49ers

49ers report card: Grades for offense, defense in 20-17 loss to Ravens

49ers report card: Grades for offense, defense in 20-17 loss to Ravens

BALTIMORE – It came down to Justin Tucker sending a 49-yard field goal through the uprights at the end of 60 minutes of football.

At the 30-minute mark, the 49ers missed their opportunity from 2 yards farther out.

Following the 49ers’ painful 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on a soggy Sunday, many in the losing locker room were talking about being better at the little things in order to pull out a game such as this.

“We need to make more plays in crucial situations, and that is what separates a lot of these games -- a couple of plays here and there,” 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said.

The 49ers fall to 10-2 on the season. The 49ers’ two losses have come on the final plays of their three-point losses at home to Seattle (in overtime) and on the road against the Ravens.

“We gave ourselves the chance,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said. “That’s all you can do, give ourselves a chance to win, and we did that on both sides of the ball. We just didn’t make enough plays.”

The 49ers’ final possession ended with a failed fourth-down attempt. Baltimore succeeded on a fourth-down play on the drive on which it ended up scoring the winning points.

“It just comes down to us making those small plays in the clutch time,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said. “We’ve got to be cleaner. I feel like we just have to be better from the get-go, including myself.”

Here are the 49ers’ grades from their Week 13 loss.

Rushing offense

Backup running back Raheem Mostert had a career day, as he gained 146 yards and a touchdown on 19 rushing attempts.

Mostert became the hot runner for the 49ers’ offense after starter Tevin Coleman could not find much room to operate. Coleman was held to just 6 yards on five rushing attempts.

The 49ers had some very good blocking at the point of attack with the offensive line opening holes for Mostert. Tight end George Kittle, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and the wide receivers also did their jobs.

Juszczyk credited Mostert for his decisiveness in recognizing openings and using his elite speed to blast through those openings.

Grade: A

Passing offense

Garoppolo completed 15 of 21 pass attempts for 165 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. His passer rating was 110.2. He was sacked twice for minus-8 yards, and one of those sacks turned into a costly turnover.

However, the 49ers’ passing game did not come up big on third downs. The 49ers converted on just four of 12 third-down opportunities. Garoppolo’s critical fourth-down pass in the fourth quarter was batted down at the line of scrimmage.

Rookie Deebo Samuel rebounded nicely from a dropped pass on the first drive to beat Ravens defensive backs Brandon Carr and Marcus Peters for a 33-yard touchdown, which came on a fourth-down pass.

Emmanuel Sanders had four catches for 41 yards; Kendrick Bourne added three receptions for 42 yards, and Samuel had two catches for 41 yards.

Kittle was held to two catches for 17 yards.

Grade: C-plus

Rushing Defense

This had the makings of a disastrous game for the 49ers’ run defense. But after getting a good feel for what the Ravens were trying to do, the 49ers fared a lot better than most teams that have tried to defend Lamar Jackson and Co.

Jackson had a very good game as a runner. He gained 101 yards and scored a touchdown on 16 rushing attempts. However, his 6.3-yard average was nearly a full yard less than his season’s average.

Safety Marcell Harris, who replaced Jaquiski Tartt, produced the best play for the defense when the tore the ball away from Jackson at the end of a run on which he had already picked up the necessary yardage on a third-down scamper.

The 49ers’ defense did a solid job against Mark Ingram, who accounted for 59 yards on 15 tries. Gus Edwards had six attempts for 15 yards. Warner had a team-high 11 tackles, while Dre Greenlaw collected eight tackles.

Grade: B

Passing Defense

Jackson and tight end Mark Andrews immediately took advantage of the 49ers’ lone giveaway when they hooked up for a 20-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter between Warner and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon.

But the 49ers continued to be very stingy against the pass. Jackson completed 14 of 23 pass attempts for 105 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions.

The 49ers did not deploy the same kind of aggressive pass rush against Jackson because of his ability to break down a defense with his legs. DeForest Buckner registered the 49ers’ only sack of the game, which accounted for zero yards.

Warner broke up two passes, while Jimmie Ward was credited with one pass defensed.

Grade: A-minus

Special Teams

Robbie Gould returned to action Sunday after missing three games with a right quadriceps injury. His 51-yard field-goal attempt at the end of the first half proved to be a pivotal play.

Ravens defensive back Marlon Humphrey made it around Arik Armstead on the left side of the 49ers’ line to deflect the kick, which landed about midway into the end zone. It’s a difficult job for Armstead, who is responsible for blocking two players.

But the missed kick goes on Gould’s ledger. On the season, Gould has made 14 of 22 field-goal attempts, including 0-for-4 from 50 yards or longer.

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky averaged a net 36.0 yards on his two punts. The 49ers gave up an 18-yard punt return, but that play did not factor into the scoring.

Grade: D

[RELATED: Jimmy G feels 49ers will bounce back from Ravens loss]

Overall

One thing is for certain: The 49ers stack up against any team in the NFL. They have proven that much through 13 weeks of the season. But ...

“We didn’t get the win,” Warner said. “That’s what matters.”

That is very true.

The 49ers are in a fight in the race for the NFC West with the Seattle Seahawks. They are battling for playoff seeding in the NFC.

The 49ers had a lot of opportunities in this game, but they did not come through at the most crucial of times. Coach Kyle Shanahan’s game-management at the end of the first half can be hotly debated.

But, as he explained, the last thing he wanted was to give the ball back to the Ravens one last time before the end of the half. The 49ers faced a first-and-20 and opted to work the clock. Two plays later when Mostert peeled off a 16-yard gain, the 49ers wish they had that time back that they had already burnt.

Neither side of the ball played poorly. But the Ravens played a little better and came up with the plays that mattered most.

Grade: B-minus

NFL playoff picture: Where 49ers stand in NFC after Seahawks' loss

NFL playoff picture: Where 49ers stand in NFC after Seahawks' loss

The 49ers earned a huge road win over the Saints to improve to 11-2, but that wasn't the end of their good news on Sunday.

Hours after San Francisco prevailed 48-46 in New Orleans, the 49ers' temporary place atop the NFC standings was solidified for at least the next week after the Rams defeated the Seahawks 28-12 in Los Angeles. With the loss, Seattle dropped to 10-3 on the season and fell out of the No. 1 overall seed in the conference.

The 49ers' win combined with the Seahawks' loss puts San Francisco in the driver's seat to win the NFC West, but with Seattle holding the tiebreaker, the division might come down to the Week 17 game between the two teams.

However, it is possible for San Francisco to clinch the division title before Week 17. That would require the 49ers to win each of their next two games against the Falcons and Rams -- both at home -- and the Seahawks to lose at least one of their next two. San Francisco would also clinch a first-round bye in that scenario.

Seattle travels to Carolina to face the sliding Panthers in Week 15 before returning home to host the Cardinals in Week 16. The Seahawks rightfully will be favored in each of those games -- just as the 49ers will be in theirs -- but crazier things have happened.

[RELATED: 49ers disappointed with lack of defensive execution in win]

Here's what the NFC playoff picture looks like heading into Giants-Eagles on Monday night:

  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
  2. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
  3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (10-3)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)

George Kittle credits gator-feet necklace for 49ers' win over Saints

George Kittle credits gator-feet necklace for 49ers' win over Saints

49ers fans traveled well to New Orleans for the game against the Saints on Sunday.

But it was a 49ers fan born and raised in The Big Easy that might have had the biggest hand in San Francisco's thrilling 48-46 win.

After the game, All-Pro tight end George Kittle was wearing an unusual necklace at his locker and at his press conference.

The necklace, sent to Kittle by the unidentified fan, was made of gator feet.

Yes, alligator feet.

Kittle and the 49ers needed all the help they could get to win a crazy, back-and-forth game in the Superdome.

After the Saints took a one-point lead with 53 seconds left in regulation, it was Kittle's incredible 39-yard catch and run on fourth-and-2 that helped set up Robbie Gould's game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expired.

[RELATED: Kittle fulfills promise to York family]

Kittle finished the game with six catches for 67 yards and one touchdown.

We recommend that Kittle continue to bring the gator-feet necklace with him to the rest of the 49ers games this season.