49ers

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 28-25 win vs. Cardinals

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AP

49ers report card: Grades on offense, defense in 28-25 win vs. Cardinals

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The 49ers went with a different formula for success on Thursday night in their 28-25 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.

The 49ers’ defense had an alarming number of breakdowns, and the team’s running backs had a difficult time getting going. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo put the team on his back to lead the way to the victory.

The 49ers won for the eighth consecutive time to open the season, and have 10 days to get ready for their next game. The 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, Nov. 11, at Levi’s Stadium.

“I’m glad we were able to pull that off, so we could enjoy our few days off,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “Seven-and-one would not have felt nearly as good. You only feel as good as your last game. We’re really excited about being 8-0, but it doesn’t mean anything. It just means we can enjoy our couple days off even more.”

The 49ers’ fifth consecutive road win was the most for the franchise in a single season since 1994.

Here are the 49ers’ grades from their victory, which breaks an eight-game losing streak to the Cardinals:

Rushing Offense

Matt Breida, who was nursing an ankle injury, showed no signs of the injury as he gained a team-high 78 yards rushing on 15 attempts. Tevin Coleman, coming off his best game of the season, had difficulty finding any room to run. Coleman gained just 23 yards on 12 rushing attempts.

But Coleman had one of the biggest plays of the game when he managed to stay inbounds and pick up 3 yards on a crucial third-and-3 running play late in the game. The 49ers ended up getting another first down to run out the clock.

The Cardinals stacked the box in an attempt to take away the 49ers’ run game. But in putting so much emphasis on the run, it opened the door for the passing game.

Grade: B

Passing Offense

Garoppolo had the best game of his 18-start NFL career, as he completed 28 of 37 pass attempts for 317 yards with a career-best four touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer rating was 136.9.

Garoppolo and the passing game was particularly effective on third downs. Garoppolo completed 12 of 14 pass attempts on third downs for 159 yards. Nine of those completions were good for first downs, including his game-clinching 11-yarder to Ross Dwelley on a third-and-9 situation. Garoppolo also threw a 1-yard touchdown to Emmanuel Sanders on fourth down.

Sanders caught seven passes for 117 yards and a touchdown, and tight end George Kittle had six receptions for 79 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown. Kendrick Bourne and Dante Pettis added touchdowns on their only receptions of the night, covering 7 and 21 yards, respectively.

Garoppolo was well-protected for most of the night. He was sacked just once for 7 yards.

Grade: A-plus

Rushing Defense

Things got off to a rough start for the 49ers’ run defense, as Cardinals newly acquired running back Kenyan Drake ripped off a 36-yard run on the first play of the game.

The Cardinals gained 153 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Drake rushed for 110 yards on 15 carries, and quarterback Kyler Murray added 34 yards rushing on five attempts.

Grade: C

Passing Defense

The first half was what everyone has come to expect from the 49ers’ defense, as the Cardinals managed just 15 yards of net passing through 30 minutes.

But the 49ers let Arizona back in the game with some breakdowns in the defensive backfield, including allowing Andy Isabella to break free for an 88-yard touchdown pass from Murray. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley took a chance, going for the interception, and he got burnt.

Dee Ford had what looked like a big play early with a sack on third down, but he was called for a horse-collar tackle. The Cardinals ended up scoring a TD on their game-opening drive.

Ford, DeForest Buckner and Dre Greenlaw registered sacks in the game, but Murray completed 17 of 24 passes for 241 yards with two touchdowns. Fred Warner dropped what would have been an easy pick-six.

Grade: D

Special Teams

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky and punt returner Richie James had their usual solid games. Wishnowsky had a net 42.8-yard average on five punts. James averaged 8.3 yards on three returns.

The 49ers gave up a long punt return, but it was nullified due to a holding penalty. The Cardinals’ average starting point after four kickoffs was the 22-yard line. Robbie Gould did not have any field-goal attempts, but he made all four of his extra points.

Grade: B

[RELATED: Hobbled Kittle happy for Dwelley]

Overall

The 49ers did not generate any takeaways, nor did they surrender any giveaways. This was a game the 49ers had in control after taking a 21-7 lead in the second quarter. But they did not close the door.

There is plenty for the 49ers to clean up after this victory.

“We need to be humble,” 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman said. “That was a humbling game. We need to be humble on all levels, and I think there’s accountability on all levels. . . . That was not championship football.”

Grade: B-minus

Jed York considered Super Bowl goal realistic after 49ers drafted Nick Bosa

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USA TODAY SPORTS IMAGES

Jed York considered Super Bowl goal realistic after 49ers drafted Nick Bosa

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers were 4-12 last season, so expecting to play in Super Bowl LIV was unrealistic even if the team believed it was better than its record suggests.

Team president and CEO Jed York understood that well. He hired head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to revamp the roster and slowly build the franchise back into a period of sustained success. York gave them six-year contracts back in 2017, a sign he knew this process wouldn’t happen overnight.

He weathered 6-10 in 2017 and 4-12 the following year. There was a moment, however, where York believed his 49ers could make a quantum leap. Yeah, all the way to the Super Bowl.

“The moment we were able to draft Nick Bosa, I thought that this was possible,” York said Friday in an Q+A with local media. “Knowing the moves that [Shanahan and Lynch] had made already, even going back to Trent Baalke, we have invested in our defensive line. Something important for Kyle was to have a Super Bowl caliber defensive line. When you bring Dee Ford through a trade/free agency, and then you’re able to get a player like Nick there when you’re drafting second, you knew that you had a chance. That’s when it sort of hit for me.”

Bosa has proven York right. The 49ers will play Kansas City for the NFL title on Feb. 2 in Miami thanks in large part to the presumptive defensive rookie of the year. Bosa has made a huge impact on the 49ers this season, helping form the NFL’s best defensive line while dominating against the run and pass.

Bosa headlines a productive NFL draft class that also includes receiver Deebo Samuel and linebacker Dre Greenlaw and punter Mitch Witchnowsky. They joined a group that went through hard times in 2018 after Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt, but still managed to play some close games and provide optimism for the future.

“Watching what we were able to do last year after Jimmy got hurt, it took some time for us to find our way,” York said. “The offense was still able to do fairly well and be exciting. Knowing that our young guys had an opportunity to learn and grow was important. Not that we were going to make a push into January last year, but our guys were able to become pros. Some guys who maybe wouldn’t have been able to play if we were in a playoff hunt got a chance to grow last year. That gave us a chance to have a seasoned team, even if it doesn’t show it from their age.”

[RELATED: 49ers' Tevin Coleman shoulder was out of socket for approximately 25 minutes]

York wasn’t just looking for signs of progress with Garoppolo back and Bosa in the fray. He came into the year expecting big things, with full confidence in Lynch and Shanahan that they could reach the highest level and play in this Super Bowl.

“This is always what we’ve worked for,” York said. “Anybody that says we aim to go from 4-12 to 8-8, that’s never what we’re looking for. I always believe that, if you have the right mix of culture and talent, you give yourself a chance to win. I give so much credit to Kyle and John for what they’ve been able to do, and I’ll do whatever I can to support them.”

Jed York hopes 49ers receive White House invite from President Trump

Jed York hopes 49ers receive White House invite from President Trump

SANTA CLARA -- CEO Jed York does not want to look too far ahead, but he said Friday he hopes the 49ers do what it takes in Super Bowl LIV to get an invitation to visit the White House.

The presidency of Donald Trump has brought about decisions for sports teams on whether to accept invitations to visit Washington to be lauded as champions.

[RELATED: 49ers' Sherman on potential White House visit: 'I doubt it']

York was asked if the 49ers would go to the White House, if they defeat the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 2 in Super Bowl LIV.

“We have to get to that point,” York said. “For me, personally, I respect the office of the president, and I’m not going to get into politics.

“I hope we have that decision to make, and I hope we have that opportunity, and I hope that we’re fortunate enough to get a call from the president to invite us to the White House.”