Here are the grades for the 49ers’ 47-7 meltdown against the Cardinals.
KAEPERNICK: F. Killed his team’s spirit by throwing two pick-sixes to start the game. You could see it in the 49ers’ faces on the sideline during the first quarter – they had no energy, no emotion, no belief in their ability to win. And no belief in their quarterback. After the second pick-six, the coaching staff didn’t let Kaepernick throw a pass for two series. The Niners may have to spend a first-round pick on a quarterback next year. Maybe they can get the kid from Cal, Jared Goff. He looks better than Kaepernick right now.
RUNNING BACKS: C. Carlos Hyde gained just 51 yards on 15 carries, but he had virtually nowhere to run. The Niners’ stretch-zone running game doesn’t work against 3-4 defenses, and the Niners’ offensive line kept getting pushed backward. Backup running back Mike Davis couldn’t even get out of his tracks before getting pummeled in the backfield.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C. Anquan Boldin caught two passes for 16 yards, and Torrey Smithy caught zero passes for zero yards. Still, hard to fault them considering how poorly Kaepernick played.
TIGHT ENDS: C. Vance McDonald didn’t suit up – the Niners missed his blocking in the running game. Third-string tight end Garrett Celek led all 49ers with three catches for 29 yards. When Celek is your leading receiver, you’ve got problems.
OFFENSIVE LINE: F. Just horrendous.
DEFENSIVE LINE: D. Gave up 150 rushing yards and two touchdowns to Chris Johnson, who’s 186 years old. Rookie Arik Armstead generated some push and recorded a sack during the fourth quarter when the game was over. Armstead also celebrated after the sack. Maybe he lost track of the score.
LINEBACKERS: D. Aaron Lynch got shut out by Cardinals’ right tackle Earl Watford, and NaVorro Bowman struggled in coverage for the third game in a row.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: D. It’s hard to say which defensive back played the worst, because the Cardinals’ receivers seemed wide open all game. Whatever defensive coordinator Eric Mangini was calling, it wasn’t working.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Jarryd Hayne returned a punt 37 yards, and set up the 49ers’ only touchdown of the game.
COACHES: F. Tell me why offensive coordinator Geep Chryst would align his quarterback in the pistol four yards deep in the end zone, and his running back seven yards deep in the end zone, and then run a read option play from the 1-and-a-half yard line. Please, someone tell me why Chryst would do that.