The Packers beat the 49ers 33-30 Monday night. Here are the 49ers grades:
BEATHARD: C. For three quarters, he played the game of his life. He made good decisions, accurate throws and outplayed Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau Field. Then, the fourth quarter started. Beathard’s passer rating was 16.7 during that quarter. First, he missed an easy throw to George Kittle in the red zone. That miss may have cost the 49ers four points. Two possessions later, Beathard underthrew a deep pass to Marquise Goodwin on third-and-3. The Packers intercepted the ball, and won the game shortly after. Beathard showed in the fourth quarter why he is nothing more than a mere backup quarterback. The 49ers were wrong to trade up in the third round to get him.
RUNNING BACKS: B. They rushed 26 times for 148 yards – an excellent average of 5.7 yards per carry. But, when the 49ers had the ball and a seven-point lead with four minutes left, they couldn’t run to put the game away. The running game failed when it mattered. And Kyle Juszczyk fumbled earlier in the game.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C-plus. Marquise Goodwin scored two touchdowns and caught four passes for 126 yards. He makes the 49ers offense so much more dangerous when he’s healthy. The rest of the wide receivers were non-factors. Pierre Garcon had just 37 receiving yards. Time to bench him.
TIGHT ENDS: C-minus. George Kittle had just 30 receiving yards, but would have had more if Beathard hadn’t overthrown him in the red zone during the fourth quarter. Garrett Celek had zero receiving yards. If only the 49ers hadn’t traded away Vance McDonald last season. He would be a huge upgrade over Celek.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B. These guys blocked well most of the game, but couldn’t create rushing lanes during crunch time. And Mike McGlinchey gave up two sacks. The rest of this unit gave up none.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A-minus. Ronald Blair, Sheldon Day and DeForest Buckner each recorded one sack. Buckner would have recorded two, but a penalty by Richard Sherman negated the second one. Overall, these guys played well most of the game. But, on third-and-10 with the game on the line, the defensive line abandoned their rush lanes and let Rodgers scramble up the middle for 21 yards. Fundamental mistake.
LINEBACKERS: B. They gave up long passes during the first quarter after biting on play-action fakes. But, they adjusted and played well the rest of the game.
SAFETIES: D. Jaquiski Tartt gave up an 11-yard catch to Jimmy Graham on third-and-5 during the third quarter. Tartt was in man-to-man coverage, but took his eyes off Graham and looked at the quarterback. Fundamental mistake.
CORNERBACKS: F. Richard Sherman extended the game by committing a holding penalty on third-and-15 and giving the Packers and automatic first down during their final drive. And cornerback Greg Mabin lost the game by giving up three catches after Sherman’s penalty.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus. Robbie Gould was perfect kicking field goals, but returner D.J. Reed fumbled a kick return, and the 49ers benched him.
COACHES: C. Kyle Shanahan lost a game because of his coaching which he almost won because of his coaching. His team was prepared. They played hard and committed just two penalties. His game plan was brilliant. It had a little bit of everything. His play-calling was balanced and aggressive. He called more runs than passes through the first three quarters. And he had a seven-point lead with four minutes left. But, he couldn’t hold it. His offense stopped working. Then, with 1:16 left in the game, he had the ball near midfield facing second-and-3. The Packers had no timeouts. Had he called a run on either second down or third down, the game probably would have gone to overtime, or the 49ers might have won. Instead, he called back-to-back passes. The first was incomplete, and the second was intercepted. Shanahan gave away a win, just like he did in the Super Bowl. And his defensive coordinator was equally bad with the game on the line. Robert Saleh allowed the Packers to pick on Mabin repeatedly on the final drive. Saleh didn’t help him. Could have given him safety help. Didn’t. Once again, the 49ers beat themselves. Both their players and coaches don’t know how to win.