49ers report card

Handing out grades to the 49ers for their performance in a 21-19 upset victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus -- It certainly was not a spectacular day for the passing game, but the 49ers made the most of the limited success they enjoyed. QB Shaun Hill completed just 11 of 24 passes but three of them went for touchdowns, with two of them pinpoint throws that hit receivers in stride in the end zone. Hill's passer rating was a respectable 83.9 against the NFL's fourth-ranked pass defense. Frank Gore, Vernon Davis and Darrell Jackson each caught touchdown passes.

RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Gore had a solid showing, rushing for 89 yards on 21 carries. Fullback Moran Norris picked up a first down when he gained six yards on a third-and-one play. Two plays later, the 49ers scored a touchdown. The blocking up front was solid, particularly in the interior of the line.

PASSING DEFENSE: B -- It was a little good and a little bad for the pass defense. The 49ers surrendered 381 passing yards to the Buccaneers as Jeff Garcia and Luke McCown split the action at quarterback and Tampa Bay averaged 6.6 yards on its 52 pass attempts. The 49ers gave up plenty of big plays, but cornerback Nate Clements also came up with one of the big momentum-changing plays of the game. His interception and 62-yard return set up the 49ers' final touchdown and the margin of victory.

RUSHING DEFENSE: A-minus -- The 49ers' rush defense was extremely efficient. The Bucs' three running backs, Earnest Graham, Michael Bennett and Michael Pittman, combined to gain just 50 yards on 21 carries. Linebacker Patrick Willis was all over the field as he recorded a career-high 20 tackles. The defensive line did a nice job of controlling the action up front.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B -- Joe Nedney executed a perfect surprise onside kick to open the second half, as Delanie Walker made the recovery. Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee had a 45.2 gross average, with an amazing 43.9 net average, as he continues to close in on the best net-punting average in the NFL since the 1970 merger. The coverage units were strong again.

COACHING: B -- Coach Mike Nolan's decision to call for a surprise onside kick at the start of the second half proved to be a good move. The 49ers gained field position from the exchange and it led to a touchdown after Willis forced a fumble and turnover deep in Tampa Bay territory. The only move that warranted second-guessing was when Nolan declined a holding penalty that would have made it second-and-11, and opted for a third-and-two. The Bucs converted the short third down but did not get any points out of the decision. But once again, the 49ers were ready to play, and they recorded their first victory this season over a team with a winning record.

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