49ers' solid PFF scores were not enough to overcome mistakes


There were a few highlights in the 49ers' 41-33 loss to the Cowboys, but the mistakes were just too much for the team to overcome. 

The 49ers were in the game until late in the fourth quarter when Nick Mullens threw two interceptions in the span of three drives. Kyle Shanahan called a balanced offense for most of the game, but as the 49ers needed to play catch-up, the number of pass plays increased.

Justin Skule underwent a trial by fire at right guard, making a start at the position for the first time in his career. His lack of experience showed, but the remainder of the offensive line did their part to give Mullens time and establish the ground game.

Mike McGlinchey scored an 83.0 overall grade, per Pro Football Focus, which ranked second highest among all tackles in Week 15 prior to "Monday Night Football." His 92.6 run-blocking grade is the highest of any tackle in Week 15. 

Trent Williams and Laken Tomlinson also did their part, with the veteran left tackle exemplifying why he is a priority for the 49ers to lock down this offseason. Both linemen had solid performances in both the run and pass game. 

The defense again had a solid performance, this time with a few new faces on the field. Ahkello Witherspoon took over opposite of Richard Sherman and had a strong game. Emmanuel Moseley was only on the field for five defensive snaps while working his way back from a hamstring injury. 


Sherman didn’t have his best day, as he missed two tackles and allowed two catches on two targets for 23 yards. 

Before leaving the game due to a concussion, Jimmie Ward didn’t miss any tackles but allowed two catches for 32 yards. Marcell Harris, who replaced Ward in the lineup, struggled. He not only allowed a touchdown reception but also missed a tackle. 

Tarvarius Moore had five solo tackles on the day and one assist, but allowed two catches on three targets for 16 yards. 

RELATED: Grade for 49ers' offense, defense in bad loss vs. Cowboys

Here are a few more highlights from 49ers' Pro Football Focus grades:


LT Trent Williams: He received an 80.3 overall grade. Williams allowed just two quarterback pressures in 48 pass-blocking snaps. He has gone eight straight games without allowing a sack (last one was Week 5 vs. Miami Dolphins). Williams ranks second on the season among all tackles with an overall grade of 90.6, trailing only Green Bay Packers tackle David Bakhtiari (91.7).

LG Laken Tomlinson: He scored a 79.1 overall grade allowing two pressures in 48 pass-blocking snaps. Tomlinson's 78.7 overall grade on the season ranks eighth among qualifying guards.

RG Justin Skule: He received a 37.9 overall grade, and a 17.2 pass-blocking grade. He allowed six pressures, two hits and four hurries. 

QB Nick Mullens: He received a 51.4 overall grade. When under pressure he was 6 for 14 for 76 yards with one interception and a 30.7 passer rating. His passer rating when kept clean this season is 104.2 (15th of 32), when under pressure it drops all the way to 45.2 (29th).   

Of the 32 QBs with at least 250 dropbacks this season, Mullens' 56.9 overall grade is tied for last with Drew Lock. When using play-action this season, Mullens has a passer rating of 107.8. It drops to 74.5 when not using play action.

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CB Ahkello Witherspoon: He scored an 86.9 overall grade, the highest since his rookie season. (90.4 in Week 8 of 2017 season vs. Philadelphia Eagles). He allowed two catches on six targets for 13 yards with one pass breakup which equals a 42.4 passer rating allowed.

DL Arik Armstead: He received a 79.5 overall grade. He racked up seven pressures (two sacks and five hurries) as well as two run stops.

S Marcell Harris: He scored a 25.3 overall grade allowing catches on both of his targets for 57 yards and one touchdown. He also had a missed tackle.