49ers report card: Grading offense, defense in 37-20 win vs. Commanders

SANTA CLARA — Kyle Shanahan admitted he was frustrated that the 49ers were tied at halftime with the Washington Commanders on Saturday.

But the 49ers scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to begin to take control of a 37-20 victory at Levi’s Stadium.

The Commanders stayed around until the fourth quarter when the 49ers settled for three short Robbie Gould field goals.

“It should have been a lot worse than it was,” Shanahan said.

Still, the 49ers, the NFC’s No. 3 seed, made more than enough plays necessary for the decisive win over a team that is currently the No. 7 and final seed in the NFC playoffs. The Commanders (7-7-1) are a half-game ahead of Seattle and Detroit.

Here is a look at the 49ers’ report card from their Week 16 game:

Rushing offense

The 49ers were up against one of the top defensive lines in the NFL, and the Commanders were determined not to allow the 49ers to control this game on the ground.

Christian McCaffrey and Ty Davis-Price did not have much room to run against Washington’s stacked box, although the 49ers cracked through when wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud took a handoff on an orbit motion and picked up blocks from Mike McGlinchey, McCaffrey, Jauan Jennings and Willie Snead to turn the corner and race away for a 71-yard touchdown run.

McCaffrey finished with 46 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while Davis-Price had 30 yards on nine attempts. McCloud’s touchdown run was his only carry of the day.

Grade: B

Passing offense

Brock Purdy continued to keep the 49ers rolling on Saturday with another strong showing. The rookie completed 15 of 22 pass attempts for 234 yards with two touchdown passes while throwing one interception and finishing with a passer rating of 114.6.

Purdy twice hooked up with tight end George Kittle on touchdown plays. The first one was a ball down the middle intended for McCloud, but Kittle changed his route to make the grab for a 34-yard touchdown in front of McCloud.

Later in the third quarter, Kittle turned a short Purdy pass into a 33-yard touchdown on the 49ers’ next drive.

Purdy threw an interception that was not his fault, as Jennings bobbled an on-target pass, allowing safety Darrick Forrest to make the interception.

Purdy converted a fourth-and-3 play late in the game with a throw to Kittle in a tight window.

Kittle had six receptions for 120 yards, while Brandon Aiyuk added 81 yards on five catches.

Grade: A

Rushing defense

The Commanders are a running team, but they could not find anywhere to go against the 49ers’ stout front seven.

That did not stop Washingon from trying, however, as they gained just 79 yards on 33 rushing attempts for a measly 2.4-yard average. The Commanders’ leading rusher, Brian Robinson, managed just 58 yards on 22 attempts.

Pro Bowl linebacker Fred Warner came through with 13 tackles, including tackles to stop two fourth-down attempts.

Grade: A

Passing defense

Defensive end Nick Bosa registered two sacks, setting a new career high with 17.5 to go along with four quarterback hurries, while also tallying another non-recorded sack to stop a two-point conversion attempt in the fourth quarter.

Jimmie Ward had a fourth quarter interception

The Commanders had some success in the passing game, however. Taylor Heinicke completed 13 of 18 for 166 yards with two touchdowns, while Carson Wentz was 12 of 16 for 123 yards and a touchdown.

Washington’s two quarterbacks had a combined passer rating of 115.9.

Grade: B-minus

Special teams

Robbie Gould was perfect on his three fourth-quarter field-goal attempts, but the highlight of this phase of the game was the 49ers’ coverage units.

San Francisco’s kick coverage unit was particularly strong, with George Odum having an incredible day with four tackles.

Washington had a 15.5 average on six kickoff returns.

Grade: A


Shanahan was a bit more aggressive from the outset, going for it on a fourth-and-1 play in the first quarter, although the 49ers’ option attempt with Kyle Juszczyk at the point failed.

Late in the fourth quarter, Shanahan went for it on a fourth-and-3, and Purdy delivered with a completion to Kittle.

The 49ers pushed the right buttons offensively, including the run play to McCloud that broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter.

RELATED: How Shanahan hilariously used Deebo to fire up McCloud’s TD

The 49ers’ offense showed more vulnerability than it has in a while against an offense that’s not known for being prolific.

Grade: A


The Commanders have a playoff caliber defense, and the 49ers came through with a well-rounded game.

Players stepped up on offense, defense and special teams en route to San Francisco’s eighth consecutive win.

Grade: A-minus

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