The San Francisco 49ers are undefeated in 2023 after edging past the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 17. The 49ers 37-34 overtime victory is the team's ninth-straight win, and with losses by the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco has now positioned itself as the No. 2 seed with one week left in the regular season. The No. 1 seed in the NFC and a first round Bye will be decided in Week 18 by the results of the Cardinals-49ers and Giants-Eagles matchups.
Taking care of business on Sunday was critical to improving the team's positioning, and the 49ers faced their toughest test since rookie Brock Purdy took over in Week 13 vs. the Miami Dolphins.. San Francisco's 24-21 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter was the first time the team had trailed in the final frame with Purdy under center. It was also just the second time this season the 49ers have allowed an opponent to score more than 30 points in a game. And even when the game went to overtime and the opposition started off with the ball, the 49ers came up with the big plays to clinch the game. Defensive lineman Nick Bosa delivered a critical pressure and forced a bad throw by Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham that was picked off and returned by safety Tashaun Gipson Sr. The 56-yard return helped set up a 23-yard game-winning field goal by veteran kicker Robbie Gould.
Here are San Francisco's top performers from Week 17:
The tight end topped all the 49ers offensive performers in Sunday afternoon's matchup, earning an 80.3 overall grade for his 18 snaps versus the Raiders. The mark is the highest of his ten appearances this season, and Kroft was also the highest-graded run-blocker for the 49ers in Week 17 (13 snaps).
The third-year wide receiver continues to shine in 2023. Aiyuk graded out to a 78.6 overall score for his 68 snaps of work, the best mark by offensive players with larger snap counts. The wideout closed out the New Year's game with nine catches for 101 yards and a touchdown in addition to a 16-yard rush. Aiyuk's two-yard score was his eighth touchdown of the season, and he is now just 44 yards shy of 1,000 receiving yards on the season.
The linebacker earned the top defensive mark for the 49ers with an 84.0 overall grade, however, the sample size was small with Burks coming in for just five snaps against the Raiders. Burks' grade for Week 17 is the highest of the season for the fifth-year linebacker.
Ward opened up the year with a 72.9 overall grade for his 44 snaps against Las Vegas. Ward made the switch from safety to nickel back midway through the season and has been climbing week in and week out, earning his highest mark of the season in Week 17. The veteran DB had seven total tackles and allowed just four receptions on six targets for 27 yards in coverage in Sunday's overtime thriller.