After every 49ers home game this season Press Democrat staff writer Phil Barber will grade the team's effort. Following are his grades for the Niners' effort in Sunday's NFC Championship game against the New York Giants:
49ERS REPORT CARD
Under duress for much of the night, Alex Smith never found a rhythm with anyone except Vernon Davis.
Running Backs: A
Frank Gore ran hard all night and finished with 119 yards from scrimmage. Kendall Hunter chipped in with 31.
Davis (112 yards, 2 TDs) keeps the 49ers from getting an F. The wide receivers were all but nonexistent.
Offensive Line: C
Nice work in the run game, but the line looked overmatched at times in pass protection.
Defensive Line: A
Justin Smith (7 tackles, 4 QB hurries) and Ray McDonald (2 sacks) came up big.
NaVorro Bowman (13 tackles) and Patrick Willis (8 tackles) ruled the middle of the field. Aldon Smith harassed Eli Manning.
Defensive Backs: D
Victor Cruz murdered CB Carlos Rogers in the first half. The rest of the crew had struggles, too.
Special Teams: D
Unfortunately, this game will be remembered for Kyle Williams' two turnovers on punts.
A tough game against a tough team - and just too many stumbles on offense and punt returns.