MAKING THE GRADE
SANTA CLARA — Here is how the 49ers (4-2) graded in their 30-22 win Sunday over the visiting Arizona Cardinals (3-3):
Pass offense: It's become embarrassing how much the 49ers rely on Vernon Davis (180 yards, two-touchdowns) and Anquan Boldin (three catches, 28 yards). But at least Davis embarrassed the Cardinals defense, with Colin Kaepernick's help. Kyle Williams' first catch in three games was a clutch, third-down conversion on the final TD drive. Jon Baldwin: 2 starts, 2 targets each game, 1 reception for 9 yards, 1 collective sigh.
Run offense: Bruce Miller gets top billing here for his fourth-and-1 conversion on the 18-play touchdown drive. Frank Gore (25 carries, 101 yards) was his steady self behind offensive linemen playing hurt. The 49ers are 27-7 when Gore hits the 100-yard plateau, 33-7-1 when he has at least 20 carries.
Pass defense: They came through with interceptions (Rookie of the Year candidate Eric Reid, savvy veteran Carlos Rogers), a forced fumble (Patrick Willis on Larry Fitzgerald) and a safety (rookie Corey Lemonier). But the only sack of Palmer was on Lemonier's safety and that failure to finish a pass rush could use work as the 49ers face sub-par QBs in the coming weeks.
Run defense: The 49ers allowed a season-high 5.2 yards per carry in Willis' return from a two-game hiatus. It didn't help losing starting nose tackle Glenn Dorsey to a hamstring injury in the first quarter. The longest run allowed was Andre Ellington's 15-yard score. Solid effort for an injury-impacted unit.
Special teams: As great as the coverages units have been, the 49ers lack any return-game threat. With LaMichael James a healthy scratch, Kyle Williams' punt returns consisted of four fair catches and a 7-yard effort, and Williams also fumbled the second half's opening kickoff.
Coaching: Jim Harbaugh's "Olive Jar" analogy forced four more turnovers. Vic Fangio's defense was aptly prepared to defend a potentially tying two-point conversion. Greg Roman's play calls came on strong in the 18-play, run-oriented touchdown drive.
-- CAM INMAN