San Francisco 49ers

Report card: 49ers limping toward finish line

Cincinnati outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) returns an intercepted pass intended for 49ers tight end Vance McDonald (89) in the second quarter during a game at Levi's Stadium on Sunday, December 20, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif.
Cincinnati outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) returns an intercepted pass intended for 49ers tight end Vance McDonald (89) in the second quarter during a game at Levi's Stadium on Sunday, December 20, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. pkitagaki@sacbee.com

Offense: Blaine Gabbert finished the game with a dreary 58.3 passer rating. But tight end Vance McDonald largely was to blame for that sad stat. His two first-half bobbles led to interceptions and underscored his biggest shortcoming since being drafted in the second round in 2013: He is a timid pass catcher in traffic. Grade: D

Defense: The 49ers gave up 21 points in the first half, but each of the three touchdowns came after the Bengals took possession deep in 49ers territory. Otherwise, the unit played the way it usually does at home – with good energy and hustle. Jimmie Ward had perhaps his best game in two seasons. Grade: B

Special teams: Bradley Pinion had been a bright spot on special teams recently, but he was inconsistent at best Sunday, including an 18-yard shank in the second quarter that led to a Cincinnati touchdown. Meanwhile, Phil Dawson missed his second field-goal attempt of the season. Both were blocked. Grade: D+

Overall: The 49ers continued their pattern of taking one step forward (win over the Bears) and two steps back (losses to Browns and Bengals). It won’t take much for Jim Tomsula to save his job, but it will require more in the final two games than the 49ers have shown in their last two outings. Grade: D+

Matt Barrows

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