49ers vs. Seahawks: Position grades from San Francisco’s Week 15 win

DeForest Buckner #99 of the San Francisco 49ers
DeForest Buckner #99 of the San Francisco 49ers /
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San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks Week 15 grades
Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

49ers Offensive Grades


Despite spending expensive third-round draft capital on quarterback C.J. Beathard last year, the 49ers may have little use for the Iowa product going forward, due to the play of fellow QB Nick Mullens. As the former undrafted free agent continues to improve, Mullens appears to have the brighter NFL future, and should have the more prominent role with the team in 2019.

Facing another formidable defensive unit that delivered a number of big hits on Sunday, Mullens played one of the best games of his short career. The quarterback finished the day with 275 passing yards, one touchdown and a passer rating of 110.6, despite overthrowing tight end George Kittle on a pair of deep attempts. If Mullens continues at this rate, he will begin 2019 as QB Jimmy Garoppolo‘s backup, unless the 49ers receive a generous trade offer for the youngster.

Grade: A-

Running Back

After missing last week’s game, running back Matt Breida was back in his starting role against the Seahawks. However, Breida was ineffective in the running game, tallying just 50 yards on 17 attempts, but he was able to record 46 yards through the air after catching all five of his targets. And in what has become a weekly occurrence for the compact running back, Breida missed a portion of the game due to injury.

Rookie RB Jeff Wilson is lucky he plays for a forgiving coach and alongside an injury-prone running back. Wilson was the more effective back on the ground, averaging 6.6 yards per attempt, but he made a number of crucial mistakes, including losing his third fumble in as many games, dropping a screen pass and committing a costly 15-yard penalty. Wilson was eventually benched, but was thrust back into action after Breida’s injury, and played well. Wilson has shown potential, but he needs to take advantage of his current opportunity, since very few teams would tolerate numerous glaring mistakes from an undrafted free agent.

Grade: C

Wide Receiver / Tight End

Once again, San Francisco’s tight ends were better than their wide receivers on Sunday. Even TE Garrett Celek, who entered the game with only three catches for 29 yards, got in on the action with a 41-yard touchdown reception thanks to a pair of mistakes by Seattle defenders. Although the Seahawks focused on stopping Kittle, the tight end added 61 yards on three receptions.

Wide receiver Dante Pettis continued his impressive rookie campaign, catching all five targets for a game-high 83 receiving yards. Pettis leads all San Francisco wide receivers with 446 yards and five touchdowns on the season. Unfortunately, the rest of the Niners’ receivers were non-factors, as Kendrick Bourne and Trent Taylor both dropped passes while providing little production, and former No. 1 wideout Marquise Goodwin only saw seven offensive snaps. Look for the 49ers to upgrade this group over the offseason.

Grade: C+

Offensive Line

The 49ers’ interior offensive linemen had a rough day, particularly against defensive tackle Jarran Reed, who spent much of the day in San Francisco’s backfield. Center Weston Richburg was the worst lineman of the bunch. The expensive free-agent acquisition likely played his worst game of the year, which is a significant accomplishment, given his subpar play throughout the season. Overall, the 49ers had a hard time running the ball, and Mullens was sacked three times, while taking multiple big hits throughout the game.

Grade: D+