SF-CLE Grades: Barnidge, Crowell propel Browns' offense
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from the Browns’ 24-10 win over the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers
– QB Blaine Gabbert (-0.9) had a tough go of things, finishing with a below average passing grade for the third straight week. His numbers weren’t awful, but they didn’t tell the whole story. He struggled mightily under pressure, completing just 3-of-7 passes for 46 yards, but it was the nine sacks that he took that really did it for him, as not all of them were solely the offensive line’s fault. He didn’t throw it away once, instead trying to extend and make plays and failing at that. He completed just one pass over 10 yards that was outside of the numbers on five attempts, and it was for 14 yards in garbage time.
– It was a good game for a couple of 49ers’ defensive linemen, as NT Ian Williams (+5.1) finished with a game-high grade, thanks in part to a strong run defense grade. Williams was everywhere against the run, making four solo stops, and disrupting even more plays. He finished with a +4.7 run defense grade. DE Arik Armstead (+2.8) continued his strong play this season, finishing with a sack, four QB hurries, and the second-highest run defense grade on the defense. Armstead plays limited snaps, but his 15.1 pass rushing productivity is the highest among all 3-4 DE’s in the league.
– It was a mixed bag for the 49ers’ offensive line. LT Joe Staley (+4.8) was the good, allowing just two QB hurries all game and also finishing with a +3.0 run blocking grade. But, C Marcus Martin (-2.7) and RT Erik Pears (-3.3) were the two linemen that struggled the most. Together they combined to allow two sacks, a hit, and five hurries. As a unit, the 49ers allowed seven sacks (two of the nine were unblocked or clean-up sacks), two hits, and 10 hurries. It was not a good day for these guys trying to protect their quarterback.
NT Ian Williams (+5.1)
T Joe Staley (+4.8)
DE Arik Armstead (+2.8)
DE Cornellius Carradine (+2.6)
G Andrew Tiller (+2.2)
– It was a pretty good day for QB Johnny Manziel (+1.1) in his latest start, and his passing grade was his highest all season. Manziel was extremely effective throwing deep, minus one terrible, terrible decision to throw across his body and get picked off. But even with that throw, Manziel was six-of-nine for 145 yards and that interception. He was still very jumpy in the pocket, but did hang in there for a little longer and made some good throws. When the 49ers blitzed, Manziel was very good at recognizing it and checking down, finishing five-of-seven for 28 yards and a touchdown against the blitz, and just one sack taken. Aside from that one bad throw, he played a great game, and that could be good news for the Browns going forward.
– The Browns’ cornerback duo of Tramon Williams (+2.2) and Charles Gaines (+0.2) had a great coverage game. The two were targeted a combined 14 times, and allowed just seven catches for 91 yards and no touchdowns. Williams had two pass breakups, and Gaines had one. But the best part of what they did was the 16 yards after the catch that they allowed. A unit that’s been struggling with injuries and poor play at times this season really showed up to play yesterday.
– Two offensive players deserve mention here. TE Gary Barnidge (+3.3) played a great game, catching five passes on seven targets for 84 yards and touchdown. But, even better than that was his run blocking, where he finished with a +2.0 grade—the highest grade on the team. HB Isaiah Crowell (+2.5) also had a big game, finishing with 145 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns. His two 50+ yard runs were exciting to watch, but even on his other carries, he showed good work, as he finished the game with 99 yards after contact. He also forced two missed tackles on the day.
TE Gary Barnidge (+3.3)
DE Desmond Bryant (+3.2)
T Joe Thomas (+2.8)
HB Isaiah Crowell (+2.5)
CB Tramon Williams (+2.2)