49ers Week 17 grades: Offense

SAN FRANCISCO – The 49ers stomped the Cardinals 27-13. Here are the grades for the 49ers offense.

Offensive line: B. They gave up hardly any pressure this week, which was impressive because the Cardinals defense is ranked 10th in the league in sacks. The 49ers’ offensive line did not create much running room, though, and that’s becoming a trend. The Niners gained 129 yards on 37 carries – just 3.5 yards per carry. In the first half before the Cardinals gave up, Frank Gore had carried the ball nine times for 20 yards – 2.2 yards per carry. The 49ers’ offensive strength used to be the running game, but it’s becoming a complement to the passing game.

Running backs: C+. The Cardinals completely shut Frank Gore down in the first half. In the second half, the 49ers scored a field goal on their first series to push their lead to four points, and the Cardinals ran out of fight. Gore gained 48 yards in the second half against a defeated Cardinals defense. Still, he finished the game with 20 carries for just 68 yards. He has not played well since the first Seahawks game back in Week 7. LaMichael James had an excellent 26-yard run, but if you take that away, he carried six times for 23 yards – 3.8 yards per carry. Pretty good, but not great. The 49ers are not going to be able to run their way to a Super Bowl this season. Gore is wearing down and James is not a consistent threat.

Wide receivers: A-. Michael Crabtree had his best game as a pro, catching eight passes for 172 yards and two touchdowns. The Cardinals could not cover him. Randy Moss caught two passes for 28 yards. A.J. Jenkins dropped the one pass that came his way. There was no one around him and the ball slipped through his fingers. The 49ers cannot rely on him in the playoffs. He still has not caught a pass in the NFL. The 49ers have two wide receivers – Crabtree and Moss.


Tight ends: C. Vernon Davis was targeted twice and caught one pass for five yards. This was the seventh game this season in which he was targeted two-or-fewer times. Delanie Walker was targeted four times. He made one 27-yard catch. His weekly drop came in the end zone today.

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