49ers report card

Handing out grades to the 49ers after their 52-17 loss to the Washington Redskins - and they're not pretty.

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Quarterback Alex Smith, making his second NFL start, struggled again. He completed 8 of 16 passing attempts for a career-high 92 yards and one interception. He was also sacked five times and lost one of his three fumbles. The 49ers had just 54 net passing yards and 43 of them came on Brandon Lloyd's sensational 43-yard first-quarter catch against the tight coverage of Walt Harris.

RUSHING OFFENSE: C -- The running game wasn't exactly spectacular. After all, the 49ers gained 8 or fewer net yards on 10 of their 13 possessions. If the running game is going well, it needs to get consistent yards and keep the chains moving. However, the 49ers' two touchdowns came on very good running plays. Kevan Barlow got good blocking and made some nice moves on his 17-yard TD run, and rookie Frank Gore scored his first career touchdown on a 72-yarder with two minutes remaining.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- This has become routine for the opposition against the 49ers. Mark Brunell could have thrown for about as many yards as he wanted but the Redskins were also having success with the ground game. Cornerback Shawntae Spencer took the blame for perhaps the ugliest play of the game -- he stopped running with Santana Moss on a deep route, thinking he had safety help from Mike Adams. The mix-up resulted in an uncontested 32-yard TD. Brunell's passer rating was 147.9, as the Redskins averaged 11.5 yards per pass attempt.

RUSH DEFENSE: F -- The 49ers' run defense had been its strength, if you can call it that, through the first five games. But nothing was there on Sunday. Clinton Portis gained 101 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries. The Redskins attempted 36 running plays (excluding three kneel-downs to run out the clock), and they had 14 rushing first downs.

SPECIAL TEAMS: D-minus -- Offense wasn't working, and neither was defense, so the 49ers needed some big production from special teams. That did not happen. Punter Andy Lee had a 42.4 average, but Redskins return man James Thrash had a 12.5 average on four punt returns. The 49ers generated nothing from their own return game, despite plenty of chances on kickoff returns.

COACHING: F -- Nothing worked. The 49ers were outclassed in every aspect of the game. Mike Nolan might have a bright future as head coach, but the present looks extremely bleak. Through six games, the 49ers have gotten progressively worse. Nolan's biggest faults might be his decisions to trade three of the team's better players from a year ago -- Tim Rattay, John Engelberger and Jamie Winborn -- for next to nothing.

OVERALL: F -- Some observers are saying this was one of the worst losses in the franchise's 60-year history. That might be something of an overstatement. But then again, maybe it's not, considering the meltdowns in just about every area of the team.


Niners Digest Top Stories