49ers grades, analysis from defense-dominant shutout win vs. Saints

Dre Greenlaw #57 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Dre Greenlaw #57 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Jauan Jennings, San Francisco 49ers
Jauan Jennings, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

49ers grades: Offense


Jimmy Garoppolo for the most part was his normal efficient self, and the stats bear that out at first glance with 26-of-37 passing for 222 yards and a touchdown.

But there are a few things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. As mentioned, Garoppolo had a horrible pass that was returned a long way back that was mercifully brought back due to a penalty, he failed to convert a fourth down on the goal line (in fairness, the play call deserves blame, too) and his touchdown pass was lucky to fall in the hands of Jauan Jennings after it was slightly underthrown.

There were good moments for Garoppolo, though, as he threw some accurate passes when he needed to on third down, and the horrible interception aside he wasn’t horrible. He just wasn’t great either.

Grade: C

Running Backs

The 49ers found it hard to run this week, which meant that none of Christian McCaffrey, Elijah Mitchell or Jordan Mason found many holes to run through.

McCaffrey had 32 yards from 11 carries, Mitchell had 35 yards from seven carries (and the long touchdown called back, and the undrafted rookie Mason got in on the action for 25 yards on five carries when Mitchell had to exit the game with an injury.

McCaffrey and Mitchell chipped in on the receiving side as well, McCaffrey having four receptions for 11 yards and Mitchell having two receptions for 8 yards. Kyle Juszczyk had two receptions for 2 yards, too.

Not the rushing juggernaut we expected, which was indicative of the day.

Grade: C-

Wide Receivers

Despite all the hyped weapons on the 49ers offense, it was the third receiver and safety valve, Jennings, who really stepped up with six receptions for 49 yards and a touchdown. He stepped up when needed, and he really is an underrated aspect of this offense.

Brandon Aiyuk played well with five receptions for 65 yards, Ray-Ray McCloud had one reception for 12 yards and Deebo Samuel had a relatively quieter game with three receptions for 43 yards and no yards on his two carries (though he did have one long run called back).

Not an exceptional performance, but they played well.

Grade: B

Tight Ends

The other tight ends were unsighted so this is going to be about George Kittle, with the “People’s Tight End” having a mixed game.

In general, he blocked well as usual and had three receptions for 26 yards, but he was also guilty of a hold that called back a touchdown.

It was a bit ticky-tack and there’s been worse that haven’t been called, but it was there.

Grade: C+

Offensive Line

Not the best night for the offensive trenches, as the 49ers offense struggled to find a foothold in this game.

Garoppolo was only sacked once officially, but he copped a lot of hits and didn’t have time on plenty of other plays. The running game also struggled to get going with the Saints handling matters much easier than San Francisco’s opponents usually do.

There were also penalties with Mike McGlinchey and Spencer Burford being flagged for holding.

It wasn’t total domination by New Orleans, but the offensive line might have lost the battle of the trenches in a slight points decision.

Grade: C-