In week 15, the San Francisco 49ers suffered yet another loss as they were taken down 10-9 by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The 49ers, currently at 2-12, should take solace in the great play of their running back as well as their defense. Having a chance to win in the fourth quarter against a now 10-4, playoff-bound Jags team is quite an accomplishment for a 'Niners team that will end up with the first or second pick in April's draft. Anyway, let's get to my grades for the 49ers...Offense:Quarterback... D-. Rookie Alex Smith played poorly but sadly, it was the 2010 pro bowl Vikings 4 Brett Favre jersey
best start that the youngster has had all season. He completed just 8/24 passes for 123 yards and a crushing interception in the waning minutes of the game. Smith, the top pick in the 2005 draft, has worried the 49ers' organization with 10 interceptions and no touchdown passes in his first five NFL starts.Running game... C. Rookie running back Frank Gore came to the forefront and starred for the 49ers as he rushed for 79 yards on 19 carries. Other than Gore's effort, Alex Smith rushed for 30 yards but none of the other runners contributed. Gore added 57 yards receiving to add to his solid day on the ground.Wide Receivers/Tight Ends... D. Brandon Lloyd, the team's top receiver, was shut down as he caught only one pass for 6 yards. Jason McAddley had a team high 38 receiving yards, and veteran Johnnie Morton added 28. The only tight end to make a catch was Terry Jones and it went for negative yardage. It's hard to blame the receivers when the guy throwing the ball to them has very limited accuracy at the moment.Offensive Line... B-. The line surrendered only two sacks to a solid Jaguars defense and managed to get a decent push when it came to run blocking. Smith had some situations where he was pressured but it wasn't anything too daunting for the young quarterback. It was probably one of the finest games of 2005 for the struggling 49ers' offensive line.Overall Offensive grade... D. The running game and offensive line were the highlights for the offense but the quarterback and receivers simply didn't get it done. There is just no semblance of a passing game in San Francisco right now. Luckily for the organization things probably can't get any worse. 9 points just isn't going to win you many (if any) football games. Defense:Defensive Line... D. They generated only one sack and got very limited pressure on Jags quarterback David Garrard. The line also was instrumental in the defense allowing 134 yards rushing for the Jags. San Fran simply doesn't have much talent on their defensive line and it continues to manifest itself every week.Linebackers... B-. The unit accumulated one sack and didn't allow the Jags' tight ends to make any difference in the passing game. It's hard to criticize the linebacking corps for the team's loss.Secondary... B. David Garrard attempted 40 throws and managed to complete just 21 for 216 yards and no scores. Undoubtedly, the defensive backs for the 49ers had almost everything to do with that. Despite the fact that the defensive line was getting no pressure on Garrard, the secondary hung tough and played it close to the vest against the Jags' receivers. Surprisingly, it was their inability to stop Jags receiver Reggie Williams that really came back to bite the 49ers. Williams pulled in four catches for 65 yards. The Jags' top receiver, Jimmy Smith, was contained somewhat as he finished the day with 70 receiving yards.Overall Defensive grade... B-. The 36 Bettis White Jersey
unit didn't force any turnovers or generate much pressure on Garrard but holding a team to 10 points has to count for something in today's NFL. The fact that the offense didn't show up shouldn't be blamed on the gutsy 49ers' defense that did everything they could to win the ballgame. It's certainly an unfortunate outcome for a defense that played well overall.There you have it, the grades for the 49ers. It was a tough loss to swallow on Sunday but many lessons could be taken away from this loss. It can serve as yet another step in the development of a young, gritty 49ers team.