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49ers report card: Rally to beat Chargers came from all across team

By Cam Inman

SANTA CLARA — Here is how the 49ers (5-4) graded in Sunday night’s 22-16 win over the Los Angeles Chargers (5-4):


Jimmy Garoppolo played turnover-free for the fifth time (in their fifth win), and he especially came through on third-and-long conversions, the best being a 24-yard shot to Brandon Aiyuk on third-and-10 that reached the 2-yard line to set up the go-ahead score. That Aiyuk catch was redemption for an earlier fumble and a goal-line drop en route to six total catches (seven targets) for a team-high 84 yards. Jauan Jennings breathed more life into the comeback with four feisty catches for 44 yards. Still needing work: Garoppolo and Samuel, they aren’t a smooth connection (2-of-6, 24 yards). Kittle’s only catch was timely: a 21-yard gain to spark the go-ahead touchdown drive.


Any win with at least 40 carries deserves an ‘A’ grade — they’re 10-0 under Kyle Shanahan with that threshold —  but let’s scale back a bit. The 49ers averaged 3.7 yards per rush. The Chargers keyed well on Christian McCaffrey (14 carries, 38 yards) so the 49ers instead found their most success in Elijah Mitchell’s first game since he sprained his knee in the opener. Mitchell looked healthy and refreshed (18 carries, 89 yards). Shanahan said the goal was for McCaffrey and Mitchell to have a similar number of carries, so that’s good. Garoppolo’s knack for short-yardage conversions came through with a third-and-goal touchdown from the 1, which made him 31-of-31 on third- and fourth-and-1 sneaks; he got stopped on his next third-and-1 try but converted on the ensuing fourth-and-1 snap. Samuel (four carries, 27 yards) had a 5-yard run to open the go-ahead drive.


Talanoa Hufanga flogged himself afterward for giving up an opening-drive touchdown pass, but, like so many other areas on this team, he avenged that mistake by securing his fourth interception of the season to end this victory. That’s the most interceptions by a 49ers player since Perrish Cox had five in 2014. Nick Bosa raised his team-high sack total to 9 1/2, but the sack that made him prouder was Jordan Willis’ in his return from a two-month knee recovery. Justin Herbert had only been sacked 10 times all season, but the 49ers got three (Charles Omenihu had the other) and it took third-down blitzes to slow his hot start.


Don’t let Dre Greenlaw’s questionable ejection overshadow a strong comeback from the defense overall. Fred Warner rallied the troops with some fiery plays and his seven tackles were as many as Greenlaw had before his helmet-to-helmet hit on Herbert. Greenlaw’s exit led to more action for Azeez Al-Shaair in his first game since a Week 3 knee sprain. Bosa had three tackles for loss. Austin Ekeler had just six carries (24 yards) and Herbert’s legs were perhaps more dangerous (five carries, 22 yards). “First and second down, we ran the same thing over and over, kept it simple,” Warner said.

Source: Paradise Post