The San Francisco 49ers suffered a tough, low-scoring loss to the Chicago Bears in Week 16 that featured a lot of rookie Niners, and we grade out their efforts from the contest.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to go with a youth movement during his team’s 14-9 Week 16 loss to the Chicago Bears, partially because he had to but also in an attempt to gauge what he has towards the back end of his 53-man roster heading into the offseason.
Case in point, Shanahan benched veteran defensive tackles Earl Mitchell and Sheldon Day in favor of younger players, D.J. Jones and Jullian Taylor, who figure to be more active in the Niners’ long-term plans heading into 2019.
Others, like cornerback Tarvarius Moore, saw starter’s reps due to injury. In Moore’s case, he’s filling in for second-year corner Ahkello Witherspoon, who landed on injured reserve with a knee injury. Wide receiver Dante Pettis, who managed three catches for 21 yards, saw only 17 snaps before suffering a game-ending MCL injury. We’ll leave him out of grades this week. Same with Taylor, who was only on the field for 17 snaps but managed a quarterback hit in his limited time.
Moore, like many of the Niners’ younger players this season, has had his share of growing pains mixed in with moments of promise. There were both examples on Sunday.
So, as the focus shifts on San Francisco’s first-year players to close out the year, Niner Noise grades out these rookie players’ efforts from Week 16 with the hopes there are things to build upon heading into the offseason.
Starting with the Niners’ first-year cornerback.