OAKLAND – Before we get to the grades, let’s have a moment of silence for the Jim Harbaugh Era.
KAEPERNICK: Ω. He gets an omega, the last letter in the Greek alphabet, because English just won’t do. An ‘F’ isn’t low enough. A ‘Z’ isn’t low enough. This was the worst performance of Kaepernick’s career, the kind of performance that gets a quarterback benched and cut – three-for-11 third-down conversions, five sacks, three delay-of-game penalties and two picks against a team that lost 52-0 to the Rams last week. But the Niners can’t cut Kaepernick yet – they have no one to replace him. They’re stuck with him for a while.
RUNNING BACKS: B-. Carlos Hyde did nothing – two carries, four yards. He has had a poor rookie season. Frank Gore played well against a bad Raiders’ defense, even looked like the go-to guy he used to be, but he carried the ball only 12 times. He carried the ball 10 times last week against the Seahawks and 13 times the week before against the Redskins. We’re watching the end of his career.
WIDE RECEIVERS: F. Kaepernick forced the ball to Crabtree all afternoon as if Crabtree is a go-to guy. He ain’t. Crabtree caught 9 passes and averaged 6.2 yards per catch, proving he is one of the least-explosive receivers in the league. Anquan Boldin, the only go-to guy the Niners have left, caught just four passes and he dropped one – his eighth drop of the season. He’s declining.
TIGHT ENDS: D. Vernon Davis actually seemed to be trying. He even caught a 23-yard pass. And Garrett Celek caught a 22-yard pass. And both of them blocked pretty well. Still, they caught just three passes between the two of them. Pitiful. The Niners absolutely must draft a tight end in May.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C-. Give them credit for blocking well in the run game. Anthony Davis didn’t play, and Mike Iupati and Marcus Martin left early with injuries, but Gore still had holes to run through. In the passing game, the line wasn’t that bad. Kaepernick ran into a few of those sacks.
DEFENSIVE LINE: D. Negated the Raiders’ running game – they averaged just 2.7 yards per carry. But the Niners’ pass rush was non-existent. Derek Carr had hours to find open receivers, and there were lots of them. The Raiders’ backup right tackle, Khalif Barnes, shut out Aldon Smith, who has only two sacks since returning from suspension, and both sacks came against the Redskins’ rookie backup left tackle, Morgan Moses. Is Smith still a dominant pass rusher? He doesn’t seem to be.
LINEBACKERS: D. Chris Borland racked up a bunch of tackles like he usually does, but he struggled big-time in pass coverage and so did Michael Wilhoite. Aaron Lynch played but did nothing, and Ahmad Brooks didn’t play.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: Ω. Exposed by a bunch of below-average receivers. Gave up a 140.2 passer rating to Derek Carr, a rookie. Trent Baalke’s decision to take safeties over corners in the first round of the past two drafts hurt the defense today.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Phil Dawson made two 50-plus-yard field goals, but he missed a 47-yarder and that sealed the loss. On a positive note, Bruce Ellington was fantastic, averaging more than 30 yards per kick return.
COACHES: Ω. A week and a half to prepare for this and they still got outcoached by a lame-duck coaching staff. Goodbye, Jim Harbaugh.