Position-by-position standings from 49ers 11-10 loss to Broncos
It sure is a tough Monday to be a 49ers fan. A week after losing their exciting young quarterback for the season, the Niners put on arguably their worst offensive performance of the Kyle Shanahan era in an 11-10 loss to the Denver Broncos. With veteran Jimmy Garoppolo at center, San Francisco was supposed to be ready to rack up the wins. Instead, they lost to a team that has yet to score 17 points in a game this season.
Here are the position-by-position ratings for the 49ers’ overall performance:
I’ve been a vocal critic of Garoppolo for years, and for that reason, I’ve tried to do everything possible to justify harsh ratings. I’m not doing that tonight. This performance was atrocious.
The Broncos would have had a six pick on Garoppolo had he not accidentally come out from behind the end zone (with both feet) and made a safety before throwing the pass. Later, with a chance for a winning practice, he threw triple coverage, clearly not picking up the stealer, and the ball was intercepted. He also shuffled in a snap of his fingers.
To his credit, he had an incredible throw at fullback Kyle Juszczyk, but even taking that into account, he had arguably the worst performance of his career.
Jeff Wilson Jr. had a few big runs, where he looked more explosive than he has since his injuries last season. He had a rush of 37 yards and 18 yards, but only managed 20 more yards on his other 10 carries. Wilson was able to take advantage of the big holes when they were present but couldn’t get the Broncos defensemen to miss. He also had three receptions for 31 yards, but on his last catch he fumbled the ball and sealed the Niners’ fate.
Kyle Juszczyk had the best play of the game, landing an incredible 24-yard reception down the sideline. Jordan Mason also gained seven yards on his first NFL rush.
Tight ends: C+
It was nice to have George Kittle back this week, but he was far from the dominant force 49ers fans have been waiting for. He had four receptions on five targets for 28 receiving yards and was a regular tackler himself. It’s an above-average performance for an NFL tight end but far from what Kittle expects of himself.
Wide Receivers: B
Garoppolo left plenty of yards on the ground for Niners receivers, missing even some of the shortest passes that are usually his bread and butter. Brandon Aiyuk got off to a good start in the first half and Deebo Samuel had 74 yards on five receptions. Yet neither of them could get the elite levels of separation that Garoppolo needed. Samuel was also a non-factor in the backfield. None of the other 49ers receivers could make an impact. A group that showed promising depth in pre-season has so far only depended on Aiyuk and Samuel. Someone has to step in as the third receiver.
Offensive line: D
The 49ers offense went from mediocre to horrible when left tackle Trent Williams was forced out of the game. Garoppolo was under pretty constant pressure and took big hits on glaring missed blocks. The Niners’ running game continues to pale in comparison to previous seasons, raising questions about whether they’ll ever return to that success without Mike McDaniel.
Defensive line: A-
The 49ers defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage through the first three quarters for the third time in three games. Despite Arik Armstead’s absence, the 49ers’ interior defensive line was able to pick up where it left off last week with Kevin Givens and Hassan Ridgeway. On the edge, Nick Bosa, Kerry Hyder and Drake Jackson each recorded a sack and combined for seven quarterback hits, showing off the team’s incredible passing depth. The D-line wore out late in the game, eventually allowing Wilson to do some damage with his legs, but giving up a touchdown in a game is still a commendable feat.
The 49ers linebackers did a great job containing the Broncos’ rushing offense. Dre Greenlaw, Azeez Al-Shaair, Fred Warner and Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles combined for 25 tackles. The Broncos have one of the best running back duos in the league and one of the best running quarterbacks. Still, Niners linebackers helped keep them to 3.1 yards per carry.
Mooney Ward is a star. Wilson’s best shot of the day was a nice ball to Jerry Jeudy, but Ward made an incredible diving game to tip it over at the last possible moment and force incompletion. Emmanuel Moseley was also all over the court, collapsing on multiple screens and runs while limiting Denver’s opportunities in the air. Deommodore Lenoir also saw play time in the slot against rookie Samuel Womack and had some positive plays.
Talanoa Hufanga wasn’t as involved in the action this week, but still had another solid showing in the Niners’ backline. Tashaun Gipson also avoided the coverage blunders that plagued him in the first two weeks of the season.
Special teams: A
Ray-Ray McCloud’s muffled punt was the only thing that kept the unit from an A+. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky was probably the 49ers’ best player on Sunday, consistently pushing the Broncos back inside their own territory. Wishnowsky averaged nearly 52 yards per punt on seven punts. Robbie Gould also hit on his lone extra-point attempt and a 51-yard field goal.