It's been a busy couple days in the household, so there hasn't been much time to pick through Thursday's game.Thankfully, the good folks at Pro Football Focus do a thorough job of breaking down every player from every game with a one-of-a-kind grading system.Here are some of PFF's items that stand out from the 49ers' 13-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday night:--The 49ers' offensive line was outstanding. All five starting linemen graded out very well, according to the PFF, which takes into account pass-blocking, screen blocking, run-blocking and penalties.Each of the 49ers' five offensive linemen had strong games. Center Jonathan Goodwin graded out the best of the bunch, followed closely by a tie between guards Mike Iupati and Alex Boone. Left tackle Joe Staley was a shade behind, with Anthony Davis still maintaining a positive grade."A lot of times you talk about teams that can run well between the tackles," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "I've never seen a team run better between the guards than our team showed in the running game. And that was to great credit to Jonathan Goodwin and the two guards. Mike Iupati and Alex Boone had great games."The offensive line was not responsible for any sacks or quarterback hits. Staley gave up two hurries, and Davis surrendered one.--It was the best game of the season for running back Frank Gore, who gained 131 yards on 16 carries and also caught a team-high five passes for 51 yards.To prove the point that Harbaugh made in the previous item, Gore had six runs between the guards that gained 95 yards (15.8 average).--Third cornerback Chris Culliver, coming off a rough game against the New York Giants, picked up where he left off through five games. He was in coverage for 21 plays and his receiver was targeted six times. Culliver surrendered only two catches for 13 yards with two passes broken up. Golden Tate and Evan Moore had dropped passes with Culliver in coverage.--With Mario Manningham out with a shoulder injury (he said he'll be ready for the Monday, Oct. 29, game at Arizona), the 49ers ran sets with three wide receivers only 13.3 percent of the time. As a result, the 49ers kept the Seahawks' nickel defense off the field. Rookie pass-rush specialist Bruce Irvin was on the field for only 12 snaps.--Seattle defensive tackle Brandon Mebane entered the game as the second-highest rated player at his position in the league. And he graded out as the best defensive tackle in the NFL against the run.But against the 49ers, Mebane had an awful -5.7 grade, and credited with only one tackle and no stops. He had made stops on 12.9 of run plays prior to Thursday night. It was is first negative-grade game of the season and it was a big one. Oh, yeah, his defensive mates weren't much more successful against the 49ers.
The 49ers recently re-signed eight of the 10 players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad.
Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, who was not among the first wave of 49ers signings to 2018 contracts, signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts, ending his three-season association with the organization.
Smelter was one of general manager Trent Baalke’s redshirt draft picks. The team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft despite a torn ACL that ended his final season at Georgia Tech.
Smelter spent his first season on an injured list. He was waived at the beginning of the past two seasons, finishing both years on the 49ers’ practice squad. Smelter appeared in two games in 2016 and caught one pass for 23 yards.
Last season, the 49ers signed wide receivers Louis Murphy and Max McCaffrey to spots on the 53-man roster instead of Smelter, who remained on the practice squad.
Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who also spent the entire season on the practice squad, was signed recently to the team’s 90-man roster.
Others who finished the season on the 49ers practice squad to remain on the team’s offseason roster are: quarterback Nick Mullens, tight end Cole Wick, offensive linemen Andrew Lauderdale and Pace Murphy, linebacker Boseko Lokombo, and defensive backs Trovon Reed and Channing Stribling.
The 49ers also signed fullback Malcolm Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnson appeared in 19 games over the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round draft pick in ’15.
Offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, who finished the season on the 49ers’ practice squad, remains unsigned. Guard JP Flynn is also unsigned. He sustained a torn patellar tendon in November and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out up to nine months.
If the 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are unable to reach a multi-year contract extension by March 6, the 49ers have no other choice but to designate him as their franchise player.
The estimated one-year salary for the franchise tag would be $23.307 million, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry, whose work now appears at CBS Sports. (That is assuming a 2018 league-wide salary cap of $178.1 million per team.)
There is a lot to consider for both sides as they look to enter into a long-term contract. Corry said if a deal is struck, he would expect it to be in the neighborhood of Derek Carr’s five-year, $125 million deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason.
“And then there’s the other dynamic, which I would not undersell or I think may not be appreciated as much as it should be,” Corry said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “(Garoppolo’s agent) Don Yee has a reputation – no fault of his own – of doing team-friendly deals.”
Yee also represents New England quarterback Tom Brady, whose average of $20.5 million annual pay ranks 15th among NFL quarterbacks. Brady is underpaid by design, Corry said, because one of the great quarterbacks of all-time realizes it helps the Patriots to maintain a strong supporting cast.
“That’s because Tom Brady dictates, ‘I want to do something good for the team, take less money so we can improve the roster to win Super Bowls.’ That’s not Don Yee who wants to do that,” Corry said.
“The agent works for the player, so he’s executing Tom Brady’s wishes. But he gets that held against him in recruiting. So this is his opportunity to erase that perception if Garoppolo allows him to do his job and gives him latitude to strike the deal that he feels is appropriate.”