SANTA CLARA — The 49ers just gave away a game to the Rams, a dreadful team that was trying its best to lose. Here are the 49ers’ grades.
KAEPERNICK: D+. Was that him? Didn’t look like it. Whoever was wearing the red No.7 jersey looked timid, tentative, not explosive at all. Averaged just 7.18 yards per pass and 2.8 yards per carry, converted 3-of-12 third down and scored no touchdowns in two trips to the red zone. Also fumbled three times and the Rams’ recovered two of them, including the last play of the game when the guy wearing the red No.7 jersey fumbled a quarterback sneak at the goal line. He also threw two passes to Rams defenders and they dropped and both of them. The 49ers should dump this imposter.
RUNNING BACKS: D+. Frank Gore was sluggish for the third game in a row. Carlos Hyde ran well but carried the ball only twice.
WIDE RECEIVERS: D+. Michael Crabtree dropped at least three passes. What happened to him? He’s just bad. Jim Harbaugh should bench him and replace him with Stevie Johnson. Johnson has been hot all season and played well again today, but Greg Roman forgot about him until the fourth quarter. Johnson caught just three passes. Roman also caught forgot about Brandon Lloyd, another hot receiver. He caught only one pass before he left the game in the second half with a hamstring injury.
TIGHT ENDS: F. Vernon Davis caught two passes for 19 yards. I can’t remember the last time Kaepernick threw a deep pass to Davis. What’s the point of having Davis if you don’t throw him at least one deep pass a game?
OFFENSIVE LINE: F. Gave up 8 sacks. Committed five penalties. Created very little running room against one of the worst run defenses in football. Joe Staley gave up three sacks. He has given up 7 sacks already this season. He used to be a top-flight left tackle, but he has regressed.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A. Shut down Tre Mason, a good, young running back. Held him to just 3.4 yards per carry.
LINEBACKERS: B+. Sacked Austin Davis only once. Ahmad Brooks continued his streak of doing nothing. Aaron Lynch is by far the 49ers’ best pass rusher. Chris Borland filled in well for Patrick Willis, making 18 tackles total.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: A. Picked off Austin Davis twice, and he attempted only 24 passes. The Niners’ defensive backs simply were better than the Rams’ wide receivers. Perrish Cox and Antoine Bethea looked like All Pros.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D-. Andy Lee punted the ball just 23 yards from his end zone and set up the Rams’ go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter. Phil Dawson missed a 55-yarder short and he struggled to kick the ball into the end zone on kickoffs for the first time as a Niner. Is he hurt? Bruce Ellington returned punts and kicks well but was flagged 15-yards for flipping a ball to a Rams’ player in the fourth quarter.
COACHES: F+. Give Vic Fangio credit. He coached well enough. But Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman coached like they still were on their Bye week. What were they thinking? Where was Brandon Lloyd in the first half before he injured his hamstring? Has he not been the 49ers’ best deep threat this season? Did he not scorch the Rams for an 80-yard TD catch three weeks ago? And where was Stevie Johnson? He was hot prior to the Bye week, a virtual unknown today. Other than watching him go in motion across the formation, I would not have known he was in the game before the fourth quarter. Why would Roman not have more plays designed to go to Johnson based on how well he played the past few weeks? What did Harbaugh and Roman do during the Bye week? Clearly they did not properly evaluate who their hottest players were.