The 49ers beat the Bengals 41-17 in Cincinnati on Sunday. Here are the 49ers’ grades:
GAROPPOLO: A-minus. At his best, Jimmy Garoppolo is a gorgeous passer. He has gorgeous footwork, gorgeous accuracy and a gorgeous spiral. Sunday was Garoppolo at his most gorgeous. He completed 68 percent of his throws, threw three touchdown passes and posted a 131.2. Gorgeous. The only play that wasn’t pretty was Garoppolo’s interception during the second quarter. On second and 20, Garoppolo predetermined a deep pass to Richie James Jr. and sailed a pass to a cornerback who was waiting for the ball. Garoppolo never saw him. That was the only reckless move he made. Mostly, he looked and played like Joe Montana.
RUNNING BACKS: A-plus. No Tevin Coleman? No problem. Matt Breida gained 132 yards from scrimmage. Raheem Mostert scored one touchdown (plus another that was called back) and gained 151 yards from scrimmage. And Jeff Wilson Jr. scored two powerful rushing touchdowns in the red zone. Wilson Jr. is exactly what the 49ers’ offense needs in the red zone. Even without Coleman, the 49ers have one of the best running back trios in the NFL.
WIDE RECEIVERS: A. The two starters — Deebo Samuel and Marquise Goodwin — combined to catch eight passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns. Last season’s starter, Dante Pettis, caught no passes against the Bengals, but did complete a pass for 16 yards.
TIGHT ENDS: B. The Bengals made it their business to take away George Kittle from the 49ers’ offense, so the 49ers basically won without him. Kittle caught just three passes for 54 yards. He drew the defense’s attention and helped his teammates get open.
OFFENSIVE LINE: A-plus. They gave up zero sacks and allowed the offense to rush for 259 yards and average 6.2 yards per carry. But, this group received a blow during the third quarter, when Joe Staley fractured his fibula. He could miss the next eight weeks.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A-plus. They played their usual “Wide 9” defensive alignment, which theoretically is vulnerable against running plays, and gave up only 25 rushing yards the entire game. The defensive linemen pushed around the Bengals offensive linemen and sacked Andy Dalton four times. Nick Bosa played through a high-ankle sprain for the second straight week and recorded no statistics other than an offside penalty.
LINEBACKERS: A-plus. Fred Warner recorded six tackles. Kwon Alexander recorded six and intercepted one pass. Alexander seems like a significant upgrade over Reuben Foster, whom the team released last season.
SECONDARY: A. Ahkello Witherspoon broke up two passes and made the Bengals looks silly for challenging him. Meanwhile, the Bengals never mustered the courage to challenge Richard Sherman, who still commands respect.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B. Robbie Gould missed an easy 39-yard field goal, which is rare for him. Rookie punter Mitch Wishnowsky redeemed the special team’s grade by dropping a punt at the Bengals’ three-yard line.
COACHES: A-plus. Kyle Shanahan coached like he wanted to put Bengals head coach Zac Taylor out of business. Shanahan called a perfect mix of runs and passes, found brilliants ways to create big plays without exposing Garoppolo or throwing deep, and showed Taylor zero mercy. The Bengals defense seemed to lose heart after halftime, and Shanahan never let up. He seemingly wanted the 49ers to score 40 points and make a statement, and they did. The NFL is a hard world. Shanahan established himself as a serious up-and-coming head coach at the expense of Taylor, who now looks like a fraud. Sorry, Zac.