Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports


49ers vs. Packers: Full grades and analysis for San Francisco from Monday Night Football

Oct 15, 2018 at 8:56 PM


The San Francisco 49ers lost a thriller on Monday Night Football, falling 33-30 on a game-winning field goal to the Green Bay Packers, who enjoyed quarterback Aaron Rodgers do his Hall of Fame-caliber stuff in the fourth quarter.


The San Francisco 49ers should have won on Monday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers. The Niners would have, if they hadn't committed three turnovers in the game. The Niners would have won if some of the defensive personnel usage had been better. San Francisco probably would have won if it had let running back Matt Breida rush on a 2nd-and-2 late in the fourth quarter.

And they wouldn't have allowed a Green Bay game-winning field goal if cornerback Greg Mabin to give up the sideline in coverage on the final Packers offensive drive, on which quarterback Aaron Rodgers was stellar beyond belief.

Alas, bad teams find ways to lose. The 49ers found a few. So, despite a stellar offensive performance from quarterback C.J. Beathard and Co., the Niners lost 33-30 in heartbreaking fashion and now sit at 1-5 on the year.

Let's grade it out.

Quarterback


Take away his fourth-quarter interception, Beathard was pretty darned solid while the rest of the football world was paying attention to Rodgers. That pick hurt, however, and it cost San Francisco a key chance to win the game in regulation.

Still, Beathard's toughness was again on display, and the rest of his numbers were pretty stellar -- a 16-of-23 line for 245 yards, two touchdowns against the interception and a passer rating of 115.3.

Grade: A-

Running Back


Where to start? The 49ers' rushing attack was on fire for most of the game, finishing with a whopping 174 yards and an average of 5.8 yards per attempt. Running back Raheem Mostert, not Breida, was the biggest X-factor in the game, as he rushed for 87 of those yards.

Breida was the one who got San Francisco on the scoreboard first, however, as he managed a 3-yard touchdown run on the Niners' first offensive possession.

Great game from this tandem.

Grade: A+

Wide Receiver


Well, have a game, Marquise Goodwin. Goodwin's return from injury meant a ton for the 49ers offense, helping spread out Green Bay's defense and prevent it from locking up against the Niners' rushing attack.

This 67-yard touchdown sure was nice too:


And all Goodwin did was haul in four passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns.

Grade: A

Tight End


George Kittle wasn't as big a factor in the game, finishing with four catches for 30 yards. But he did have a key third-down pickup, where he had to fight for a few extra yards to get the first down, and that led to a crucial Niners field goal in the fourth quarter.

Grade: B

Offensive Line


The rushing stats tell you all you need to know -- San Francisco's offensive line was absolutely dominant in run support. And this unit held up particularly well in pass protection too, as Beathard was protected well enough and suffered just two sacks on the night.

Right tackle Mike McGlinchey had a good game, too, aside from his fourth-quarter sack allowed, allowing head coach Kyle Shanahan's outside-rushing attack to get plenty of success to the rookie's side.

Grade: A+

Defensive Line


There's still some questionable use of second-year defensive end Solomon Thomas, who was regularly rotated out. Even on passing downs. That said, defensive tackle Sheldon Day had himself a game, registering a tackle and a sack. And fellow defensive tackle DeForest Buckner added to his team-leading sack total with a quarterback takedown of his own. So did Ronald Blair, who had an excellent game.

San Francisco still needs to find a pass-rusher to upgrade over EDGE Cassius Marsh, though.

Grade: B+

Linebacker


Malcolm Smith shouldn't be used in coverage. It's not ideal. On the positive side of things, linebackers Reuben Foster and Fred Warner weren't regularly victimized by missed tackles, as had been the case during the Niners' previous three games.

And Green Bay still managed to rush for 116 yards, including 34 from the hobbled Rodgers.

Grade: B-

Secondary


Mabin was flat-out bad. Rodgers knew it too, taking full advantage of him in the fourth quarter after Mabin came in relief of fellow defensive back Jimmie Ward, who also didn't fare well early in the contest. Ward was primarily responsible for the massive 60-yard completion to Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling, which ended in the Packers' first touchdown of the game. Ward bounced back later on, so him being removed for Mabin was a bit odd. Perhaps there was an injury there.

Safety Jaquiski Tartt arguably had his worst game of the season, giving up a number of key first-down plays and often looking lost in coverage.

Boy, and cornerback Richard Sherman's illegal-contact penalty on Green Bay's game-winning drive sure hurt. It was third down, and Buckner would have had another sack to force a punt had Sherman not been flagged. You can argue if it was ticky tack, but that penalty was a killer.

Grade: D

As far as the coaching staff, Shanahan's offense did about as much as it possibly could during the contest. Sure, there were some bone-headed decisions, such as the non-Breida carry late in the fourth quarter. Overall, though, Shanahan's play calling showed what it could do when executed effectively.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh's defense, on the other hand, wasn't quite so impressive.

Saleh's primary issue isn't the scheme itself, it's matching the personnel to fit the scheme. Or calling plays like this:


Granted, Saleh did make some nice adjustments in the third quarter and for most of the fourth, going from a primarily zone-coverage scheme to more man-to-man coverage. It worked for a while until Rodgers started to find the mismatches. And he did.

Still, Saleh's game planning hasn't fared well this season. Sure, San Francisco lacks the talent on defense. But those players aren't exactly being put in a position to win either.

At least the 49ers find themselves in better NFL Draft positioning with their fifth loss of the season. And tack on yet another game the Niners should have won to the season's total.
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.
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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