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49ers at Texans player grades: Offensive line struggles

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 26, 2022 at 1:15 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers lost 17-0 to the Houston Texans, putting them at 2-1 in the preseason during a game in which eight of the offensive starters played, while only two of the defensive starters.

Here are the offensive player grades for the game:

Quarterbacks: C

Trey Lance completed 7/11 passes for 49 yards, failing to generate offense, but more so due to the porous performance from the offensive line as opposed to quarterback play.

Lance wasn't without his mistakes, as the quarterback missed a read to tight end George Kittle on a 3rd down before checking it down, while being inaccurate on a number of other throws.

However, Lance was repeatedly pressured, including one sack, which forced him to utilize his legs on several occasions on a day when the second-year quarterback was looking to make plays downfield.

On a good note, Lance had a nice deep downfield pass to Deebo Samuel, who was hooked by cornerback Steven Nelson, but the play was ruled incomplete.

Additionally, Lance was able to consistently make touch passes off of play-action with defenders in his face to the streaking tight ends, which was an area in which he had faced struggles before.

Nate Sudfeld finished 5/10 passing for 49 yards with an interception and a passer rating of 24.6.

Sudfeld was a product of the offensive line as well, as he was consistently pressured, limiting the offense, although he also made a poor decision on the interception to Desmond King.

Brock Purdy got a majority of the second-half action, including a two-minute drill to end the half, where he had a nice 26-yard completion to Jauan Jennings, but followed it with a near interception.

Purdy finished the day 13/20 passing for 182 yards and an interception, although a majority of his yardage came off the final drive in garbage time.

Purdy made several tight-window throws, but also threw a poor interception by failing to read the linebacker over the middle of the field.

Running Backs: C

Overall, the 49ers rushed for 51 yards on 24 carries, while the Texans rushed for 156 yards on 33 carries.

Jeff Wilson Jr. earned the start for the 49ers and was the best running back on the day, carrying the ball three times for 16 yards, which was by far the highest mark of any halfback.

Trey Sermon was the second running back to see action, carrying the ball eight times for 20 yards.

While the numbers didn't look great, the offensive line significantly struggled during this portion, as the Ohio State product got 2.86 yards after first contact, despite only rushing for 2.5 yards a carry, meaning that the defense got behind the line of scrimmage on average.

Sermon continues to be indecisive at times, and still seemed bothered by his ankle injury, but his stats weren't necessarily indicative of his performance.

Surprisingly, Jordan Mason got the next set of carries, finishing the day with seven yards on four rushes, while facing similar problems to Sermon in terms of the offensive line.

JaMycal Hasty saw the next action, but didn't earn a single carry, while Tyrion Davis-Price was in the game only during the fourth quarter, likely because his spot has been solidified on the 53-man roster due to his third-round draft status this year.

While the running game struggled, it wasn't fully due to the running backs, but more so on the offensive line.

Wide Receivers: C

The receivers weren't featured as much on Thursday until garbage time, as the aerial attack failed to truly materialize, even though the 49ers ended up passing for 257 yards on the day.

Willie Snead led all receivers with two catches for 36 yards, but was targeted five times, and dropped a wide-open touchdown pass in the endzone towards the end of regulation.

Jauan Jennings and Malik Turner had three catches respectively, with the former having 34 receiving yards and the latter having 32 receiving yards on the day.

Turner had a helmet-to-helmet finish on a nice special-teams play, although the penalty wasn't called, and also couldn't corral a well-placed ball in tight coverage from Purdy.

Malik Turner led all receivers with two catches and 26 yards, with Willie Snead and Danny Gray close behind, reeling in three catches for 25 yards and two catches for 24 yards, respectively.

Turner also made a nice special-teams play, but had a helmet-to-helmet hit on the punt returner, which wasn't called. Additionally, Turner dropped a highly-contested slant pass to move the chains.

Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk both left Saturday's contest without a catch, with the former failing to corral in a contested deep pass, although his arm was hooked by the cornerback on a no-call, while the latter only saw one attempt, which was deflected by a defensive lineman.

Tight Ends: B+

Ross Dwelley arguably had the best performance of any offensive player on the 49ers, catching all three passes of his targets for 42 yards, including a contested 30-yard catch where he held on, despite a big hit from the defending safety.

Tyler Kroft had two catches for 26 yards, including a nice 13-yard catch where he fought through tackles on a 3rd & 10 to move the chains. He and Dwelley are the top candidates vying for that third tight end spot behind Charlie Woerner.

Woerner, who returned to practice following his core muscle injury this week, caught one pass for four yards in limited action.

Fumagalli, the other tight end to see action on Thursday, caught two passes for 26 yards, although both catches came during the fourth quarter.

The tight end unit was arguably the best unit for the 49ers on Thursday, as the group caught eight of their nine intended targets.

Offensive Line: F

Before I continue, let me preface that the 49ers sat Trent Williams, Daniel Brunskill, and Mike McGlinchey, meaning that Jaylon Moore and Colton McKivitz started at left and right tackle, respectively.

The offensive line had a porous performance overall, as all three quarterbacks faced significant pressure, disrupting both the passing and rushing attack.

The 49ers only rushed for 2.1 yards per carry on 24 attempts, while the Texans managed 4.3 yards per carry on 33 attempts.

McKivitz and Moore were both outworked on the edge, but overall; there wasn't a single offensive lineman who had a clean game.

Aaron Banks and Spencer Burford had inconsistent performances, with the former whiffing on a 4th & 2 run by Trey Sermon, disrupting the drive, while the latter committed two holding penalties.

Jason Poe, who had mixed in with Banks alongside the first-team offense this week, also struggled, whiffing on a few blocks, while having some nice plays as well.

Overall, this game was a testament to the depth on the offensive line, which has looked spotty at best, making it no surprise that the 49ers have inquired about trading for an interior offensive lineman, according to the SF Chronicle's Eric Branch.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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