▪ Offense: Perhaps as a tribute to Frank Gore, the 49ers go with a run-heavy game plan. It works wonderfully as the team runs for 355 yards. Which leads to the obvious question: Where has this been all season? Grade: B
▪ Defense: The 49ers start just three players who were on the field in last year’s NFC Championship Game. The replacements deliver early in holding Philip Rivers to 83 passing yards at halftime. But they fade late as Rivers finishes with 356. Grade: C-
▪ Special teams: Bruce Ellington has a big day on offense and was strong on special teams. He returns a kickoff 31 yards and a punt 23 yards, and Perrish Cox has a 57-yard kickoff return late. Grade: B+
▪ Overall: A 49ers team burdened by rumors and distractions all season plays as if it has nothing to lose early. But attrition, mistakes and bad luck take their toll late.
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