49ers game grades from hard-nosed Wild Card victory over Cowboys

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers offensive grades vs. Cowboys

It was a tale of two halves for San Francisco’s offense, as it rolled in the first and sputtered in the second. In the end, though, 23 points were just enough to walk away with a victory.

Quarterback: D+

A tale of two halves best describes Jimmy Garoppolo’s play, which should average out to a C-grade but gets lowered because of the stakes of the second half.

First half, Garoppolo was not only efficient; he was exceptional. It wasn’t just that Garoppolo was able to hit his receivers and move the chains, he made some throws that just aren’t typical of Jimmy G. Although the offense was unable to get more than one touchdown in the first half, Garoppolo’s play was exactly what the 49ers needed to win this game.

The second half, though, was a completely different story.

Beyond the funk the offense found itself in, Garoppolo missed some wide-open throws and was completely off his rhythm. Missing wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk on a fantastic route was inexcusable, his interception to Cowboys cornerback Anthony Brown was unacceptable, and snapping the ball before left tackle Trent Williams could get set was illogical.

The Niners offense struggled mightily in the second half, and Garoppolo was a huge part of that.

But a win is a win, and he’ll have a chance to redeem his second-half play next week.

Running Backs: B-

San Francisco’s run game was exceptional when it attacked the interior of the Cowboys defense and less so when it attacked the edges.

Although it doesn’t fall necessarily on Elijah Mitchell that his game was inefficient, it does ding his grade.

But Mitchell did his job and showcased his ability to gain the other type of YAC, the one after first contact.

Wide Receivers: A

The strength of the Cowboys defense was its pass defense. With their pass rush and their secondary, the 49ers’ passing attack would have been the one that needed work.

Well, the Niners receivers did their job.

Every receiver who could make a play made one. Brandon Aiyuk was exceptional the entire game, minus a holding call but gaining absurd levels of separation. Jauan Jennings continued to feast on third downs, and even Travis Benjamin was able to get involved.

But the absolute star of this game, and someone who honestly deserves his own position, was Deebo Samuel. He was run like a full-fledged running back and still impacted the pass game as a wide receiver.

He had 110 all-purpose yards. In a team full of stars, he shined the brightest when it mattered most.

Tight Ends: B

There wasn’t much run for the 49ers tight ends, but in the run game, they did a good job blocking. George Kittle‘s involvement in the offense needs to increase against the Green Bay Packers, whom the Niners will play in the divisional round.

He offers San Francisco a unique weapon that stresses other defenses.

Offensive Line: A-

The 49ers offense line allowed no sacks against the Cowboys, and the 49ers ran for 4.4 yards per carry.

Minus a couple holdings and penalties, that’s without question the best outcome the Niners could have had in the trenches.