Here are the grades for the San Francisco 49ers’ 25-20 win over the Baltimore Ravens.
KAEPERNICK: B+. His stats were better than his actual performance. He posted a passer rating of 128.2 and threw two touchdown passes. But the first touchdown pass came as a result of Shareece Wright biting on a double-move by Torrey Smith, and the second touchdown pass came as a result of Wright falling down while covering Quinton Patton. If Wright still were on the Niners (they cut him, and the Ravens signed him this week), Kaepernick’s performance probably wouldn’t have been so good.
RUNNING BACKS: C+. Carlos Hyde’s stats were worse than his actual performance. He gained just 55 yards on 21 carries – just 2.6 yards per attempt. But he had 48 yards on 12 carries at halftime. The Niners wanted Hyde to run down the clock in the second half, and that’s what he did. The real standout in this group was fullback Bruce Miller, who caught three passes for 89 yards, including a 52-yard catch when he was wide open. For some reason, the Niners haven’t used Miller much this season.
WIDE RECEIVERS: A. Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith torched their former team – Boldin gained 102 yards, Smith gained 96 and scored a touchdown. Quinton Patton, the No. 3 receiver, also scored a touchdown. The wide receivers were the strength of the offense today. Ravens’ corners couldn’t cover them.
TIGHT ENDS: F. Before the season, the 49ers liked to say that the tight end position was the strength of the offense. It seems the coaching staff finally figured out they were wrong about that. Against the Ravens, Vernon Davis and Garrett Celek both caught zero passes, and Vance McDonald caught one. Strength of the offense, indeed.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B. After playing like the worst offensive line in the league the first three weeks of the season, these guys were solid for the third game in a row. For the most part, they gave Kaepernick plenty of time to throw.
DEFENSIVE LINE: B. Generated no pass rush, but shut down Ravens’ running back Justin Forsett, who played despite an injured ankle.
LINEBACKERS: C. Generated no pass rush and gave up 17 catches to running backs and tight ends, but none of those catches went for big gains. The underneath coverage did a good job tackling after the running back or tight end made a catch. And Michael Wilhoite made a beautiful diving interception.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: C. The Niners couldn’t cover Steve Smith, who caught one touchdown pass and dropped two in the end zone. If he had caught those passes, the Ravens would have scored 28 points, not 20.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C. Jarryd Hayne fumbled during a punt return, and Bradley Pinion averaged only 38 yards per punt. But, kicker Phil Dawson was perfect.
COACHES: B. Give Geep Chryst credit for ruthlessly attacking Shareece Wright all game. Give Eric Mangini credit for holding the Ravens to just four conversions 13 third downs. Give the entire staff credit for outcoaching an opponent. How often will that happen?