Here are our grades from the 49ers’ heartbreaking 33-30 loss to the Green Bay Packers on Monday at Lambeau Field.
Passing offense: B-
Throughout portions of the contest, particularly while the 49ers went on a 23-6 run before the Packers came back, C.J. Beathard was outplaying Aaron Rodgers. He was more efficient and hitting the right spots. He finished completing 70 percent of his passes for 245 yards and two touchdowns, both going to Marquise Goodwin. But the 49ers badly could have used a third, particularly early in the fourth quarter when the 49ers couldn’t convert a short third down because Beathard overshot George Kittle. Then Bethard took a crucial third-down sack and fired an interception when the 49ers were in position to hit a go-ahead field goal late.
Rushing offense: B+
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
Coach Kyle Shanahan put together a strong game plan, focusing on taking advantage of Green Bay’s defense on the edge and avoiding their stout defensive tackles. Raheem Mostert, after a crucial fumble last week, paced San Francisco with 87 yards on 12 carries, including a 26-yarder on a career night. Matt Breida wasn’t bad, either, with 61 yards on 14 carries. Breida’s tough three-yard touchdown in the first quarter helped set the tone on the ground.
Passing defense: F
The 49ers got torched in the first quarter, allowing 170 yards and two touchdown passes to Rodgers (the bubble screen to Ty Montgomery, was technically a rushing play because the pass was backwards). It started with another huge play on the first snap, for the second consecutive game. There were multiple coverage gaffes throughout. The 49ers still haven’t fixed their glaring communications issues. Jimmie Ward exited late in the fourth quarter with another hamstring injury. It led to backup Greg Mabin getting picked on, including for the game-tying touchdown to Davante Adams.
Rushing defense: C
Rodgers accounted for 34 of Green Bay’s 116 yards, including a 21-yard scamper on the game-winning field goal drive. Packers running backs averaged more than 4.5 yards per carry, though it never felt like Green Bay was controlling the game on the ground. Aaron Jones was the most effective back, rushing for 41 yards on eight carries.
Special teams: B-
Robbie Gould made all three of his field goals and Bradley Pinion averaged 42 yards on three punts. But the most notable special teams play of the night was D.J. Reed’s first-half fumble during a kickoff return, his second in three games, which led to a Packers field goal. It proved costly in the three-point loss.
Shanahan’s plan was sound, particularly with the running game. But his play calling in the fourth quarter deserves criticism. He called a passing play, which wound up falling incomplete, on a second-and-three just inside Packers’ territory with 1:16 remaining. The 49ers were averaging 5.8 yards per carry to that point and had plenty of time to get a first down and get close to field goal range to potentially win the game. The next play was Beathard’s interception that gave the Packers the ball back and led to their game-winning rally.