49ers report card
QUARTERBACKS: It might be wise to not count out Jeff Garcia quite yet. He rebounded from possibly the worst game of his career last week to have possibly his best. This was vintage Pro Bowl Garcia - passing efficiently and using his feet to make plays. His passes were crisp and sharp as they seldom have been this season. He threw four touchdown passes, ran for two others (while rushing for 32 yards) and had a 135.7 quarterback rating that typified his brilliant afternoon. Grade: A RUNNING BACKS: Kevan Barlow says he's the future at running back for the 49ers, and it's hard to argue after his 154-yard effort in his first career start - the most yards gained rushing by a Niner in one game over the past three seasons. His power and breakaway ability were on display all afternoon, particularly on his 46-yard touchdown burst, and he might have already been down before losing his fumble. Jamal Robertson also ran hard and Fred Beasley delivered his usual assortment of quality blocks: Grade: A WIDE RECEIVERS: Two touchdown receptions for Terrell Owens, one each for Tai Streets and Cedrick Wilson. All four of the team's active wide receivers caught at least one pass, and they combined to average 14 yards on their 11 receptions. Grade: A TIGHT ENDS: Jed Weaver had a career-high 76 yards receiving on his four catches. Aaron Walker also produced a first down on his catch. The blocking here contributed to an effective ground game. Grade: A OFFENSIVE LINE: The rushing game got a lot of help up front, and Garcia had plenty of time to work in the pocket. This unit displayed a lot of cohesion after a couple of rough games, and was a big reason for a season-high 496 yards of production from the offense. Grade: A DEFENSIVE LINE: Marcel Shipp had just 30 yards rushing on 13 carries - 135 yards less than he gained when the Cardinals beat the Niners in October. Bryant Young was a force up front, forcing Jeff Blake into incompletions and thwarting the run game. Young, Chidi Ahanotu and Sean Moran all got in on sacks and Andre Carter also provided good heat. Grade: A LINEBACKERS: Another dominating performance by Julian Peterson, who had a game-high eight tackles, forced a fumble, recorded a sack and also knocked away four passes. He also had some outstanding hits. Derek Smith and Jeff Ulbrich did a quality job against both the run and pass. Grade: A SECONDARY: This unit did a great job against anyone not named Anquan Boldin, who had nine receptions for 123 yards and burned cornerback Ahmed Plummer for a touchdown. Plummer had a rough day with two penalties, and safety Zack Bronson also was flagged for interference on an Arizona touchdown drive. Tony Parrish raises the grade with his his interception and fumble recovery. Grade: B SPECIAL TEAMS: Bill LaFleur put two punts near the Arizona goal line, but he also flubbed a hold on a PAT attempt for the third time this season. The coverage units were strong, but Jimmy Williams averaged just 4.0 yards on his three punt returns. Grade: B COACHING: One question: Why can't they get the Niners to play this well - or even three-quarters of this well - more than half the time? Grade: A OVERALL: The Niners rebounded from their worst game of the season with their best game. It's nice to know that when they're at the top of their game, the Niners still are good enough to assemble such a convincing blowout. Grade: A
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