Grading 49ers’ offense, defense in convincing win over Giants

Grading 49ers’ offense, defense in convincing win over Giants originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers got the win to kick off Week 3 of the NFL season, and now they can sit back and enjoy a few well-earned days off.

“We’re real happy to be 3-0 right now,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Thursday night following the team’s 30-12 victory over the New York Giants at Levi’s Stadium.

They are also happy to get through the short week relatively healthy and not be rushed into their Week 4 preparations to face the Arizona Cardinals.

As was the case in their victories over the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Los Angeles Rams, the 49ers were not perfect against the Giants, either.

The 49ers have set the bar so high that even an 18-point victory over a playoff team of a year ago will come with some areas the coaching staff can focus on improving.

Overall, it was certainly an “A” performance.

Here are the grades from the 49ers’ Week 3 game against the Giants:

Rushing offense

The 49ers found a nice mix of Christian McCaffrey — mostly McCaffrey — and backup running back Elijah Mitchell.

McCaffrey rushed for 85 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries, while Mitchell added 42 yards on 11 carries.

The 49ers had 39 carries in the game, including four from quarterback Brock Purdy for minus-1 yard.

The 49ers did not necessarily control the game on the ground, but they did pick up nine first downs rushing and that enabled them to pile up a nearly two-to-one advantage in time of possession.

Grade: B-plus

Passing offense

The 49ers did not handle the Giants’ blitz packages as well as they would have liked. Brock Purdy seemed off his game in the first quarter, and the 49ers’ passing attack looked choppy.

But when all else fails, just get the ball to Deebo Samuel and George Kittle. And they responded with big performances.

Purdy ended up having a big game, completing 25 of 37 pass attempts for 310 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 111.3.

Samuel caught six passes for 129 yards. He teamed up with Purdy on a beautiful back-shoulder touchdown pass of 27 yards to clinch the game in the fourth quarter.

Kittle had seven receptions for 90 yards.

Rookie Ronnie Bell beat another rookie, Giants cornerback Deonte Banks, for a 9-yard touchdown on a third-down play in the second quarter.

Grade: A-minus

Rushing defense

The Giants were playing without starting running back Saquon Barkley, and they had a difficult time getting anything going on the ground.

Former 49ers running back Matt Breida had the long ground gain with an 8-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

And as far as the Giants’ ground game went, that was it.

The Giants attempted just 11 rushes for 29 yards. Quarterback Daniel Jones, a big threat with his legs, managed just 5 yards on two rushing attempts.

Base-down linebacker Oren Burks had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.

Grade: A

Passing defense

The 49ers’ defense was outstanding.

Jones completed 68.8 percent of his pass attempts, but he managed a lowly 4.3 yards per attempt.

Jones completed 22 of 32 passes attempts for just 137 yards. Safety Talanoa Hufanga picked up a fourth-quarter interception. Charvarius Ward broke up two passes.

Nick Bosa and Javon Hargrave, the 49ers’ two-highest-paid players along their defensive line, registered first-half sacks.

Grade: A

Special teams

Jake Moody had field goals of 28, 21 and 36 yards to give him a streak of nine consecutive made field goals to open the season — and his career.

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky averaged 41.7 on three punts with two of them planted inside the 10-yard line. Bell made a nice tackle on special teams.

Moody also had six touchbacks on kickoffs, and the one that was not driven into the end zone resulted in just a 16-yard return.

Grade: A

Coaching

You would think the 49ers would have done a better job of navigating their offense around the wide array of blitzes that Giants defensive coordinator Don Martindale dialed up against the 49ers.

But, ultimately, there were more than enough plays to be made for the 49ers’ offense.

On the other side, 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks had Giants coach Brian Daboll’s hands tied with his game plan.

The 49ers absolutely stuffed the Giants and took away Jones’ ability to thrive in the red option.

Grade: B-plus

Overall

The 49ers now have scored 30 points in each of their first three games of the season, yet it seems like the offense is just scratching the surface.

And the defense feels the same way.

“There’s so much room for improvement,” linebacker Fred Warner said.

The 49ers, again, won decisively. The coaching staff has plenty of points of emphasis where improvements can be made. And the team has avoided significant long-term injuries.

The first first three games of the season have gone about as well for the 49ers as they could have hoped.

Grade: A-minus

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