The San Francisco 49ers were defeated by the Houston Texans 23-10 on Saturday night. As with a usual routine, there is always a report card afterwards from the game. However, the coaching staff is not graded in a preseason game because of how there is no game planning as well as vanilla play calls.
Here are the grades from the 49ers preseason opener:
Colin Kaepernick overthrew Torrey Smith and had one completion. His near-mistake of running towards the sideline and throwing it away almost cost the 49ers some yardage. Blaine Gabbert had a good outing, unlike his preseason of 2014. He was working well with the second-team offense and even led a touchdown drive. Dylan Thompson struggled, but it wasn’t all his fault.
Running Backs: B+
Jarryd Hayne got all the attention with his 53-yard run in the second quarter. Carlos Hyde did well in the beginning while Mike Davis showed good vision on the field. If Davis can show he’s patient at the line, the 49ers will be in good shape at the running back position from top to bottom.
Wide Receivers: C-
Not counting Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, who played on the first possession only, the wide receiver group looked mediocre as a whole. Didn’t see players get open nor become targeted. However, Jerome Simpson showed he can be a decent target on the short crossing route and should be the leading No. 3 receiver after this game.
Tight Ends: B-
Garrett Celek has mostly been on special teams from 2012-2014, but he was a target of Gabbert’s last night. He had the only 49ers touchdown and is competing for a roster spot. Vance McDonald was flagged for holding but caught one pass as the starter. Minimal activity happened near the end for Asante Cleveland and Blake Bell. With the 49ers loaded at TE, they could end up trading one to the Washington Redskins, who are in need of a tight end after losing Logan Paulsen.
Offensive Line: A-
The first two units looked good up front. There were plenty of holes for the running backs in the ground attack. Kaepernick and Gabbert both had plenty of time to throw and the one pressure on the former was the result of good coverage. The third unit blocking Thompson was a mess.
Defensive Line: B-
The run stopping was the biggest positive on the goal line. Unfortunately Alfred Blue had a solid game in the first half up until that goal line stand. There was a lack of pass rushing and disruption, but the run stopping had its good moments. Arik Armstead looked flawed against the third string units while Tank Carradine was ineffective. However, Mike Purcell picked up the slack on the interior.
The pass rush was lacking from Corey Lemonier and rookie Eli Harold. Nick Moody and Shayne Skov were forced to start with NaVorro Bowman and Michael Wilhoite sitting out and both of them were shaky. It didn’t look like a competent unit in coverage nor run stopping until the goal line stand.
Cecil Shorts III beat everyone badly after Moody allowed the catch. Antoine Bethea took a poor angle which resulting in a 58-yard touchdown. Overall, Texans QBs were 12-15 combined in the first half between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett. The first-team secondary was on the field longer, but didn’t impress.
Special Teams: A-
Jarryd Hayne got attention again for his punt and kickoff returns. The coverage units were just as impressive as led by L.J. McCray while Phil Dawson made a 33-yard PAT and 37-yard field goal. Bradley Pinion had a decent debut as the replacement for Andy Lee, where he averaged 48.8 yards per punt.