The San Francisco 49ers shutout the New Orleans Saints, 13-0, to start a three-game home stand. Here are the 49ers’ grades in the win against the Saints. The 49ers’ grades are broken down by offense, defense, special teams, and overall team grade.
49ers Grades: Offense
The 49ers offense got a rocky start against a solid Saints defense. They were only able to score 10 points before halftime, a field goal, and a great touchdown catch by Juan Jennings in the back end of the end zone after Jimmy Garoppolo’s pass was nearly intercepted, but the offense was only able to score 13 points total. There have been a lot of concerns for the 49ers’ offense, but one stands out above the rest: red zone offense.
The 49ers’ offense continues to have red-zone issues. Out of three trips in the red zone, the offense could only score a touchdown on one of their three trips in the red zone. If the 49ers want to make it easier on their defense, they need to score touchdowns in the red zone and not settle for field goals. An offense that is deemed to be dynamic with many playmakers should be able to score more than 13 points in a game.
If they want a chance against the Miami Dolphins next week, the 49ers’ offense needs to be more productive in the red zone and score touchdowns. The 49ers’ grades for the offense are probably their lowest of the season, with only scoring 13 points. As a result, the 49ers’ offense gets a C- for the Saints’ game. If the 49ers grades want to improve from a C- then they must score more than 13 points and score more than one touchdown.
49ers Grades: Defense
The 49ers’ defense was spectacular today against an explosive Saints offense. They shutout the Saints’ offense in every which way with multiple goal-line stands. They were able to force star running back Alvin Kamara to fumble twice in one game, which he has never done in his entire career. The Karma fumble in the first drive set the tone of the game.
The 49ers’ defense was spectacular. They held New Orleans to 260 total yards, forced two critical fumbles, and made the Saints look mediocre on third down, only allowing four out of eleven chances on third down attempts. Per NFL on CBS, the 49ers’ defense has been so good they are first in many key categories, points per game, yards per game, rushing yards per game, and passing touchdowns allowed.
All those stats for the 49ers’ defense are impressive, but that’s not the best stat that defines how historically great the defense for San Francisco has been this year. Per Fox Sports: NFL, The 49ers’ defense this year has been historically dominant. In the second half of their games, has shut out opponents in four strides games. In addition, they have been so dominant that they haven’t allowed a point in the second half since November.
The 49ers’ defense showed the rest of the NFL why they are elite and one of the best defenses in the league. The 49ers’ grades for defense are at an all-time high this season. The 49ers’ defense gets an “A++” for the shutout of the Saints’ offense.
49ers Grades: Special Teams
The 49ers’ special teams did not make any critical errors like they had done in weeks prior. There were no extended kickoff returns, turnovers, or game-changing penalties. They did have one penalty, an illegal touching penalty, that put the Saints’ offense in the red zone. But like a superhero, the 49ers’ defense saved the day for the 49ers’ special teams unit. Overall the 49ers’ grades for the special teams unit were average. The 49ers’ special teams, we’re ordinary, and that’s why they get a grade of a “C” and nothing more.
49ers Grades: Overall
The 49ers squeezed out a win against a good Saints team, despite their record being below .500. It was not a pretty win for the 49ers, and the 49ers grades will show it, but it was a win nonetheless. There are no style points in the NFL. Each win counts the same, whether it’s a twenty-point blowout or a walk-off field goal, but the main thing anyone cares about in professional sports is not how you win. It’s if you won.
With all the adversity and disadvantages of a short week coming from high altitude, with multiple players sustaining injuries, the 49ers came away from their game against the Saints with a hard-fought win. They did not play their best, only scoring one touchdown in the red zone and settling for field goals, but the 49ers grades showed that they played well enough to win.
The 49ers showed grit, determination, and poise in the face of adversity with multiple goal-line stands and key turnovers that sealed the win against a Saints team with many weapons. Winning is all that matters in the NFL, so the 49ers’ grades overall for the team are solid. However, the 49ers’ grade for this game is a B. They only scored 13 points on offense, but their defense stepped up and solidified the win for San Francisco. That is why the 49ers grades for the win against the Saints is a B.
The 49ers will have to get healthy, watch the film, and figure out how to score more than 13 points next game because the AFC East-leading Miami Dolphins come to Levi’s Stadium for a battle between two first-place teams. Because if the 49ers’ offense only scores 13 points next week, they will be in trouble against a high-powered Miami Dolphins offense led by Tua Tagovalioa, Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and former 49ers running back Raheem Mostert.
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