49ers' PFF grades vs. Rams show everything but heart of team


The 49ers' 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Rams wasn’t pretty on Sunday. 

The team’s Pro Football Focus scores show the good, the bad, and the ugly from the season-saving win. The one thing these metrics don’t show is the timing of the good and bad plays, nor the heart of the players who were able to come through when it counted most.

The 49ers led by as many as 14 points before the Rams managed to score 17 unanswered points in the second half to take the lead. Nick Mullens was under pressure much of the game, mostly by All-Pro pass rusher Aaron Donald. 

Mullens managed to complete 24 of his 35 attempts for 252 yards, primarily to Deebo Samuel. The sophomore receiver made the most of his opportunities, gaining 136 yards after the catch -- three more yards than his 133 total on the day. 

The 49ers’ defense gets credit for a large part of the win, with rookie Javon Kinlaw recording the first pick-six of his NFL career. Richard Sherman also didn’t skip a beat in his first on-field action since Week 1, recording his fist interception of 2020 and the 36th pick of his NFL career. 

Jimmie Ward also did his part, forcing two fumbles which helped the 49ers win the turnover battle -- just barely.


The 49ers' offense tuned the ball over three times. Mullens threw an interception and Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson fumbled once each. Mullens had some misses, but also made so tough throws when it mattered most. 

In the fourth quarter, Mullens was able to move the team down the field enough to allow Robbie Gould two field attempts, one to tie the game up and the second to win the game time expired. 

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Here are more highlights from the team’s PFF scores: 


OL Laken Tomlinson: His overall 87.8 was the highest score on the offense. He did not allow a quarterback pressure and also had a run-blocking grade of 82.4. Tomlinson's 75.8 overall grade on the season ranks 10th among guards

WR Deebo Samuel: He scored a 84.5 overall grade, with 136 of his 133 receiving yards coming after the catch. He forced six missed tackles, which was the most of any receiver in Week 12. 

OL Colton McKivitz 25.2 pass block grade, OL Daniel Brunskill 26.8 pass block grade, OL Mike McGlinchey 42.3 pass block grade: The remainder of the 49ers' offensive line struggled against Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, who had a 92.2 overall grade. He single-handedly had six quarterback pressures (1 sack, 3 hits, 2 hurries), one forced fumble and four run stops.


S Jimmie Ward: He had a career-high 94.7 overall grade. He forced two fumbles, had three stops, and allowed just three catches on eight targets for 16 yards and had one pass break-up in coverage

DT Javon Kinlaw: He had a career-high 91.6 overall grade and the first pick-six of his NFL career

CB Richard Sherman: He had an 80.4 overall grade in his first game since Week 1. He allowed one catch on two targets for one yards. He also intercepted Jared Goff, and has only allowed a passer rating of 22.9 in his two games this season.

DL Kerry Hyder Jr.: He may have only scored a 69.0 overall grade but he still managed five quarterback pressures, including two sacks and a fumble recovery. Hyder leads the team with 39 quarterback pressures on the season.

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The 49ers' defense got pressure on Jared Goff, who scored a 35.9 overall grade, his worst since his rookie season (Week 16 of 2016 vs. SF - 34.3)  Goff was 1-7, 30 yards, and one interception on throws of 10 yards or more downfield.