49ers report card

The 49ers get a standout set of grades in all but one area for their performance in a 20-14 upset victory over defending NFC champion Seattle.

PASSING OFFENSE: B-plus -- QB Alex Smith had a very efficient game. He completed 19 of 25 passes for 163 yards, and he certainly was not asked to do too much. He fit nicely into the role as a game manager. He threw a 9-yard TD pass to Arnaz Battle. His passer rating for the game was 105.9. Smith completed seven of his 10 passing attempts on third down, but only two of them were conversions.

RUSHING OFFENSE: A-plus -- RB Frank Gore set a franchise record with 212 yards rushing and helped the 49ers control the game. The blocking was phenomenal. Linemen Justin Smiley, Larry Allen and Jonas Jennings were especially effective in the run game, and the 49ers also got nice contributions from FB Moran Norris, the wideouts and tight ends.

PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- The 49ers surrendered a couple of long TD passes, but that is easily forgiven after the way the defense played the rest of the game. CB Walt Harris had two interceptions, and FS Keith Lewis added one. Lewis also had a fumble recovery when S Mark Roman stripped Seahawks TE Jerramy Stevens after a pass completion. Defensive linemen Marques Douglas and Roderick Green beat Seahawks LT Walter Jones for two key fourth-quarter sacks.

RUSH DEFENSE: A -- The 49ers held RB Shaun Alexander to just 37 yards on 17 carries. No stop was bigger than Douglas' tackle of Alexander for a 1-yard loss on a fourth-and-1 late in the game. LB Brandon Moore had another strong game, including tackles for losses of 6 and 7 yards.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- Joe Nedney had a 30-yard field-goal attempt blocked, as lineman Adam Snyder allowed penetration, and he hooked a 27-yard attempt late in the game that could have wrapped up the win. Andy Lee had a solid game with a 43.3 average on six punts, including a 38.3 net average. Lewis and Michael Robinson had two special teams tackles apiece.

COACHING: A-minus -- Offensive coordinator Norv Turner was in "the zone," as Mike Nolan said about his play-calling. He called the type of game that gave the 49ers their best chance of winning. He relied heavily on Gore, with some high-percentage passes mixed in. Defensively, the 49ers did a good job of stopping the run with seven-man fronts and playing coverage. Nolan made a curious decision at the end of the half when he decided to kick a short field goal instead of going for the touchdown from 2 inches shy of the end zone. Nolan said he opted for a 20-0 lead because of the way the defense was playing.


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