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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

PFF’s best and worst graded 49ers players vs. Cardinals, plus snap counts

Dec 18, 2023 at 10:02 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers improved their record to 11-3 after a 45-29 win against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 15. Today, Pro Football Focus released its grades from the game. Which Niners played well, and who has more work to do?

Below are Pro Football Focus' five highest-graded 49ers players on offense against the Cardinals.

Below are the five highest-graded 49ers players on defense.

Below are the three lowest-graded 49ers players on offense.

Below are the three lowest-graded 49ers players on defense.

Quick Takeaways

The most glaring defensive issue in Sunday's game for the 49ers was the notable number of missed tackles. Despite the absence of two starting defensive tackles, the team fell short of its usual high standards.

"I thought, just looking at it live, I thought we missed way too many tackles today," head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. "Give them credit. They got a bunch of guys that are hard to tackle. Obviously, their quarterback is as tough as it gets, but they're skilled players, they all can run, they're fast, their [running] back. They've got a bunch of guys who create that stuff. But it was disappointing on the missed tackles."

Pro Football Focus credited the 49ers defense with 16 missed tackles against the Cardinals, marking their highest total of the season. The defense has tallied 42 missed tackles over the last three games.

While the defense struggled to play up to its standards, the offense excelled, playing a pivotal role in the 49ers' victory. Offensive lineman Jon Feliciano, stepping in for Spencer Burford, emerging as the team's highest-graded player (93.5). Feliciano didn't allow a single pass rush in his 30 pass-blocking snaps.

Tackle Trent Williams also performed at a high level, earning his highest grade (84.9) since Week 4 (90.1), also against the Cardinals. Williams did not allow a pressure in his 28 pass-blocking snaps.

Quarterback Brock Purdy continues to play at an MVP-like level, completing 16 of 25 passing attempts for 242 yards and four touchdowns, with a passer rating of 135.3. His four passing touchdowns brought his season total to 29 and his career total to 42. Purdy's 86.5 overall grade is his second-best mark of the season, and his highest since Week 10 (91.7).

Tackle Colton McKivitz followed up his career-high 81.3 overall grade last week against the Seahawks with his second-highest career mark of 79.7. Impressive run-blocking grades of 90.5 and 88.3 in those two games contributed to the high marks.

The 49ers' top three wide receivers—Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and Jauan Jennings—were the highest-graded among Purdy's offensive targets. Samuel rounded out the top five with a 78.5 overall grade, while Aiyuk and Jennings just missed the top five with 75.6 and 74.9 overall grades, respectively.

Despite Christian McCaffrey's impressive performance with 18 carries for 115 yards and one touchdown on the ground, along with five receptions for 72 yards and two touchdowns through the air, the running back earned only a 68.4 overall grade. His 65.1 overall run grade is his lowest since Week 7 against the Minnesota Vikings (55.3).

On defense, cornerback Charvarius Ward stood out with three tackles and a career-high two interceptions, one of which he returned for a 66-yard touchdown. His 90.8 overall grade is the highest of his career, as is his 91.6 coverage grade. This game marks Ward's second time recording an overall grade over 90.0.

For the fifth time in six games, linebacker Fred Warner recorded a grade of 83.9 or higher, currently sitting at a career-high 91.0 for the season. Warner finished the game with nine tackles, one forced fumble, and 0.5 sacks, bringing his season total to two sacks and 8.5 in his career.

Defensive end Nick Bosa continued his impressive streak, with grades of 78.6 or higher over the past six games and 82.4 or higher in five of the last six. Bosa registered a tackle, one forced fumble, and one sack, bringing his season total to 10.5 sacks and 53.5 in his career. He led the team with three pressures.

Cornerback Deommodore Lenoir left in the fourth quarter with a rib injury, but before that, he earned his second-highest grade (84.0) of the season. His best mark came in Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys (84.7). Lenoir was targeted seven times, allowing four receptions for 36 yards and a 71.1 passer rating.

Defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw recorded a career-low grade of 25.7, influenced by a poor 21.8 run-defense grade. He finished the game with two tackles and one sack, bringing his season total to 3.5 and five in his career.

Snap Counts

56 - Aaron Banks (LG), Jon Feliciano (RG)
54 - Colton McKivitz (RT), Jake Brendel (C)
49 - Trent Williams (LT)
48 - Deebo Samuel (WR), George Kittle (TE)
46 - Brandon Aiyuk (WR), Brock Purdy (QB)
43 - Christian McCaffrey (RB)
28 - Kyle Juszczyk (FB)
23 - Jauan Jennings (WR)
13 - Jordan Mason (RB)
11 - Charlie Woerner (TE)
10 - Sam Darnold (QB)
8 - Ronnie Bell (WR)
7 - Jaylon Moore (LT)
6 - Brayden Willis (TE), Chris Conley (WR)
2 - Ben Bartch (RG), Matt Pryor (RT)

74 - Ji'Ayir Brown (FS)
62 - Charvarius Ward (CB), Dre Greenlaw (LB), Fred Warner (LB), Tashaun Gipson Sr. (FS)
56 - Deommodore Lenoir (CB)
47 - Ambry Thomas (CB), Nick Bosa (DE)
45 - Javon Kinlaw (DT)
42 - Kevin Givens (DT)
40 - Chase Young (DE)
39 - Randy Gregory (ROLB)
30 - Clelin Ferrell (DE)
29 - T.Y. McGill (DT)
27 - Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (LB)
18 - Isaiah Oliver (CB)
13 - Kalia Davis (DT)
12 - Darrell Luter Jr. (CB), Dee Winters (LB), Logan Ryan (SS), Samuel Womack III (CB)
11 - Robert Beal Jr. (ROLB)

Special Teams
25 - Brayden Willis
24 - Charlie Woerner
22 - Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles
19 - Darrell Luter Jr., Samuel Womack III
18 - Dee Winters, Jalen Graham
17 - Chris Conley
15 - Jake Moody (K)
11 - Jordan Mason, Robert Beal Jr.
9 - Mitch Wishnowsky (P), Taybor Pepper (LS)
8 - Logan Ryan
7 - Aaron Banks, Ben Bartch, Colton McKivitz, Jaylon Moore, Jon Feliciano, Kyle Juszczyk, Matt Pryor
6 - Deebo Samuel
5 - Clelin Ferrell, Fred Warner, Ji'Ayir Brown, Kevin Givens, Randy Gregory
4 - Ambry Thomas, Deommodore Lenoir, Isaiah Oliver, Javon Kinlaw, T.Y. McGill, Tashaun Gipson Sr.
3 - Jauan Jennings, Ronnie Bell
2 - Kalia Davis
1 - Brandon Aiyuk, Dre Greenlaw, George Kittle

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