San Francisco 49ers

Report card: Defense douses small spark from Kaepernick

Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) hits San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second half on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Buffalo Bills outside linebacker Lorenzo Alexander (57) hits San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second half on Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. The Associated Press

Report card

Offense: Did Colin Kaepernick spark the 49ers’ offense? For a while Sunday, he was the offense, accounting for 187 yards through the air and another 66 on the ground. But his outing wasn’t all that different than those of Blaine Gabbert. As has been the case all season, the running game ranged from inconsistent to invisible, even before Carlos Hyde was slowed by a shoulder injury. Grade: C-

Defense: When the Bills faced third and 20 late in the second quarter, they handed the ball to LeSean McCoy on a draw, tantamount to conceding they would punt. Against the 49ers this year, that’s a strong, successful play call. McCoy picked up 22 yards – and a first down – on his way to 140 total yards and three touchdowns. Grade: F

Special teams: Phil Dawson mastered winds that gusted to 35 mph, hitting field goals from 33, 47 and 48 yards. But punter Bradley Pinion didn’t fare as well, averaging a little under 35 yards net on his punts. New kick returner Keshawn Martin fumbled in the fourth quarter. Grade: C+

Overall: It’s now official: Jim Tomsula’s 2015 squad got off to a better start (2-4) than Chip Kelly’s 2016 team (1-5). The good news for the 49ers is that they won’t go on the road again until Nov. 13 when they visit Arizona. Grade: D-

Matt Barrows

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