49ers report card

Handing out the worst grades of the season to the 49ers for their performance in a dismal 41-0 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The Chiefs put the heat on Alex Smith early and often, and after San Francisco fell behind quickly, Kansas City knew the 49ers had to pass and geared their defense accordingly. The Niners could to little to stop a hard-charging front seven that came after Smith relentlessly, and he had little time to find receivers that had difficulty getting open in the first place. Smith completed 15 of 23 passes for 92 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. He was also sacked five times for 20 yards and forced to scramble from the pocket on three run plays and threw away several passes because of pressure. It was not a good day for RT Kwame Harris or LT Jonas Jennings, both of whom struggled in pass protection. Tight end Eric Johnson also dropped three passes that could have kept drives moving. A 22-yard pass to receiver Antonio Bryant was virtually the highlight of the day for the San Francisco offense and the only play to produce more than 16 yards.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D -- Frank Gore lost a fumble for the fourth time in four games on San Francisco's third offensive play, and that negated pretty much anything else he did while averaging 4.6 yards a carry. Gore's first-quarter fumble was a huge downer for a team that wanted desperately to puts some points on the board in a hurry and avoid falling behind by multiple scores early in the game. Gore finished with 65 yards on 14 carries, and there was some solid run-blocking in front of him, but the run game became a secondary factor after Kansas City opened a 24-0 halftime lead. By then, the damage already had been done.

PASSING DEFENSE: F -- The 49ers, with 12 sacks through their first three games, did not get much pressure on Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard. Even when they had some guys come free on blitzes, they were unable to finish the job on Huard, who was not sacked. CB Shawntae Spencer had a rough game in coverage, biting on receiver Eddie Kennison's double move for a 34-yard touchdown strike. Spencer was also guilty of pass interference in the end zone. Safety Tony Parrish surrendered a 13-yard TD pass to Dante Hall to cap the opening series of the game. Huard finished with a passer rating of 133.3. The third-down defense was especially porous and Huard a field day, completing 18 of 23 throws for 208 yards.

RUSHING DEFENSE: B -- The 49ers got a lot of helmets to the ball, especially in the first three quarters. Running back Larry Johnson, who was the 49ers' chief concern, was held in check throughout the game. Johnson had just 24 yards on 14 carries at halftime. He finished with an average of just 3.4 yards, gaining 101 yards and two short TD runs on 30 carries, including a 28-yard run early in the fourth quarter that pumped up his final numbers. Linebacker Derek Smith and defensive end Marques Douglas both excelled in run defense.

SPECIAL TEAMS: F -- The 49ers' coverage did their usual solid job most of the game, but this ended up being one of the worse special teams efforts in recent seasons after Dante Hall broke free for a 60-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter to provide a coup de grace to San Francisco's dismal performance. That wasn't the only special-teams breakdown. Maurice Hicks fumbled the opening kickoff of the second half after a 53-yard return, and Joe Nedney missed a 51-yard field-goal attempt on the final play of the first half, which turned out to be the 49ers' best scoring opportunity to avert just the second shutout in San Francisco's last 454 games.

COACHING: F -- When things go this terribly wrong, it does not reflect well on the coaching staff. Coach Mike Nolan said he detected no signs that something like this could happen to his team. The 49ers were never in the game. The offense, which has been vastly improved, managed just two first downs in the second half. The defense had way too many breakdowns, especially on third downs. Once again, the 49ers didn't looked too well prepared to play on the road, particularly when falling behind quickly. Only this time, there was no comeback.


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