49ers report card: Offense beats blitzing Giants but Bosa-led defense excels, too

49ers report card: Offense beats blitzing Giants but Bosa-led defense excels, too

SANTA CLARA — Here is how the 49ers (3-0) graded in Thursday night’s home-opening 30-12 win over the New York Giants (1-2):


Brock Purdy faced the most blitz-happy defense of his NFL life (on 33-of-39 dropbacks), and he lived to talk about a 310-yard, two-touchdown, no-turnover victory. “There were some looks that were there. I was off or inaccurate, or things just didn’t happen right within our scheme,” Purdy said. “It was a little choppy at first. Once we got in a rhythm, we saw what they were doing.” Getting rid of the ball in an average of 2.34 seconds allowed Purdy to watch his playmakers rack up 215 yards after the catch. Nobody played bigger in Brandon Aiyuk’s absence than Deebo Samuel (six catches, 129 yards, 27-yard touchdown to cap the scoring). But big receptions also came from George Kittle (season-high 90 yards, seven catches), Christian McCaffrey (34 yards, five catches), Ronnie Bell (first career catch was a 9-yarder for the 49ers’ first touchdown), and Jauan Jennings (two third-down receptions). As for the blocking, Purdy got sacked just twice.


It was a 39-carry, 141-yard procession, keyed by none other than NFL-leading rusher Christian McCaffrey, who eclipsed the 5,000-yard milestone in his career. This night, he had season lows of 85 yards, 18 carries and a 4.7-yard average, mainly because he didn’t break a run longer than 12 yards. But McCaffrey did score a rushing touchdown in his third straight game this year, and he loved hearing that he tied Jerry Rice’s franchise record by scoring a touchdown in a 12th straight game. Elijah Mitchell, after idling in Sunday’s win at Los Angeles, relieved McCaffrey for 11 carries and 42 yards. The blocking was outstanding, especially from Trent Williams, Aaron Banks and Jake Brendel, but also from Kittle and fellow tight end Charlie Woerner.


Nick Bosa’s first sack of the season came when he went virtually untouched past a tight end to drop Daniel Jones at the 2-yard line to open the second series. “That was clutch,” Bosa said in deadpan fashion. “I’ll take a gimmie all day.” Defensive tackle Javon Hargrave had the 49ers’ only other sack, on the next series, when he bulldozed his way up the middle. Jones passed for only 137 yards (22-of-32) and got intercepted by Talanoa Hufanga on a twice-deflected pass. A main takeaway from the Nienrs’ best pass rush of the season was their third-down scheme in which they would add Javon Kinlaw into the mix; the Giants were 3-of-12 on third down.


Bosa was surprised, and surely not alone in that regard, how the Giants’ Daniel Jones only ran twice, for a pesky 5 yards. With Saquon Barkley sidelined by Sunday’s ankle injury in their comeback at Arizona, the Giants totaled just 29 yards on 11 carries. Their lone bright spot in that regard: an 8-yard touchdown run, 5 minutes after halftime, by former 49ers running back Matt Breida, who escaped Fred Warner’s clutches.


Jake Moody didn’t let pregame winds or Levi’s Stadium’s uneven, recently installed grass rattle him. The rookie kicker, for the third straight game, made all three of his field-goal attempts and all three point-after kicks, to which he said: “That’s pretty cool. It’ll take it every game.” Punter Mitch Wishnowsky pinned 2-of-3 punts inside the 20. Ray-Ray McCloud’s services as a punt returner remain steady. Bell and George Odum had tackles. Penalties on two players promoted from the practice squad helped the Giants in a game they had no business being so close.


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Not even a short week, against a blitz-happy opponent could deter Kyle Shanahan’s offense from scoring 30 points in a third straight win. Echoing his coach, Kittle said of that point production: “Let’s get better than that. We left a lot of meat on the bone.” Kudos to defensive coordinator Steve Wilks for appeasing his defensive linemen’s wishes to include Javon Kinlaw on some packages. Now they get the weekend to prepare for a divisional visit by Arizona on Oct. 1, before the marquee showdown of the season’s first half, when the Dallas Cowboys visit Oct. 8.