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Grades from the 49ers 35-16 win over the Cardinals

Spoiler alert: Almost everyone gets an A.

Brock Purdy: A

Here's how good of a day it was for the 49ers: Brock Purdy threw one incomplete pass all afternoon, and he doesn't have the highest grade in Week 4.

Unlike a couple of games this season, Brock was sharp right from the start. Here are all of the drives for the 49ers offense:

Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, end of half, punt, touchdown, touchdown, end of game.

Everything was working for Purdy, including the deep ball - something he struggled with previously this year.

On the day, he went 20 of 21 for 283 yards and two total touchdowns. In the process, Purdy also made a little history:

Afterwards, Purdy said everyone on the 49ers is "on a mission." It sure looked like it on Sunday.

Christian McCaffrey: A+

With every week that passes, it becomes clear that Christian McCaffrey was the final stone in Kyle Shanahan's Infinity Gauntlet Offense.

McCaffrey is simply incredible: 27 total touches, 177 total yards and 4 total touchdowns. The numbers get more ridiculous the deeper you go:

  • A 49ers-record 13 straight games with a touchdown (including playoffs)

  • Six 100 yard rushing games in his last nine regular season games

  • First player in 49ers history to gain 100+ yards from scrimmage and score a TD in four straight games

I can't imagine a better player for a Kyle Shanahan coached offense, and I can't imagine a better player for a young quarterback to lean on than Christian McCaffrey. Seven total touchdowns in four games this season...and counting.

Brandon Aiyuk: A+

Normally I'd grade all the receivers in the game, but Aiyuk was really the only one that did anything of note.

On the day, Brandon caught all 6 of his targets for a career high 148 yards. That's the second time this season he's set a new career high in yards - in only 3 total games. It wasn't just the catches and yards, though, it was how Aiyuk did it:

For the second time this year, Aiyuk perforated the opposing defense. He simply could not be covered, and he flat out refused to drop a ball that he got his hands on. Like this fingertip catch deep down the field:

For the first time in his career, Brandon Aiyuk isn't being held back by the 49ers' quarterback, and it's damn impressive to see.

Defense: B+

It's hard to give a defense less than an A when they only allowed 16 points in the game, but at one point in the third quarter Brock Purdy had one incompletion, the 49ers zero turnovers, they had scored touchdown on three of their four real possessions, and yet it was still a one score game. That simply can't be allowed to happen if this team is going to win a Super Bowl.

I'm not sure what it is, but this defense seems to lose its intensity at times during games. Arizona had three straight scoring drives of 10+ plays at one point, including an 11-play, 99 yard march that ended in a touchdown.

The defensive line has been great at controlling the run game and pressuring quarterbacks, but they haven't been very successful at actually sacking them. Dobbs only went down once in this one, thanks to the heroics of one Javon Hargrave.

I realize I'm being particularly tough considering the meager scoring output by Arizona, but Robert Saleh and DeMeco Ryans set the bar high for this defense, and they need to keep working to reach it. You aren't going to play the Cardinals every week.

Special Teams: WTF

Jake Moody continued his perfect season by going 5/5 on extra points, but for the second time this year he kicked the ball out of bounds after a scoring drive by the offense.

Today, it came after the 49ers' second touchdown of the day, and set the Cardinals up with great field position on their first scoring drive of the afternoon.

The margins for error in the NFL are very small. The difference in a defense having to go 40 yards for a field goal and 60 yards for a field goal against the 49ers is massive, and San Francisco simply can't afford to have their special teams spot opposing offenses free yards.

The field is more than 53 yards wide. It's not unreasonable to ask your kicker to keep the ball somewhere on the field of play.

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2 comentarios

04 oct 2023

Wondering what Brock would need to do to get an A+?

A historical game where he beats Young's old record, while enabling several other players to produce at A+ level. That performance would have done it for me...

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02 oct 2023

That said the 49ers special teams also set up Arizona on their one yard line too. (A set up that unfortunately led to a successful 99 yard drive but that’s back on the defense rather than special teams.)

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