SANTA CLARA – Here are the grades from the 49ers’ 20-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
COLIN KAEPERNICK: B. Managed the game. Completed 17-of-26 pass attempts (65 percent), turned the ball over zero times, committed no delay-of-game penalties and took just one sack. This is how Kaepernick must play for the Niners to win.
RUNNING BACKS: A. Reggie Bush left the game with a strained calf in the first half, so starter Carlos Hyde had to carry the entire offense. And that’s what he did. He carried the ball 26 times for 168 yards (6.5 yards per attempt) and two touchdowns. The way he ran tonight, he seems like he could finish the season with 2,000 yards.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C. The leading receiver was Anquan Boldin, who had four catches for 36 yards. Receivers were an afterthought in the passing game. Actually, the entire passing game was an afterthought. Boldin made his biggest contribution as a blocker on Hyde’s first touchdown run.
TIGHT ENDS: C. Vernon Davis dropped a pass, but he made a crucial 20-yard catch in the second half to help put the game away. And the second-best receiving tight end was Garrett Celek, not Vance McDonald. Celek had three catches for 40 yards, and McDonald had just one for five yards. Both players played extensively. The Niners’ offense is built around tight ends.
OFFENSIVE LINE: A-. The left side of the offensive line created much more push in the running game than the right side of the line. But both sides held up in pass protection.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A. Helped limit Adrian Peterson to 31 rushing yards on 10 carries. Nose tackle Ian Williams was particularly dominant, shutting down Peterson’s runs up the middle. Without the threat of a running game, the Vikings’ entire offense fell apart.
LINEBACKERS: A. NaVorro Bowman was the 49ers’ best run-defender. And he was so good, the Vikings never established a play-action passing game, which was the only way they could have attacked Bowman and the Niners’ defense.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: A. Antoine Bethea made a beautiful play in the end zone breaking up a deep pass intended for Mike Wallace in the first half. Teddy Bridgewater’s pass was perfect, but so was Bethea’s coverage. He made the catch extremely difficult for Wallace, who dropped the ball. This was a turning point in the game.
SPECIAL TEAMS: C. Jarryd Hayne fumbled the first punt he received and got benched in the first half. Bruce Ellington returned a punt for a touchdown, but it was called back due to two separate blocks in the back.
COACHES: A. Defensive coordinator Eric Mangini couldn’t have been much better – his defense held the Vikings to three points. Mangini’s play calls were perfect. Each blitz seemed to come precisely at the right time. Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst performed well, too. He kept coming back to the plays that were working (like stretch zone runs to the left), and he kept rolling Kaepernick out of the pocket – exactly how Greg Roman should have been using Kaepernick the past two seasons.