SANTA CLARA – The 49ers lost 28-18 to the Arizona Cardinals Sunday afternoon. Here are the 49ers grades:
BEATHARD: F. He committed four freaking turnovers. No quarterback ever should commit four freaking turnovers in one game, especially a backup quarterback who lacks talent, like Beathard. His job is to protect the freaking football and not lose the game singlehandedly. He has committed six freaking turnovers in two starts this season. He’s a freaking turnover machine. The more times he drops back to throw, the more frequently bad things happen. The 49ers must protect him from himself. Must treat him like the backup freaking quarterback he is.
RUNNING BACKS: B-minus. They didn’t score, but they rushed for 140 yards despite Matt Breida leaving in the first quarter with a left-ankle injury. He did not return. Alfred Morris ran well enough as the backup. He gained 61 yards and didn’t fumble. He deserved more carries. Raheem Mostert gained just 11 yards, and fumbled once.
WIDE RECEIVERS: F. Marquise Goodwin has reverted to the receiver he was in Buffalo – an injury-prone track guy. He didn’t play. Pierre Garcon is old and should retire. He caught just five of his 12 targets. Trent Taylor did nothing until garbage time.
TIGHT ENDS: C-minus. George Kittle had another strong game. He led the 49ers 83 receiving yards. But, Garrett Celek was a liability for the second week in a row. He committed a penalty and caught no passes. Third-string tight end Cole Wick was a liability, too. He dropped a pass.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C-minus. Joe Staley, Mike McGlinchey and Weston Richburg all played through injuries, although Richburg didn’t finish the game. Staley finished, but really struggled. He gave up a sack and committed a false start. Collectively, this group gave up four sacks.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A. This group was fantastic against the run, limiting the Cardinals to just 54 yards on the ground. As usual, the D-line didn’t generate much pass rush, but didn’t need to this week. It was facing Josh Rosen, who was awful. He completed just 40 percent of his throws.
LINEBACKERS: A. We hardly noticed Reuben Foster and Fred Warner. But, that’s because the Cardinals kept running the ball into the middle of the 49ers D-line. Cardinals running back David Johnson rarely reached the linebackers.
SAFETIES: C. Jaquiski Tartt returned from a shoulder injury and played well. Adrian Colbert did not. He made a seven-point mistake on the defense’s first play from scrimmage. He abandoned his area of the zone coverage to chase Larry Fitzgerald across the field, and the Cardinals completed a 75-yard touchdown pass where Colbert should have been.
CORNERBACKS: A. They were not the reason the 49ers lost. Ahkello Witherspoon had his best game of the season. Richard Sherman gave up zero catches, although he got beat once. Rosen overthrew the pass.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D. Robbie Gould missed an extra-point attempt and a 45-yard field goal attempt. He had made 33 field goals in a row.
COACHES: D. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh coached well. He made adjustments, broke tendencies, was creative. Called Cover 2 on lots of key third downs instead of simply calling Cover 3 all game. He absolutely outcoached his boss, Kyle Shanahan, who made no adjustments, broke no tendencies, showed no creativity. He lost this game. He doubled down on every mistake he made last week, and overexposed his backup quarterback for the second game in a row. The 49ers didn’t need to throw for 54 times for 350 yards to beat the Cardinals. The 49ers didn’t even need to score many points. They just needed to play safety-first, conservative offense and not commit five turnovers. Needed to take the ball out of Beathard’s hands and run it as much as possible. They needed to do what the Cardinals did. But, Shanahan didn’t do what the Cardinals did, because he can’t call a conservative game, because he’s a genius. He wants to prove it by accumulating lots of yards, even if he loses. He doesn’t coach to win. He may be an offensive genius, but he also is a bad head coach. His record without Jimmy Garoppolo is 1-12. We know what Garoppolo brings to the 49ers. His record is 6-2. What does Kyle bring to this team? How is he any better than Hue Jackson?