Here are the grades for the San Francisco 49ers in their 19-12 preseason loss to the Denver Broncos:
Note: Coaching is not graded in a preseason game.
Colin Kaepernick didn’t do much as a passer, but it wasn’t his fault for the most part. As a runner, he still picked up 53 yards on the ground through some scrambles. Blaine Gabbert had a decent game, showing better zip and decision making in the pocket. Dylan Thompson threw some ducks on the final possession, but it’s not factored into this grade. Gabbert and Kaepernick were adequate given the circumstances, but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.
Running Backs: B+
Carlos Hyde looked fine and the 49ers offense appears to be dependent on the run. Mike Davis was decent, but Kendall Hunter didn’t do much. Reggie Bush had two long gains on two different third and long situations.
Wide Receivers: N/A
There isn’t much to say due to the troubles elsewhere on offense. Bruce Ellington led the box score with two paltry receptions, but Kaepernick had no chance to get the ball to his targets. This unit will not get a grade from last night’s game.
Tight Ends: B
Garrett Celek and Blake Bell look like decent targets if needed. Rory Anderson could be a decent blocker if the 49ers chose to keep him on the roster. Bell’s versatility in both blocking and pass catching is a plus.
Offensive Line: D+
The offensive line in pass protection was the biggest culprit of the night. Their run blocking was decent, preventing any “F” grade. However, Ian Silberman and Erik Pears looked overmatched and the bad snap from Joe Looney made this a nightmare. The right side of the offensive line is uncertain and no one separated themselves in the competition.
Defensive Line: C-
The first-team defense got pounded up the gut by C.J. Anderson. They had 79 rushing yards allowed and they could have had more if Denver chose more run plays. Peyton Manning also had time when the team didn’t blitz.
NaVorro Bowman controlled everything and was the heart of the 49ers defense. Michael Wilhoite was decent, but the outside was mostly quiet. With no Ahmad Brooks playing due to the recent charge for sexual battery, the pass rush wasn’t there from the OLBs. Eli Harold had a few good plays, but also took some bad angles when tackling.
Majority of Peyton Manning’s passes were short and in the middle of the field. Denver didn’t get a deep pass and had to beat the 49ers underneath to move the chains. Kenneth Acker in particular had an impressive game with an interception and great coverage on the Broncos wide receivers. Eric Reid made some good plays as well.
Special Teams: B-
Phil Dawson made an easy field goal while Corey Acosta went 3-3 with the mile high altitude. Bradley Pinion had plenty of touchbacks on kickoffs with the thin air, but his punts were shorter than usual. One went to the corner and was well-shorter than what is expected. The coverage units were good minus one safety punt that went past midfield. Reggie Bush also botched a punt that he should have fair caught.