GRADING THE 49ers

Here is how the 49ers (6-2-1) graded out from their 24-24 tie Sunday against the visiting St. Louis Rams (3-5-1):

Pass offense

Alex Smith (7 of 8, 72 yards) resumed his near-perfect form from the previous game before exiting with a second-quarter concussion. Colin Kaepernick overcame a slow start to rally in the fourth quarter, highlighted by a 17-yard dart to long-lost Vernon Davis. Five sacks didn't help, especially on Kaepernick's final snap in overtime.

Grade: C

Run offense

Frank Gore's second-effort running kept the 49ers in this affair, and his 20-yard touchdown run should have been the game winner. Smith's two carries contributed to his concussion. Kaepernick (eight carries, 66 yards) still seems most comfortable taking off for the sideline. Mike Iupati's fourth-quarter knee injury kept him out only a snap, to the 49ers' relief.

Grade: B+

Pass defense

From Chris Culliver getting beat for the Rams' first touchdown, to an overtime opener that nearly resulted in an 80-yard completion against Carlos Rogers, the 49ers were off their game. None of Sam Bradford's 39 passes was intercepted, and the 49ers are overdue in that aspect. Another shifty slot receiver (Danny Amendola) found too much room to roam.

Grade: D+

Run defense

Credit Steven Jackson for running furiously and the Rams for playing physically. Jackson's longest run only was 10 yards, but it came on a tone-setting second snap as nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga got pancaked by tight end Lance Kendricks. Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman and Donte Whitner were tested more than ever as the Rams tallied 159 rushing yards.

Grade: D

Special teams

Getting fooled on two fake punts looked bad enough. Then came once-reliable David Akers, who forced overtime with a clutch field goal but missed a 41-yard attempt in overtime. Those woes overshadowed a key forced fumble by Tramaine Brock (or perhaps Larry Grant) that led to Darcel McBath's recovery on a late kickoff return. As almost weekly, a block-in-the-back penalty nullified a long punt return against the 49ers.

Grade: D

Coaching

Do they get blamed for a post-bye lull at the start? Offensively and defensively, there was miscommunication on relaying in plays. But losing your starting quarterback and still rallying was impressive. Also, the Rams -- not the 49ers -- were the team that repeatedly had big plays wiped out by lame penalties.

Grade: C-

-- CAM INMAN