SANTA CLARA – The 49ers lost 27-9 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday afternoon. Here are the 49ers’ grades.
NICK MULLENS: F. Threw two interceptions for the second game in a row. Struggled passing to receivers who were outside the painted numbers on the field. Didn’t have enough arm strength to make those throws. Didn’t make any plays on third down. Didn’t give the 49ers a chance to win. Colin Kaepernick couldn’t have played worse. The 49ers should sign Kaepernick tomorrow. They never should have cut him in the first place. They’re not talented enough to cut talented players.
RUNNING BACKS: B-PLUS. Matt Breida rushed for 7.6 yards per carry, which is outstanding. But, he couldn’t gain one inch when the 49ers had the ball inside the one-yard line. He is not a red-zone running back. The 49ers need one.
WIDE RECEIVERS: C-MINUS. Dante Pettis played well – he caught four passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Kendrick Bourne did not play well – he was awful. He committed an illegal shift in the red zone, then lined up in the wrong spot the very next play and forced the 49ers to use a timeout. Bourne makes silly mistakes every week.
TIGHT ENDS: D-PLUS. George Kittle caught just 50 percent of his targets and averaged a measly eight yards per catch.
OFFENSIVE LINEMEN: D-PLUS. They blocked well in the running game when the offense wasn’t in the red zone. But, they also gave up four sacks and nine quarterback hits. This group is terribly overrated.
DEFENSIVE LINEMEN: C-PLUS. They limited Bucs running back to just 2.6 yards per carry, but also generated zero pass rush, as usual.
LINEBACKERS: C-PLUS. Fred Warner and Elijah Lee each recorded seven tackles. The defense did not miss Reuben Foster.
SAFETIES: F. Jaquiski Tartt gave up a touchdown catch to Cameron Brate. Jimmie Ward broke his forearm and will miss the rest of the season. Antone Exum Jr., Ward’s replacement, almost gave up a long touchdown catch to DeSean Jackson, but Jameis Winston overthrew him.
CORNERBACKS: F. Ahkello Witherspoon committed two pass-interference penalties, and Richard Sherman gave up three catches, including a long one to Mike Evans. Sherman looked like he was moving in slow motion.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D. Robbie Gould missed an extra point, and Greg Mabin committed essentially a 19-yard holding penalty during a punt return.
COACHES: F. Kyle Shanahan didn’t prepare his players, even though he had an extra week to prepare them. They were coming off a bye. And yet, they couldn’t compete with a three-win team. Couldn’t execute even the simplest plays during the first half. Couldn’t score when they were one foot away from the red zone. Couldn’t convert more than one third down. Shanahan’s situational offense is dreadful, as is his leadership. He is not head-coach material. He is a mere coordinator. The 49ers should fire him at the end of the season and hire Jeff Brohm from Purdue.
GENERAL MANAGER: F. John Lynch didn’t pay attention. Had no idea Reuben Foster still was seeing the woman who accused him of domestic violence earlier this season. Foster invited her to the team hotel in Tampa. Lynch should have released Foster for that alone. Lynch never should have allowed Foster to return to the team until he broke up with his girlfriend and filed for a restraining order. But, here’s the main point: Lynch never should have drafted Foster in the first place. Lynch thought he outsmarted the rest of the league by taking Foster. Lynch only outsmarted himself. He thought Foster would rise to the 49ers’ “standards.” But, they have no standards, and they proved that when they drafted Foster. They will sacrifice their “standards” of conduct for any talented player. Lynch has embarrassed himself and the entire organization the past two years. He is an awful general manager. The 49ers should fire him at the end of the season and hire Scot McCloughan.