SANTA CLARA – Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 28-0 Week 1 win over the Los Angeles Rams.
BLAINE GABBERT: C+. Threw for just 170 yards on 35 passes – a mere 4.9 yards per attempt, way below the league average of 7.3. And posted a passer rating of 84.2 – also below the league average of 88.4. Inaccurate most of the night. Threw a couple of passes that should have been intercepted and missed some downfield throws by a mile. Also missed a few short throws most quarterbacks make in their sleep. Even Gabbert’s completions were inaccurate passes that prevented his receivers from gaining yards after the catch.
But he was by far the best quarterback on the field. Better than the Niners’ backup, and better than the opposing starter, Case Keenum, who threw two interceptions and exactly no touchdown passes. Gabbert threw one touchdown pass and zero interceptions. He made no major mistakes. He also rushed for 43 yards and four first downs.
RUNNING BACKS: B. Carlos Hyde rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries during the first half when the 49ers put away the game. Shaun Draughn also rushed for a touchdown in the first half, but he fumbled once, which knocked down this group’s grade from an ‘A’ to a ‘B.’
WIDE RECEIVERS: B. Jeremy Kerley and Quinton Patton each gained 60 receiving yards and blocked extremely well in the running game. Those two are a big reason the Niners rushed for 150 yards. Torrey Smith was a disappointment. He caught only two passes and dropped one, although to be fair he was open a few times and Gabbert simply missed him.
TIGHT ENDS: B. Vance McDonald and Garrett Celek both blocked well, and McDonald caught a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B+. Blew away the Rams’ excellent defensive line in the first half, and made All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald quit in the fourth quarter. Donald, a sore loser, threw a punch at a 49er and made contact with an official before getting ejected.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A-. Didn’t generate a ton pressure against the quarterback, but shut down one of the best running backs in the NFL, Todd Gurley, who could not run between the tackles against the Niners’ defensive line.
LINEBACKERS: A+. Seemed much faster than the Rams’ offense. Swarmed their ball carriers from sideline to sideline. NaVorro Bowman and Ray Ray Armstrong each intercepted Keenum once.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: A. Erased the Rams’ best receiver, Tavon Austin, who finished the game with four catches for 13 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A-. Gave up one long punt return to Austin, but otherwise played extremely well. Jaquiski Tartt is a better special teams player than a safety.
COACHES: A-. Prepared his team to play, and designed a smart offensive game plan, which is more than you can say for the Rams, who were dead on arrival. The Niners could have taken a knee every single offensive snap during the second half and still won. In fact, they probably should have done that. The only way they could have lost was to commit a turnover.