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49ers vs. Seahawks offensive grades: Christian McCaffrey clinches the division for the 49ers

Rohan Chakravarthi
Dec 17, 2022 at 6:00 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks in a 21-13 contest, clinching them the NFC West title, as they became the first NFL team to win their division in 2022.

Christian McCaffrey had his biggest load as a 49er, despite the short week, which helped propel the 49ers to become winners of the division, helping overcome the injuries that Brock Purdy battled with at quarterback.

Here are the offensive grades for the 49ers.

Quarterback: C

Statistically, Brock Purdy had a solid performance, completing 17/26 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns.

However, from the beginning of the game, it was clear that the rookie quarterback was suffering from the oblique injury he sustained last week, as he passed up some deeper challenges, while struggling to get enough power on certain passes, which led to a near-interception by Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs.

But, head coach Kyle Shanahan called a variety of different passing plays that put his quarterback in positions to succeed, as he consistently had open receivers downfield, which led to easy completions while allowing the 49ers' skill position players to do the necessary work.

Purdy remained accurate in the short range of the field, while going through his progressions consistently and utilizing his mobility, but his effectiveness decreased from the previous two games, likely due to his injuries.

The word that keeps getting attached to Purdy: poise, which he showcased throughout Thursday's performance, even during some of his struggles.

Running Backs: A

Christian McCaffrey was a bell-cow back on Thursday, rushing for 108 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, while catching six passes for 30 yards on eight targets.

McCaffrey was involved in 61% of San Francisco's offensive plays, which shows the impact he has made on the 49ers' offense since his arrival, hence why I deemed him the team's offensive MVP.

The former Panthers running back's ability as a receiver creates opportunities, not only for himself in the passing game, but for his fellow skill position players, which makes their jobs and the quarterback's job easier to execute.

Jordan Mason, San Francisco's secret weapon, retained his "closer" role, effectively ending the game with a 55-yard carry on his fourth opportunity of the day.

It's clear that Mason is deserving of more carries, but McCaffrey displays his impact every time he touches the field. It's a good problem for the 49ers to have, although maintaining their star's workload could be important as the playoffs approach.

Wide Receivers: D

The wide receivers did not perform well on Thursday in their first game without Deebo Samuel, with Jauan Jennings's 31 receiving yards topping the day amongst the wideouts.

Brandon Aiyuk was an afterthought in the offense, catching only two passes for 19 yards on four targets, while dropping a crucial third down pass in Seattle territory and committing an illegal block that derailed a San Francisco drive at midfield.

Of Purdy's 26 passes thrown on Thursday, only 12 went to wide receivers.

However, Jennings did have a vital third-down conversion that provided space for the 49ers deep in their own territory, which could've ended poorly in terms of field position.

Tight Ends: A

George Kittle's efforts have gone somewhat unnoticed as a blocker recently, due to his lack of volume in the passing game.

However, Kittle sought to have a strong, multi-faceted performance, and delivered with a four-catch, 93-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Seahawks in a primetime game.

Kittle, by far, led the 49ers in receiving yards and had his best performance as a receiver since San Francisco faced the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11, when the star tight end caught four passes for 84 yards and two touchdowns in another primetime game.

Tyler Kroft caught a wide-open 28-yard catch off a well-designed play-action pass by Kyle Shanahan for his lone target of the game.

Offensive Line: B

The offensive line did their jobs for the most part on Thursday, both in the passing game and as run-blockers.

In the running game, the 49ers' offense was able to generate holes that resulted in explosive running plays, which propelled the offense on a day when the Seahawks clearly looked to sell out against the run.

Christian McCaffrey had a 23-yard run and an 11-yard run, alongside several five and six-yard carries that slowly moved the offense along and allowed San Francisco to control the time of possession.

In the passing game, while receiving help from Brock Purdy's athleticism, the 49ers offensive line protected the pocket well, allowing just one sack and three quarterback hits on the day, which was much needed with the rookie quarterback's injuries.

While it wasn't necessarily a spectacular performance, the 49ers offensive line did their job, earning them a "B" grade.
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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