FOXBORO, Ma. – The 49ers beat the Patriots 41-34 and clinched a playoff berth. Here are the grades for the 49ers’ offense.
Offensive line: B+. They gave up just one sack – Rob Ninkovich beat Joe Staley. Other than that, the offensive line gave Kaepernick a ton of time to throw all game. They also created huge holes in the running game in the first half when the 49ers averaged 5.9 yards per carry. But they were not effective run blockers in the second half when the 49ers wanted to pound the ball and use up the clock.
Running backs: B-. Frank Gore rushed for 73 yards on 15 carries in the first half, and just eight yards on six carries in the second half. LaMichael James had one nice 17-yard run. Other than that, he rushed seven times for 14 yards. For the first time in a long time, the 49ers were better passing than running.
Wide receivers: B. Michael Crabtree had a flat-out monster game. He caught seven passes for 107 yards including two touchdown passes. His second TD catch was the game-winner. He ran a simple hitch route, caught the ball and turned up field. Cornerback Kyle Arrington was right in front of him and completely whiffed on the tackle. Crabtree went right around him and ran into the end zone. It was almost impossible for the Patriots to win after that play.
Randy Moss caught two passes, including a TD. Ted Ginn Jr. and A.J. Jenkins were not targeted for passes.
The 49ers currently have two good wide receivers – Crabtree and Mario Manningham. Both need to be healthy in the playoffs.
Tight ends: C. Vernon Davis played poorly. He caught a 15-yard pass and ran backward, making it just a 10-yard gain. Also, he did not fully extend his arms on two well-thrown deep passes. Delanie Walker fumbled near the Patriots goal line, but he made up for it by catching a 34-yard touchdown pass.