What appeared to be an evenly matched game from the get-go quickly spiraled out of control, as quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his Niners were made an example of in front of a national audience.
Failure to execute on offense and defense, combined with a lackluster game plan drawn up by the San Francisco coaching staff, led to such a lashing. Not to mention the injuries, penalties and overall loss of momentum progressively killing this team over the course of 60 minutes.
Without further adieu, here are the official grades of the 49ers players in their Week 2 performance.
Warning: It’s not pretty. Proceed with caution.
Colin Kaepernick: C-
This grade is not completely reflective of the way the 49ers starting quarterback played on Sunday. There were a lot of elements that affected his performance, including the play-calling and a failure to establish the run. Nevertheless, when it was on Kap to make things happen on offense, the Niners stalled.
His decision-making as a dual-threat weapon seemed clouded—at times it seemed like he didn’t know whether to run or throw. Instead of waiting for things to open up or trust his underneath guys to make a play, Kap got mobile and started improvising. He also had a difficult time seeing the field and spreading the ball around.
Locking onto a single target and then bailing out if it is not there right away is not a recipe for success.
After going 13-of-28 for 127 yards, three interceptions, a fumble and no touchdowns, Kap finished with a career-low passer rating of 20.1.
Frank Gore: D
San Francisco’s rushing attack was totally shutdown versus Seattle, as offensive coordinator Greg Roman failed to get his three active running backs even 15 carries that night. Gore, the heart and soul of the 49ers offense, was limited to only nine touches himself, which went for 16 yards and no scores.
It is hard to give No. 21 such a low grade because he did what he could with what he had, but there’s nothing that warrants a higher letter here. The 49ers ground game was completely dismantled, and that has to fall on its featured back.
Kendall Hunter: N/A
Again, it is worth mentioning Greg Roman’s name here.
Hunter has been an absolute stud behind Gore, yet when it came time to involve a second back on game day, the next guy to get a carry after No. 21 was running back Anthony Dixon. Even though Hunter is back and healthy again, checking in as the primary sub for Gore, he was not a part of the game plan.
He finished with one carry for -7 yards.
Frank Gore thru 1st two games of the season: 30 carries, 60 yards. I think you can figure out YPC. #49ersTalk— CSN 49ers News (@CSN49ers) September 16, 2013
Vernon Davis: C+
The 49ers may be hurting at wide receiver but they are completely stacked at the tight end position, which is why this game should’ve gone differently. San Francisco should have been able to find favorable matchups with Davis and get him rolling against this secondary that excels at taking away the wideouts.
Instead, Davis could only muster 20 yards on three grabs.
Vance McDonald: D
It was a lackluster performance by the entire position group, including rookie tight end Vance McDonald, who the 49ers should be getting more out of at this point. He was a top pick of theirs in the 2013 draft and he has plugged in at the No. 2 spot behind Davis where Delanie Walker used to make his money.
McDonald only finished with one grab for 19 yards and failed to get involved beyond that. Later in the game, he let his emotions get the best of him and was called for a foolish personal foul, after getting into it with a Seahawk between plays.
Vernon Davis (hamstring) is out for the rest of the game. #SFvsSEA— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) September 16, 2013
Anquan Boldin: F
San Francisco’s highest paid wide receiver recorded zero grabs in the first three quarters of the game, having been completely shut out by cornerback Richard Sherman and this aggressive secondary unit. In a physical game like this, the 49ers really needed Boldin to assert himself, but it failed to happen.
Kap and Boldin could not connect when it mattered, which was one of the main contributing factors to this brutal road loss.
Kyle Williams: C-
49ers fourth-year wideout Kyle Williams was the team’s leading receiver on Sunday night, finishing with four catches for 39 yards (yeah, that’s not good). He flashed his speed and appeared to be on the verge of a big play, but it just never materialized. The hope was that, with Boldin being locked up, Williams had an opportunity to be one of the game’s unsung heroes.
He failed to take advantage here.
Quinton Patton: N/A
Poor Quinton Patton is playing his heart out and getting open, but the 49ers haven’t been able to fully integrate him into the offensive game plan. He saw significantly more reps this week than he did versus Green Bay in Week 1, but unfortunately, nothing came of it as Patton went home empty-handed.
His one catch, which went for a first down, was erased by a penalty. Then in a critical red-zone situation, Kap failed to see him sitting wide open in the end zone. Patton does not deserve a bad letter grade here—he was almost the only bright spot the 49ers had on offense.
Joe Staley: B
49ers left tackle Joe Staley did not have a bad game. The fact that his name was not called in a brutal whooping like this one is a relatively good sign. He held his own, but Kap’s improvisation put the O-line in a bad spot a few times.
He also refrained from any altercations with the Seahawks, which cannot be said for all of his teammates.
Mike Iupati: C+
Mike Iupati is a guy the 49ers really depend on to get the ground game going, so its failure to do so somewhat lies on his shoulders. Whether the 49ers are trying to run it up the gut or break one outside, Iupati is usually the guy to lead the way. Overall, the run game was stagnant, which does not reflect well on his performance.
Jonathan Goodwin: C
The 49ers got beat up in the middle, and at the nucleus of it all was center Jonathan Goodwin. Granted, he had a tough time communicating in the hostile Seattle environment, but his play after the snap could have been better.
San Francisco’s inadequacy running and passing somewhat falls on his shoulders.
Alex Boone: C+
Not a bad performance by Boone, but not a good one either.
Heading into this game, it seemed like he was ready to hammer this Seahawks front, but instead he was the one who got his head kicked in. Again, when the 49ers are cruising on the ground, it’s typically because of his exceptional play in the trenches, but that was not apparent on Sunday night.
Boone also takes partial responsibility for the beating the running backs took.
Anthony Davis: C-
This is a Pro-Bowl caliber right tackle, but in Week 2, Davis played like an under-prepared and immature D-II college lineman. He got beat off the edge and allowed the Seahawks defensive players to get in his head. Davis was victimized physically and mentally, and it cost the 49ers dearly.
Had he channeled that rage into sound football during the time of play, this might’ve been a different ball game.
Justin Smith: C+
Justin Smith is a player the 49ers were expecting more from.
Seeing as how they did not have him in last year’s beat down at CenturyLink Field, it seemed as if he might be the difference maker this time around. Unfortunately, San Francisco still got schooled in the trenches, most notably in the run game.
Without question, Smith is the tempo-setter up front. And though he freed up outside linebacker Aldon Smith on a sack, his overall inability to get this D-line to put the clamps down and contain Marshawn Lynch and Co. outweighs anything else he did on the night.
Ian Williams: N/A
49ers nose tackle Ian Williams was not having the worst night, but it did not take very long for a cut block by the Seattle O-line to remove him from the game with a severe ankle injury.
Glenn Dorsey: B-
Dorsey, who was the backup to Williams, was thrust into the lineup and performed fairly well considering the circumstances. By the time he checked in, the momentum was clearly leaning in favor of Seattle. However, he managed to make his presence felt, even coming away with a sack on the night.
He will be a player to watch, as he should be even more of role player now with Ian Williams out for an extended period of time.
Ray McDonald: C
Another star defensive lineman for San Francisco failed to leave his mark on this game.
McDonald was not a huge factor and, like Justin Smith, deserves some blame for the defenses inability to stop the run. They are the two clogging defensive linemen that are supposed to set it up for the linebackers to come downhill and make plays. That clearly did not happen, which hurt the Niners.
Aldon Smith: B-
Talent but no discipline—this is what we saw from 49ers All-Pro linebacker Aldon Smith.
There were times when he looked to be affecting this game in a positive way for San Francisco, taking it to Russell Wilson twice. He even looked stout against the run at times, but eventually he was exposed. His over-aggressiveness caused the Seahawks to make adjustments and attack his side of the field.
Foolish penalties also hurt his grade here.
Ahmad Brooks: B
Brooks is one of the unheralded players on San Francisco’s defense. On Sunday, his name was not called for any of the wrong reasons. He did a fair job setting the edge, getting after the tailback and pressuring Russell Wilson.
However, the unit’s inability to stuff the run prevents him from having a higher letter grade.
Patrick Willis: B-
Patrick Willis will never earn a failing grade because he does things the right way and plays his heart out. That being said, he was pretty close to getting a below-average grade in this game because Marshawn Lynch ran amok on his defense. His mere four tackles and four assists were also not reflective of his omnipresence.
The 49ers got schooled on the ground, and Willis couldn’t prevent it.
NaVorro Bowman: B-
San Francisco has two of the best linebackers in the league but simply could not get the job done. Not to beat a dead horse, but stopping the run was the single most important thing they could have done, and they failed to execute. Bowman, along with Willis, has seen much better days.
Tarell Brown: B
San Francisco’s No. 1 cornerback did not have the worst game his career, but he was part of a unit that drastically underperformed. Brown did what he could, but with the multi-WR sets by Seattle, he couldn’t cover everyone. There were other weak links on the back end of the defense that led to this rout.
Carlos Rogers: C
The play from Carlos Rogers has not been all that great going back to last season.
After his Pro Bowl year in 2011 when he finished with six interceptions, his play took a serious dip. It was apparent again in this past week’s game versus Seattle, as Russell Wilson led his team past this defense, outsmarting the cornerbacks and taking the shots when they were made available.
Rogers could’ve played a cleaner game.
Nnamdi Asomugha: D
Perhaps the worst cornerback on San Francisco’s roster right now is free-agent addition Nnamdi Asomugha.
There were several plays where he got beat like he stole something. Had wide receiver Sidney Rice not dropped a red-zone strike from his quarterback, it would’ve been the second touchdown pass Asomugha allowed in as many weeks.
It is not looking good for the former All-Pro corner.
Perrish Cox: C+
As unfair as it may be, Perrish Cox is going to get looped into a group that failed to put together a solid collective effort. As San Francisco’s fourth corner, his responsibility, and thus his mistakes, weren’t as prevalent as the other defensive backs. We do know there were no blown coverages, though.
He even put forth an effort at trying his hand on special teams.
That being said, Cox might be replacing Nnamdi Asomugha as the third corner sooner rather than later.
Eric Reid: B+
49ers free safety Eric Reid was one of the team’s shining stars, making hard hits, helping in run support, providing solid coverage and even coming up with his second career interception in as many weeks.
Needless to say, it has been an impressive debut from Reid so far.
Unfortunately, the rookie had to leave the game with concussion symptoms after colliding with wideout Sidney Rice. His removal from Sunday night’s matchup certainly hurt San Francisco’s chances of coming away with a win.
Donte Whitner: C
Whitner started off the game fairly solid, but as it progressed, things got messier on the back end and he could not do enough to make up for the absence of Eric Reid. By nature, Whitner is not a cover guy. He is a tone-setting thumper that likes to come downhill and lay the wood.
This was not his finest hour.
49ers Eric Reid intercepts the ball. My God - that kid has been impressive in two games. #SFvsSEA— Michelle Beisner (@MichelleBeisner) September 16, 2013
Andy Lee: A
When does Andy Lee not get an A grade?
Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is, punting won’t win football games when the other two phases of the game—offense and defense—are failing to live up to their billing. Lee’s efforts, while admirable, were useless.
Phil Dawson: A
Well, Phil Dawson was 100 percent from the field on Sunday night, even if he only did have one attempt from 21 yards out. It was the nature of the game, and the All-Pro placekicker did what he was asked. He also had some booming kickoffs that prevented any possible returns by Seattle.
Coverage Unit/Return Team: B-
The special teams unit has certainly had worse games.
As returners, Perrish Cox and Kyle Williams stepped up to the plate, while players like C.J. Spillman made their presence felt on the coverage unit. There were no big impact returns or hits, but it would’ve been enough to win if the 49ers had shown up in other areas.