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Grades for the 49ers' 45-29 win over the Cardinals



The 49ers are a god-damned wrecking crew. They've won 6 in a row, all by at least 12 points. They surrendered more than 200 yards on the ground - and it didn't matter at all. That's how good their offense is playing right now.


Let's get to the grades for Week 15.


Brock Purdy: A

He threw more than one incomplete pass against Arizona this time around, but that's basically the only knock you can have on Brock Purdy's performance at this point.


On the day, Purdy added 242 more yards and 4 more touchdown passes to his season totals. He's now leading the league in touchdown passes and is second in passing yards - how is that not MVP-callibur again?


I know we'll get screenshot warriors this week that point out that Deebo and CMC were wide open on two of his touchdown passes. What they won't point out is that CMC was only open because Brock avoided pressure and threatened the defense with a run. Nor will they point out this play one snap before the TD to CMC:




On 3rd and 11 in a one score game, Brock read the defense perfectly before the snap, beat the blitz after the snap, and delivered a perfect ball to Kittle for a first down and a lot more. That doesn't happen by accident, and it damn sure doesn't happen with just any QB under center.


People have to stop acting like Brock Purdy is simply dropped into perfect situations all the time without being part of the reason he's there in the first place. It's real. He's real. In fact, it looks like it'll be historic:


49ers single-season franchise record for yards: 4,278 (Jeff Garcia, 2000)

49ers single-season franchise record for passing touchdowns: 36 (Steve Young, 1998)


Brock Purdy is 484 yards away from breaking Garcia's passing record. He'll need to average 162 passing yards per game the rest of the way to do it. If he averages more than 242 yards per game in his next two games, he'll break the record in 16 games like Garcia did.


Purdy is 8 touchdown passes away from breaking Young's record. Averaging 2.6 TD passes the rest of the way sets the record. Averaging 4 touchdown passes over the next two will set the record in 16 games.


That's where we are with Brock right now. That's what's left in the regular season.


Running Backs: A

Christian McCaffrey is also in rare air in 49ers history. Three more touchdowns Sunday put his total at 20 for the season, something that hasn't been done in these parts since Jerry Rice put up a staggering 23 total touchdown in 12 games in the strike year of 1987.


He's already amassed the fourth-greatest season on the ground a 49ers running back has ever had. Oh by the way, CMC led the team in both rushing and receiving yards on Sunday. Consider that he's doing this with medicore offensive linemen everywhere but left tackle and McCaffrey looks even more incredible.


There's not much more that hasn't been said to this point - the man is walking into Canton when his career is over.


Stay healthy, sir, and the 49ers will be playing for a Super Bowl this year.


Receivers: B+

Deebo, Kittle, and Aiyuk combined for just nine catches on Sunday, but they made each of them count.


Samuel continued his end zone world tour, scoring twice more for a total of eight in his last four games. The better news is the variety of ways in which he's hitting pay dirt. Against the Eagles it was catch-and-run explosiveness. Against the Seahawks on Thanksgiving it came on the ground. Against the Seahawks two weeks later it was both on the ground and deep down the field as a receiver. Sunday brought a blown coveage score and a beautiful back-shoulder adjustment at the front pilon. Any way you need a touchdown right now, Deebo can give it to you.


George Kittle only caught two passes, but still gained 54 yards through the air. He's still explosive with the ball in his hands as seen during his 35 yard gallop through the Arizona defense early in the third quarter. On the season, Kittle is at a career-best 15.7 yards per reception. No player has benefitted more from the rise of Brock Purdy than #85.


Brandon Aiyuk caught just three of his five targets for 37 yards on the day, and looked a bit out of sync with Purdy. Multiple times in the game yesterday little things were off that ultimately cost him (and the team) a big gain. The Niners will need Aiyuk's route-running next week against a Ravens secondary that allows less than 200 passing yards per game.


Defensive Front Seven: C

This grade comes with a big ol' caveot because of the absence of both Javon Hargrave and Arik Armstead, but I can only grade who was out there. Arizona racked up 234 yards on the ground, and gashed the Niners for almost eight yards per carry in the game. As Fred Warner said after the game, the defense did not uphold the standard in this one.


The 49ers will have to be more disciplined with their pass rush if they're going to contain Lamar Jackson, and they'll have to improve their tackling quite a bit.


The Niners also allowed Arizona's one weapon in Trey McBride to have a big day: 10 catches for 102 yards. There's nothing more frustrating than when a team only has one threat offensively and that threat still produces.


A lot of Arizona's points came in gabrage time, but 29 points allowed is too many - even in a blowout.


Secondary: B+

Kyler Murray only threw for 211 yards, and most of that came during garbage time in the last quarter of the contest. Mooney Ward had two picks in the game, including one he took back 66 yards for a touchdown. Ward has been playing at an all-pro level this season, and he's gotten his hands on a lot of footballs. Apparently he also spent last week catching passes from Sam Darnold in an effort to try and turn some of those PBUs into interceptions.


Note: Things are going so well right now that I'm not even going to make a joke about how comfortable Sam Darnold feels throwing passes right to defenders. But know that I'm thinkin' it.



Special Teams: A

I don't want to jinx anything, so I'm not going to mention that Jake Moody is 71-74 on all kicks this season. I know that Cleveland was a debacle, but that's pretty damn good. In fact, as Nick Wagoner pointed out, Moody is the only kicker in the NFL that's made more than 34 PATs without missing a single one.


He even got the chance to kick a field goal for the first time since Thanksgiving.


By the way, guess which player holds the 49ers rookie record for points scored in a season? Jake Moody.

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