49ers grades from Mexico City domination of Cardinals (lots of A’s)

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with Jimmy Garoppolo #10 (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with Jimmy Garoppolo #10 (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan  Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers special teams, coaching grades vs. Cardinals

Kyle Shanahan needed to show his team’s dominance against an inferior and banged-up opponent under the bright lights of prime time.

That’s what happened.

Anyone tuning into the ESPN broadcast could listen to analysts talking about how the 49ers were serious threats within the conference, potentially up to and including the Super Bowl.

Quite the turn of events after a so-so 4-4 start to begin the year, right?

Special teams

Kicker Robbie Gould is going to get some deserved love for making his lone field-goal try and five extra points, but punter Mitch Wishnowsky was absolutely excellent, pinning Arizona inside its own 20-yard line twice and nearly doing so a third time if it weren’t for gunner Tarvarius Moore slipping across the goal line for a touchback.

Greg Dortch had one return for 15 yards, that’s it.

Grade: A


Shanahan didn’t coach scared, and his approach of wearing the Cardinals down by the passing game in the first half ultimately led to all those chunk plays on the ground after halftime.

More importantly, Shanahan ultimately learned to properly distribute touches, too, involving each one of his top offensive weapons in one fashion or another, and that kind of distribution is going to be awfully stressful on the Niners’ remaining opponents down the stretch.

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San Francisco needed a statement win, and that’s what Shanahan delivered on offense.

However, not to be outdone, one has to give plenty of credit to DeMeco Ryans, too, whose defense was outstanding despite having to contend against DeAndre Hopkins, Dortch’s surprisingly good game and the challenges of playing at an extreme altitude.

Few watching would have noticed these were major factors working against Ryans and Co.

Excellent work by the coaching staff on all three phases, and the 49ers are 6-4 as a result.

Grade: A+

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 best teams in franchise history. dark