The San Francisco 49ers managed to kick off the 2019 season with a 31-17 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1. San Francisco's defense highlighted the contest, tallying four takeaways, including three interceptions and one forced fumble en route to their first victory of the season. Jeff Deeney of Pro Football Focus provided top grades for members of the 49ers following Sunday's contest. Take a look at which 49ers stood out over the weekend and a snapshot of the San Francisco's snap count following the road victory.
The 49ers tight end earned a 93.1 overall grade, the second highest among tight ends in Week 1. Kittle led the team with eight catches (10 targets) for 54 yards. He hauled in two touchdown receptions that were both called back due to penalties. Kittle was also stout in the run game, earning a 77.7 run blocking grade, good for the third highest among tight ends in the NFL's opening week with 10 or more run-blocking snaps.
2. Mike Person
Person earned the highest overall grade of any NFL guard in Week 1 with a 83.6 grade. The seventh-year veteran did not allow a single quarterback pressure on the day.
3. Ahkello Witherspoon
Witherspoon helped put the 49ers game away following a pick six late in the fourth quarter. The third-year cornerback allowed just two catches on six targets for 21 yards and clocked two pass breakups, including an imposing deflection over the top of Buccaneers star receiver Mike Evans. Witherspoon earned an 80.8 overall grade, the top mark on the 49ers defense. According to Pro Football Focus, Witherspoon also earned the 49ers highest grade in coverage with an 81.7 mark. His passer rating when targeted was an impressive 4.9.
"I felt really good after the game," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "Just watching him during the game and when I got on the plane and watched it and when I watched it (Monday morning) again I only felt stronger. I thought he had a hell of a game, got a chance to break up some balls. Even the third-and-four that they moved the chains on him and he drove on that ball and Jameis (Winston) made a perfect throw and if it wasn't perfect he would have stopped them there. I really liked how Ahkello played. I also thought he was more physical in the run game and just played out there with a lot more confidence and it helped us win."
4. Nick Bosa
San Francisco's rookie earned a top overall grade following his 49ers debut performance on Sunday. Bosa registered a sack, three quarterback hits, three tackles and six quarterback pressures in 25 pass rush plays (24 percent pressure rate). Bosa's six total pressures were the most by a rookie and his pass-rush “win” rate on 28 percent of his snaps was the highest among all qualifying defensive players in Week 1. The rookie also notched two tackles and a run stop on just 11 snaps. Bosa earned himself a noteworthy 80.5 overall grade in his first game action as a member of the 49ers.
"He definitely had an effect on the game which is what we were hoping for. He got in the backfield a lot. I know he got that one sack which started with [DL] Dee Ford running into him. He had a number of times where he got free, which I thought were impressive. Jameis (Winston) made some very impressive escapes from the pocket on a number of those too. I thought it was a good first game. Still a lot of areas to improve, but considering what he's been going through here the last few weeks, I thought it was a success."
5. Dre Greenlaw
Greenlaw stepped in for Kwon Alexander, who was ejected following a helmet-to-helmet penalty, at WILL linebacker. The rookie linebacker earned the 49ers third-highest overall grade on defense with a 75.7 mark in his regular season debut and added four total tackles on Sunday afternoon.
"I think Greenlaw did some good things. He's definitely a good tackler, he's not afraid to hit you. It was good for him to get that experience and to come away with a win," Shanahan said. "Once we lost Kwon, it was a chain reaction to everybody, so he had to step it up. He had to play a lot. Had a few rookie mistakes like they all do, but he played good enough for us to win and I was happy with him. Now, we need to get better going forward."
San Francisco's linebacker earned a notable 93.6 grade on special teams following a blocked punt that was held to just three yards. Nzeocha's mark was the highest special teams grade of any non-specialist (kicker or punter) in Week 1. The linebacker replaced Greenlaw at SAM linebacker and responded to the added snaps by recording his first-career interception, picking off Winston in the second quarter.
Mostert stepped up when Tevin Coleman went down with an ankle injury. The special teams standout led the 49ers running backs with 40 yards on nine carries. He also had a 15-yard touchdown that was wiped out due to a penalty. A striking 38 of his 40 rushing yards came after contact. Shanahan expects Mostert to continue to take on a larger role on offense with Coleman expected to miss some time.
"When Tevin went down, Raheem stepped right in (and) didn't hesitate," Shanahan said. "(He) broke a couple tackles for us and there were a couple plays especially there at the end where I thought we blocked it for five and he got about 25 plus the 15 yards at the end of it. So, Raheem stepped in and was really a pivotal part of us winning that game."
Here's a look at the 49ers snap counts following the Week 1 contest: