Gresh’s Grades – Week 6 10/25/20

Last week’s loss to Denver was shocking, this 33-6 loss to San Francisco was embarrassing because there was no fight. I saw little to no emotion when it was called for on a big 3rd down. I saw no spark with the offense at all. What scares me the most is that there were no signs of life to believe in to think the Patriots will turn this around.

QUARTERBACK: F
Cam Newton wasn’t good. The reason he has so many deflections for interceptions is because he is an inaccurate passer. We’ve been used to a sauvy pocket QB who reads defenses well, and knows how to get the offense out of a bad situation. That’s gone now. Cam is holding onto the ball too long and isn’t moving in the pocket to create throwing lanes. He looks indecisive on any throw where he needs to read coverage. Time to run, run, run with Cam.

RUNNING BACKS: C-
When there were lanes to run, Damien Harris did a nice job of running through open spaces averaging 5.8 yards per carry. And when you don’t possess the ball you can’t run it. It feels like opponents have figured out how to take James White out of passing game. And Jacob Johnson may not get many more touches after his fumble.

WIDE RECEIVERS: D
There were a few times where receivers were open and Cam Newton just missed them. A few times. There were no explosive plays, no explosion off the line of scrimmage, no separation. When N’Keal Harry went out of the game after the tough hit to the noggin, it felt like it was Edelman and no one else to make plays on the outside. Edelman played sparingly as it seems like the team is managing him through injury. There is NO ONE in this position group that scares an opposing defense.

TIGHT ENDS: C
Dalton Keene was active and got his first NFL reception. This position is pretty much non-existant in the passing game. I can’t hammer this group for bad play when we have no idea what the offense’s identity is.

OFFENSIVE LINE: D+
This unit gave the QB time to stand around in the pocket and throw the ball poorly and they weren’t terrible in the run game. But the best OL on the team, Joe Thuney, has a penalty on the biggest offensive play of the game, and he ended up leaving the game late with an ankle injury. This unit is not good enough to develop continuity without practice and good health. However, when this unit thrives and the offense runs the ball, they can score. It’s all up to this unit to carry the offense.

DEFENSIVE LINE: D-
This unit just got run over all night long. This 49ers offense forces you to play east/west not just north/south in the running game, and the Patriots couldn’t stop either. The only reason this isn’t an F is that the offense hung them out to dry having to play 35-40 minutes.

LINEBACKERS: D-
Ju’Whaun Bentley got juked early on my Jimmy G and it was a sign of bad things to come. Anfernee Jennings at times got lost in both coverage and run support. Bentley jumped offside once, missed some tackles, and got no help up front by the bigs in front of him. The only reason this isn’t an F is that the offense hung them out to dry having to play 35-40 minutes.

DEFENSIVE BACKS: D-
The tackling in the running game was average at best, and the issue here was the space given up to the 49ers receivers and how easily they got open in the play action game. Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel were targeted 12 times, for 11 receptions and 180 yards. No one was near the ball to defend it. The only reason this isn’t an F is that the offense hung them out to dry having to play 35-40 minutes.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B
Jake Bailey only punted twice because the offense threw 4 interceptions and he did his job. As did Nick Folk. I don’t mind Gunnar Olszewski returning kicks, just don’t leave your feet and don’t be a hero returning from the middle of the end zone.

3 THINGS TO WATCH FOR

  • The only option on offense is to turn to Cam and his running ability. It exposes him to contact but at this point there is no choice.
  • For the defensive line to be challenged by the coaches, because Buffalo runs the ball and has a QB that can run the ball.
  • This is the week all of us appreciate Tom Brady for the little things he did that most QB’s can duplicate.