Week 9 was a memorable for the San Francisco 49ers. The team put up historical numbers in the final rendition of the “Battle of the Bay.” The 49ers defense held the Oakland Raiders to just an opening drive field goal in the 34-3 victory. Meanwhile, second-year quarterback Nick Mullens made an impressive debut in his first-career start under center.
Jeff Deeney of Pro Football Focus provided grades for some of the 49ers top performers from Week 9. Here’s a look at the 49ers standouts from Thursday's primetime matchup.
*1. George Kittle *
Kittle has emerged as the 49ers best player on offense and was named to PFF’s Midseason All-Pro team. In Week 9, the 49ers tight end pulled off his second 100-yard performance of the season. Kittle caught all four of his targets against the Raiders for 108 yards and a touchdown for a team-high 93.0 overall grade.
Kittle has put up Pro Bowl numbers in Year 2, totaling 692 receiving yards (second among NFL tight ends), 76.9 yards per game average (third), 41 receptions (third), nine receptions of 20-plus yards (third), three receptions of 40-plus yards (first) and 490 yards after catch (first) for an overall grade of 88.1 (second) through eight weeks.
“He impressed me a lot last year (and) I think he’s only gotten better,” Kyle Shanahan said post game. “You only get better or worse and he’s a guy who’s gotten a lot better after playing at a pretty high-level last year. George, I think people underestimate or don’t talk enough about how good he is for us in the run game. He’s a very good run blocker. He’s a very physical player. I think everyone is starting to see how good he is in the pass game. What’s been the most impressive is, when you get the ball in his hands you guys can just see that he has a certain attitude to him that he’s trying to score every time he touches the ball, whether he’s 80 yards away or two yards away.”
2. Dekoda Watson
In his season debut since after being activated off of Injured Reserve, Watson earned the 49ers top mark on defense with a 91.8 overall grade. The 49ers defensive lineman racked up five and a half pressures, including four quarterback hurries and a single-game career high 1.5 sacks in just 13 pass rush snaps.
*3. Raheem Mostert *
Before leaving the game in the second half with a forearm injury, Mostert recorded 86 yards on just seven carries, including a career-long 52-yard touchdown run, the first score of his career. Three of Mostert’s seven runs went for 10 or more yards, earning him a 90.2 overall grade on the night.
4. Cassius Marsh
Marsh led the 49ers defense with a single game career high 2.5 sacks on the night, including six total quarterback pressures in his 22 pass rush snaps. Marsh earned an 87.8 overall grade against the Raiders on Thursday night.
“Cassius goes hard every play, Shanahan said. “He’s done it all year. He’s done it his whole career. I’ve played against him a number of times and since he’s been here, Cassius has a motor that never stops. When you have a motor like that and you’re always working, it’s usually a matter of time before something good happens.”
*5. DeForest Buckner *
Buckner earned his 5.5 sack of the season and 14.5 of his career following Thursday’s contest. His one sack and two quarterback hurries earned him an 80.6 overall grade in Week 9.
“I think guys were just going out there and feeding off each other,” Buckner said post game. “I think everyone was just energized. We came out with a lot of energy today. We had Dekoda (Watson) back and he had some action today. It was fun just seeing him out there playing. He has been wanting to get out there all year. (Ronald Blair III) Ronnie had a couple, Cassius (Marsh) had a couple. Everyone was just feeding off each other and having fun out there.”
*Honorable Mention – Nick Mullens *
In his first NFL start, Mullens completed 16-of-22 passing for 262 yards and three touchdowns for a 69.2 overall grade. The second-year quarterback earned himself a 151.9 passer rating on the night, the highest by any player in his NFL debut since the 1970 NFL merger. Mullens was only under pressure on three of his 22 dropbacks. He completed two passes under pressure for 86 yards.