the middle. Mike Iupati was the worst, getting beat over and over again by Corey Liuget. Liuget also beat Daniel Kilgore, who didn’t play particularly well. The 49ers can’t be a power-running team if they can’t get push up the middle. The 49ers need Alex Boone back.
DEFENSIVE LINE: C. Allowed Ryan Matthews to average 5.5 yards per carry and Danny Woodhead to average 4.0 yards per carry. Generated zero pressure on Philip Rivers.
LINEBACKERS: C. Also generated zero pressure on Rivers. That’s two weeks in a row Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks have been non-factors against the pass. Smith played particularly poorly, missing two tackles in the backfield.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: D. The only pass Rivers didn’t complete was a deep one that Chris Culliver knocked away. Rivers completed 9 of 10 pass attempts and his passer rating was 135.4. He moved the ball at will against the 49ers’ defense. When he got to the red zone he immediately went after Craig Dahl, the 49ers’ weak link in the secondary. Dahl lost Antonio Gates in the end zone – what a surprise – and Rivers hit Gates for an easy touchdown.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Phil Dawson made both of his field goal attempts after missing two last week. Bubba Ventrone was flagged for being offside on a kickoff.
GRASS: F. Chunks of sod were coming up all game. LaMichael James said after the game that he twisted an ankle on the opening kickoff. The grass gave out under his foot as he tried to catch the ball.