San Francisco 49ers

49ers grades: Passing offense shines as San Francisco holds off Arizona Cardinals

Passing offense: A

The 49ers didn’t get first downs on their first two series, but things finally opened up on their third possession. The result was a 30-yard George Kittle touchdown in which he shoved aside safety Buddah Baker, who was animated toward the 49ers sideline following a third-down incompletion early in the game. The 49ers on the next series scored a second-straight touchdown, when Jimmy Garoppolo completed all five of his throws, leading to a 4-yard score from Kendrick Bourne, who became the 10th San Francisco pass-catcher to make a touchdown reception on the year. Garoppolo added his third touchdown pass on the last play of the first half when he found Emmanuel Sanders, who slid to the flat after starting the play in the back field. Garoppolo added a 21-yard score to Dante Pettis midway through the third quarter to set a new career high of four touchdown passes. His 136.9 passer rating was his best in any start for the 49ers. He finished with 317 yards while completing 28 of 37 (76 percent) of his throws.

Rushing offense: C

Thing started slowly but began to pick up in the second quarter. Matt Breida reeled off long runs runs of 31 and 19 yards on the touchdown drive just before the break. But the 49ers got lucky when they went for it on fourth down from the 1-yard line. Jeff Wilson Jr. was stopped well short, but Cardinals coach Kliff Kingsbury called a timeout before the play, and Sanders scored immediately afterward to make it 21-7 at the break. Breida led the way with 78 yards on 15 runs while Tevin Coleman followed up his 105-yard performance Sunday with 23 yards on 12 carries. San Francisco finished with 101 yards while averaging just 3.3 per carry.

Passing defense: C+

Kyler Murray had just 46 yards on seven completions in the first half. Dee Ford, Dre Greenlaw and DeForest Buckner recorded sacks, marking five straight games the 49ers had at least three. Murray finished with just 241 yards, including the 88-yard strike and run from rookie receiver Andy Isabella to make it a three-point game with just under five minutes remaining. Murray completed 71 percent of his throws.

Rushing defense: D

San Francisco got off to another sluggish start on its first series, which also happened during road games in Los Angeles and Washington. The 49ers allowed new Cardinals back Kenyan Drake to rush for 41 yards on three carries, including his 4-yard score. Drake finished with 110 yards on 15 carries, becoming the second running back in as many weeks to break the 100-yard mark against the 49ers’ stout defense. Kingsbury’s uptempo attack made it tough on the 49ers on the short week. The Cardinals finished with 153 yards on the ground.

Special teams: B

The Cardinals had a long punt return in the second half get called back by a block-in-the-back penalty. Mitch Wishnowsky punted five times and allowed just 9 return yards. Robbie Gould didn’t have a field goal attempt as the 49ers went 2-for-2 in the red zone.

Coaching: B

The 49ers put together a strong game plan for the NFL’s 29th-ranked passing defense. Kyle Shanahan has integrated Sanders quickly as he finished with a team-high seven catches for 112 yards. It was the first time a San Francisco receiver eclipsed the 100-yard mark this season. The defense had its hands full against the Cardinals offense, but it will appreciate the long break before the next game Nov. 11 against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football.

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