49ers offense rating, defense in blocking saints

Santa Clara – Unlike the 49ers’ Week 11 win in which both sides of the ball made a contribution, this was all about defense.

The 49ers pitched an inning on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints in a 13-0 win at Levi’s Stadium, which had a very different feel to their victory a week earlier over the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.

There is still plenty of room for improvement in offense as the 49ers extended their winning streak with a fourth straight win to open a three-game home stretch.

“We’re in a good position,” said 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. “We just have to keep this thing going.”

Here’s a look at the team’s report card from their Week 12 win:

The crime of rushing

The Saints stacked the line of scrimmage and didn’t allow the 49ers to get anything on the ground. They made it tough for the 49ers, and it wasn’t until late in the game that the 49ers got anything going.

San Francisco managed to finish the final 6:18 of the game with eight rushing attempts in nine games. Undesignated rookie Jordan Mason finished the game with carries of 9, 4, 5 and 7 yards.

Christian McCaffrey didn’t have much room to run, gaining just 32 yards on 11 carries. Elijah Mitchell had 35 yards on seven attempts before leaving with a left knee injury.

The 49ers managed just 3.3 yards on 29 rushing attempts.

Class: C plus

pass offense

It wasn’t pretty, but the 49ers made enough passes in the passing game – and most of them came from Jauan Jennings, the team’s No. 3.

Jennings accounted for three converted third downs, and had a 5-yard touchdown run on a deflected pass in the back of the end zone.

Base linebacker Jimmy Garoppolo was solid, completing 26 of 37 pass attempts for 222 yards with 1 touchdown and no interceptions. He was sacked only once for -1 yard when he attempted a scramble for a touchdown on a fourth down play.

Class: B- incomplete

rush defense

The 49ers defense got things going early with Fred Warner’s forced fumble to Saints running back Alvin Kamara, which was recovered by Samson Ipokam. That takeaway set up a 49ers field goal in the first quarter.

Kamara, one of the best defensemen in the league, was held to 13 yards on seven rushing attempts.

What does that say about the team’s defense? “You say, ‘Mission accomplished,'” Nick Bossa, the 49ers’ defensive end, said.

The league’s best defense continued to excel on the field. Quarterback Andy Dalton led the Saints in rushing with 21 yards on four tackles, as the 49ers held the Saints to an average of just 2.9 yards on the ground.

Class: a

pass defense

The 49ers pushed the Saints out of the end zone, as the pass defense pulled out strong on key points.

After a short pass to Kamara, safety Talanoa Hovanga forced a fumble and it was recovered by Dre Greenlaw at their own 49-yard line.

A few minutes later, Warner put in a great display to break up a potential touchdown pass to tight end Juwan Johnson in the fourth quarter. Nick Bosa got a sack by Dalton on a late fourth play.

Dalton completed 18 of 29 pass attempts for 204 yards without a touchdown or an interception.

Class: a

special teams

Kicker Robbie Gould kicked field goals of 24 and 46 yards, along with an extra point, to account for more than half of the team’s points.

Punter Mitch Wishnowsky had a net average of 39.3 yards on four carries, including two touchdowns inside the 20-yard line.

Ray-Ray McCloud had 18 yards throwing.

Class: B

training

Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans continues to press all the right buttons for a 49ers defense that shut out the opposition in the second half of four straight games. This time, the 49ers didn’t just salvage their defensive dominance in the first half. They did it from start to finish.

The offense didn’t continue the momentum the side of the ball seemed to be building in its 38-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City.

Class: A- minus

Inclusive

The 49ers haven’t had any sustained success on offense. But it’s good for them because the defense once again carried this team to victory.

The 49ers captured first place in the NFC West with a 7-4 record, as the second-place Seattle Seahawks fell to 6-5 with a loss to the Las Vegas Raiders.

Class: A- minus

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