LA-SF grades: 49ers’ cornerbacks lead the way in shutout

Highest-graded players and top takeaways from the 49ers' Week 1 shutout win over the Rams.

| 10 months ago
49ers CB Jimmie Ward

(Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

LA-SF grades: 49ers’ cornerbacks lead the way in shutout

San Francisco 49ers 28, Los Angeles Rams 0

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from the San Francisco 49ers’ 28-0 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night.

San Francisco 49ers

Quarterback grade: Blaine Gabbert, 48.1 

Blaine Gabbert leaves too much on the field 

Gabbert struggled with his accuracy at times, as he was off target on more than one easy short throw. He did pick up some yards with his legs (84.2 run grade), which will make the 49ers’ run game more effective going forward.

Top offensive grades:

LT Joe Staley, 83.7

TE Garrett Celek, 74.6 

WR Jeremy Kerley, 74.5

TE Vance McDonald, 70.3 

RB Shaun Draughn, 65.1

Joe Staley earns third-highest grade among NFL OTs in Week 1

The 49ers’ offense wasn’t highly effective Monday night, even though they managed to score 28 points against the Rams. The big plays and consistent execution were missing, and they will need to generate more plays to beat teams better than Los Angeles. The play of Joe Staley and recent addition Jeremy Kerley were the biggest bright spots for the 49ers’ offense. Staley didn’t allow a single pressure on 44 pass-block snaps, and Kerley caught 7 of 11 targets.

Top defensive grades:

CB Tramaine Brock, 91.7

CB Jimmie Ward, 87.1

 S Eric Reid, 86.6

LB NaVorro Bowman, 85.9

DI Quinton Dial, 82.6

49ers’ cornerbacks lead the way in shutout

This was a poor display of offensive football from both teams, but the 49ers never really allowed the Rams’ offense to do anything. San Francisco’s defenders on all three levels graded very well against L.A., but expectations of similar performances will have to be tempered, as the Rams have one of the league’s worst offenses. Tramaine Brock was the 49ers’ highest-graded defensive player; he was targeted eight times in coverage and yielded three catches for only 16 yards, and Case Keenum’s QB rating when throwing into Brock’s coverage was just 45.8.

Los Angeles Rams

Quarterback grade: Case Keenum, 43.4

Case Keenum underwhelms in season debut

Case Keenum spent most of the game Monday night staring at a tablet screen, wondering what went wrong. He only completed 3 of 10 passes that were targeted 10 yards or more downfield. Keenum’s QB rating when blitzed by the 49ers was 4.9.

Case Keenum under pressure

Top offensive grades:

RB Todd Gurley, 74.4 

WR Kenny Britt, 73.7 

LG Rodger Saffold, 71.7

RG Jamon Brown, 49.8

WR Brian Quick, 49.5 

Solid debut for Todd Gurley, but no support from Rams around him

The Rams’ offensive line failed to generate much push in the run game, and allowed 19 pressures on Keenum. L.A. dropped six passes against the San Francisco. Running Back Todd Gurley forced seven missed tackles on his 17 rushing attempts, but other players are going to need to step up for the Rams’ offense, or this is going to be a long and ugly season for the team.

Top defensive grades:  

DT Aaron Donald, 93.3

S T.J. McDonald, 86.8

DT Michael Brockers, 83.1

S Maurice Alexander, 81.9 

LB Alec Ogletree, 78.5

DT Aaron Donald continues his disruptive ways

Aaron Donald was our top player in the league last season, and looks to once again be playing at a ridiculously high-level, as he was dominant before his ejection. Donald earned a 94.0 pass-rush grade and a 84.8 run-defense grade against the 49ers as he continued to get into the backfield so quickly that plays were almost instantly doomed.

PFF Game Ball Winner: 49ers CB Tramaine Brock

Get access to grades for every player, complete with positional rankings, in our Player Grades tool.

  • crosseyedlemon

    If the Rams are going to be this bad they probably should have just stayed in St. Louis. It’s pretty hard to look more inept than the Lakers but on this night they did.

  • Walt Atencio

    BS grade for Gabbert. Stupid to grade him only 3 points ahead of LA QB with no INT’s. Again, should expect this kind of article from PTF

    • Michael Burry

      Did you watch the game? Gabbert was lucky to escape that game with less than 3 picks.

    • Erich Borjas

      I’m a huge niner fan and i will say this. Gabbert played like Gabbage. If it wasnt for the solid D or the Rams lame offense .. This game wouldve been closer. Horrendous short passes at the feet of the players .. As there were some drops, there were more bad throws where the WR bailed him out.

      Even on the TD throw to McDonald there was a wide open RB in the middle for an easier TD. He was locking in his first 2 reads a lot just like Kaep.

      • Walt Atencio

        This ain’t horseshoes or grenades. Close doesn’t matter. He did have a couple passes off target but got it there. I agree with Steve Young that he played well and will get better.

        • Jaguars28

          I assure he will not get better

          • Walt Atencio

            He already has. Don’t hate, Jaguar fan because he didn’t do good with your bad team at the time and now he is. DONT HATE!!!

          • Jaguars28

            Yes, he’s so good he averaged 4.9 YPA. Clearly it was the Jaguars. I mean Bortles averaged what, 8.2 YPA this week?

          • Walt Atencio

            Seriously! You on crack? Different teams idiot. You did not have on OL when Gabbert was there. Actually your team sucked bad. Stop hating cause he is going better now. 1-0 baby!!!

          • Jaguars28

            4.9 yards per attempt baby!

          • Walt Atencio

            28-0!!! 1-0 baby!!!

          • Jaguars28

            Okay, congrats. I’m just here to tell you Gabbert is bad.

          • The Voice Of Reason

            Walt, buddy… The Niners just played the worst team in the NFL. You’re making us Niner fans look bad.

          • Walt Atencio

            Just plain stupid. We came in as major underdogs. They weren’t the worse team going into the game. Considered best front seven along with a beast RB. We shut them out and you use that excuse. And you call yourself a Niner fan. Where is the excitement for your team. Pure negativity. Who needs fans like you.

          • The Voice Of Reason

            Realism vs Optimism… I’ll be just as hyped as you if they do well against Carolina, but currently I would consider them unproven.

          • Walt Atencio

            Realism is we won by shutout. Your not gonna give your team supposedly any credit unless we beat Super Bowl runner up. How can you enjoy it? If we lose then what? We suck and our season is over? What’s the fun in that?

          • Humperdink Stiffwood III

            Walt is the same guy who thinks Trent Dilfer should be in the Hall of Fame because he won a Super Bowl. Don’t pay him any mind.

          • Orb Ust

            He already is better. The problem was the jaguars not blaine. Sorry to hear your team lost……. again.

          • Tim Edell

            Jaguars will win many more games this year than that crap from San Francisco

        • Humperdink Stiffwood III

          He didn’t play well. Stop it. Take off your Homer glasses and admit it. The only difference between Gabbert and Casum was that the 49ers held onto the ints thrown their way and the Rams didn’t. Period.

          • Walt Atencio

            4 TD drives, no interceptions, no sacks, TD throw, and a victory is the difference FOOL!!!! This ain’t fantasy football!!! Haha!!!

          • Humperdink Stiffwood III

            Who said it was idiot? He. Didn’t. Play. Well. Period. Get that through your Homer head.

      • Walt Atencio

        Listen to Steve Yoyng. They played well in all 3 phases. Not one person won the game. Good defense, awesome OL and good QB play. pinion did well as also. Sure some passes were off but he had slot more good than bad plays.

        • Humperdink Stiffwood III

          Haha! He didn’t play well at all. Period. He was serviceable at best. As the graders pointed out he left too many plays on the field and he threw the ball into danger on numerous occasions. If you honestly think we’re going to beat the Seattles, Arizonas, or Carolinas of this league with what Gabbert showed last nice I also have some magical cancer curing beans I think you might be interested in.

          • Walt Atencio

            share them beans fool!!! Cause you don’t know shit about football. 28-0 says it all. If he didn’t play good and still scored 4 TD drives. Check yourself before you wreck yourself!!!

          • Humperdink Stiffwood III

            Lol! Your murder of the English language aside you’re the same clown who will argue Trent Dilfer is a great qb because he won a Super Bowl. You can throw 4 picks in a game and still win a game moron. We’re not talking about who won, we’re talking about how Gabbert played which wasn’t well. Get over it.

          • Walt Atencio

            Now your pulling shit out of your ass. We are talking about Gabbert playing good!!!!

          • Humperdink Stiffwood III

            And he didn’t. What is so hard to understand about this?

          • Walt Atencio

            Nice compliment!!!! As I said before, if we can score 4 TD drives and call it not playing well than the best is yet to come. Go Gabbert NINERS!!!

      • Orb Ust

        I wouldn’t say he played exceptional… but if you call 63 percent completion rate, 1 TD, ZERO interceptions, ZERO sacks, and 9 rushes for 43 yards “garbage” you don’t have a clue what you are talking about. Sit down.

        • Humperdink Stiffwood III

          Easy to complete 63% of your passes when you’re only throwing 3 yards past the line of scrimmage. He threw into danger three separate times. Watch the game again. He looked serviceable. Nothing more, nothing less. Against the Rams. Let’s talk again next week after the Carolina game.

        • Erich Borjas

          sit down? why dont you go watch the game again and if you anything about football you’ll see the glaring issues with this guy. he threw over 30 passes for 170 yards.. thats like 4 yards per pass. are you kidding me!? how about all the bad passes like the 4 and 1 or the wide open kerley that wouldve been a TD. had we had a better QB play we wouldved scored like 40 points.. how about you sit down and re-watch the game. SMH.

        • johnforamerica

          Here’s a tip if you want to be taken seriously – don’t use QBR.

      • Christopher Stadel

        Gabbert showed poise in the pocket and was very efficient (63% completion rate) as he got rid of the ball without taking any sacks or turning the ball over. He also ran when he needed to (9 carries for 43 yards). Remember that Kerley just got to the team a little more than a week ago and needs a bit more time to build chemistry with his receivers. Also I saw Celek drop two very catchable passes. Hyde and Smith also dropped a pass in the first quarter.

      • MosesZD

        lol. No. Gabbert was going through his progressions. Kaepernick is, basically, incapable of going through his progressions because he’s not a real QB. Kaepernick has been, for entire career, one-read-and-done on about 95% of his pass plays.

    • Battle Mage

      I was clamoring for Kaepernick midway through the game. Gabbert played awfully from the pocket. The only thing of value he did was scramble for first downs and make about three key passes.

  • Josh Stewart

    So the Rams offensive line couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag and the WRs can’t catch a cold. Hm, let’s not draft lineman or wide outs early. Better trade away all of our picks for a 3rd string QB that isn’t going to be able to do ANYTHING with this team. Peyton Manning in his prime couldn’t make this offense good. The line can’t block long enough for WRs to get open, and the WRs can’t win early enough. You don’t build a winning team by trading all of your picks for 1 player when you have this many holes. It’s just stupid. And that’s not to mention the defense. Olgetree was smaller for an OLB. He played awesome there. So uou put him inside. He gets pushed around and is out of position. You let the safety and DB walk without replacing them with anyone. You get rid of your two veteran leaders on defense.

    Geeze. This team is the Cleveland Browns of the NFC.

    • Erich Borjas

      Rams have no top picks for the next 2 years lol

    • johnforamerica

      We DO draft lineman and wideouts early – GRob and Tavon!

      Oh… damnit.

  • Vitor

    It can be Mars Rams or whatever you want. If Fisher coaches, it will suck

  • James

    Curious why Hyde didn’t make the top scores on offense but Draughn did? What did Draughn do better than Hyde in any aspect of the game? MAYBE blitz pickup?

    • Cheyne Johnson

      Draughn also had a costly fumble

  • Orb Ust

    “Solid debut for Todd Gurley” He rushed for 47 yards and a 2.8 average. Solid? He got shut down.

    • Eric

      Don’t forget that 1 reception that he had for -5 yards. He also picked up a 15 yard penalty for taunting when the Rams had driven inside the 49ers 30 yard line.
      In fairness, he did get essentially all of his yards after contact, but that was certainly an odd statement for PFF to make without offering any supporting evidence.

  • Eric

    Did anyone else see Aaron Donald as “dominant” in this game? I went out of my way to specifically watch him on many plays, and I didn’t see a guy doing anything that would earn the term “dominant”. Three tackles, zero sacks, zero hurries, 42 yards of penalties(which led the league in week 1) and an ejection add up to the highest rated interior defender of the week? By 8 points?
    Please (anyone) tell me how he earned such a high grade.

    • Al

      Trenton Brown was dominant as well. They simply have someone evaluating 49ers games who has no clue what they are watching. Been that way for a while.

  • Raiders Dave

    Getting kicked out of the game didn’t hurt Donald’s grade?

  • MosesZD

    lol. You people just stick to the narrative regardless of the facts. Donald had three tackles and was so handled for most of the game that he blew up in frustration and did something stupid to get ejected.

    At what point does the ‘best DT in the NFL’ having a pedestrian, at best, game take a hit and get the hard-review he needs instead of a glad handle? Especially one whose pass-rush was pretty much neutralized, who got burned by over-running plays (one becoming a TD) while racking up a bunch of penalties and getting ejected. There was a reason Hyde averaged 6.5 yards/carry in the first half.

    Was it all ‘bad’ for Donald. No, the Rams did a great job in the third quarter. But that’s it. And for all that ‘plays being blown up and doomed,’ Gabbert frequently got to his second and third reads for most of the game, like that last pass to Celek, was a third read. A number of passes to Kerley were second and third reads. And he could do that because there was virtually no pressure on him with Donald getting all of ONE hurry for the game.

    Yet he gets a 93.3 grade. Really? The Rams defensive star was TJ McDonald who played a man’s game in a losing effort, not Aaron Donald who was pretty much handled all game.

    Meanwhile Hyde, whose nifty running carried the 49ers offense in the first half of the game is behind Shaun Draughn? Draughn averaged 2.6 YPC and had a fumble to go with his one TD. Hyde, over-all, averaged 3.8 and had 2 TDs. But just killed the Rams in the first half while Draughn really didn’t do anything all game.

  • crosseyedlemon

    Surprising to see over 40 comments for a game that involved two teams that combined for just 12 wins the prior season….but I guess that’s the effect prime time scheduling has.