MAKING THE GRADE

Here is how the 49ers (3-2) graded in their 34-3 win Sunday night over the visiting Houston Texans (2-3):

Pass offense: Vernon Davis, sore hamstring and all, made a pair of third-down catches in the opening touchdown drive and later delivered a 64-yard touchdown catch-and-run. In between, there wasn't much. It didn't matter that Colin Kaepernick posted career lows as a starter: 6-of-15 for 113 yards. Anquan Boldin's two receptions came on the first series, and Jon Baldwin had no receptions (two targets) in his first start.

Grade: D+

San Francisco 49ers’ Tarell Brown (25) celebrates after he recovered a ball that San Francisco 49ers’ Donte Whitner (31) stripped away from
San Francisco 49ers' Tarell Brown (25) celebrates after he recovered a ball that San Francisco 49ers' Donte Whitner (31) stripped away from Houston Texans' Ben Tate (44) in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) ( Nhat V. Meyer )

Run offense: Great blocking trumped a great defense and a 177-yard rushing effort. Frank Gore's and Anthony Dixon's short touchdown runs came after key blocks by Davis, Bruce Miller, Alex Boone and Daniel Kilgore. Gore walked off a left-ankle injury and had 81 rushing yards. Kendall Hunter provided spark (five carries, 29 yards), as did LaMichael James in a late cameo (four carries, 31 yards). Kaepernick had only one carry for 14 yards on his quiet night, and Kyle Williams chipped in with a 13-yard end around.

Grade: A


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Pass defense: Tremendous job by Tramaine Brock. He returned the first of his two interceptions for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead, then later drew an offensive pass-interference penalty. The nickel-back job is his again, a role he held in 2011 before a broken hand sidelined him in favor of Chris Culliver (and a job Nnamdi Asomugha won before a Sept. 22 knee injury). The pass rush is a concern, even more so after Ray McDonald hurt a right biceps en route to the only sack of Matt Schaub.

Grade: A-

Run defense: Patrick Willis' absence is noticeable, but Michael Wilhoite has done well in his place, totaling 11 tackles Sunday to complement NaVorro Bowman's 13. Arian Foster ran for 98 yards, but no carry went further than 17 yards. Donte Whitner stripped Ben Tate to force the fourth Texans' turnover.

Grade: A-

Special teams: The coverage teams really seem improved over last season, and top tackles this game came from Wilhoite, C.J. Spillman, Nate Stupar, Corey Lemonier and Kassim Osgood. Kyle Williams had a season-high 22-yard punt return; yes, that's a season-high needing improvement.

Grade: A-

Coaching: A second straight, prime-time rout has the 49ers back on track after a brutal start to the season, having faced four teams that made last season's playoffs. Vic Fangio and his defensive staff feasted on Matt Schaub, as warranted. A division game with second place on the line (and possibly first place) is a good motivator going forward to Sunday's game against Arizona. But remember: no three-game win streak last regular season.

Grade: A

-- CAM INMAN