SANTA CLARA – Here are the 49ers’ grades following their 31-3 beat down of the Cleveland Browns.
QUARTERBACK: B-plus. The game essentially was over before Jimmy Garoppolo had to do much. The 49ers ran for 185 yards just in the first half, and Garoppolo threw for just 181 yards the entire game. But, he was efficient. He completed 69 percent of his passes, threw two touchdown passes, zero interceptions and posted a quarterback rating of 108.5. Against the Rams next week, he’ll have to throw downfield more frequently. Against the Browns, he did everything necessary to win.
RUNNING BACKS: A-plus. Matt Breida averaged 10.4 yards per carry and Tevin Coleman averaged 6.1. Not typos. The 49ers might have the best group of running backs in the league. Unfortunately for the 49ers, they lost their fullback, Kyle Juszczyk, who injured his knee. Juszczyk is a great blocker and the key to their run game. They need him back A.S.A.P.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C-minus. Marquise Goodwin led this group with 41 receiving yards. He is their most consistent wide receiver. Second-year wide receiver Dante Pettis seems like a bust. He caught just one pass for 11 yards, and dropped a perfectly-thrown pass over the middle.
TIGHT ENDS: A. George Kittle had his best game of the season. He caught six passes for 70 yards and one touchdown. He was a ferocious after the catch, a big-time target near the red zone and an excellent blocker. He’s so good, and still is improving.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B-plus. Justin Skule, Laken Tomlinson, Weston Richburg, Mike Person and Mike McGlinchey all fit the 49ers’ run scheme perfectly. But, McGlinchey, the right tackle, struggles in pass protection. He gave up two sacks to the Browns. Rookie sixth-round-pick Justin Skule might be better than McGlinchey.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A-plus. Nick Bosa was phenomenal. He recorded two sacks, five quarterback hits, four tackles, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. He finally seems to have recovered from the high-ankle sprain he suffered in training camp. The rest of the 49ers defensive linemen were dominant, too. DeForest Buckner recorded a sack, and Dee Ford recorded half a sack.
LINEBACKERS: A-minus. Fred Warner led the defense with five tackles, and Kwon Alexander recorded half of a sack. Browns running back Nick Chubb averaged 5.4 yards per carry, but the Browns couldn’t commit to the run because they fell behind so quickly.
DEFENSIVE BACKS: A. Emmanuel Moseley started in place of cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who has a sprained foot, and played exceptionally well. Covered Odell Beckham Jr. and gave up no catches. Even knocked down a pass in the end zone and saved a touchdown. Nickel back K’Waun Williams intercepted a bobbled pass in the end zone – he played well, too. And so did Jimmie Ward, who started at free safety and played his first game of the season. The only 49ers defensive back who struggled was Richard Sherman, who gave up four catches.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D. Robbie Gould, one of the most accurate kickers in league history, missed two field goals, and the Browns blocked a third one. And punt returner Richie James Jr. kept letting punts hit the ground. The 49ers may need a new punt returner.
COACHES: A-plus. Last season when the 49ers came off their Bye week, they were rusty and sluggish, and lost 27-9 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This season, the 49ers were not rusty. They put their bye week to good use, and put the Browns away immediately. Give head coach Kyle Shanahan credit for preparing his team, and for scheming one of the best running games in the NFL. It’s so good, the 49ers can beat some teams, such as the Browns, without throwing much. And Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh continues to make a case for the Assistant Coach of the Year Award. His defense was lights-out. The Browns probably wished they could have fired their head coach, Freddie Kitchens, and replaced him with Saleh at halftime. Maybe they’ll make the swap during the offseason. Saleh just put him out of business.