MAKING THE GRADE

Here is how the 49ers graded in Sunday's 23-17, NFC Championship to the host Seahawks:

Pass offense

Colin Kaepernick won't be remembered for his electric first-half runs (98 yards) and third-quarter touchdown laser to Anquan Boldin, but rather a fateful trio of fourth-quarter turnovers (two interceptions, one sack fumble). He went for the gusto on his final pass to Michael Crabtree and saw another season vanish with a misplaced fade pass. It didn't figure the 49ers would win through the air, and such was the case. Grade: F

Run offense

All that first-half space for Kaepernick evaporated after halftime. Frank Gore (11 carries, 14 yards) barely ever made it past the line of scrimmage. Mike Iupati's departure to an apparent fractured ankle seemed to impact the 49ers' efforts, as expected without the Pro Bowl guard. Grade: D

Pass defense

Things could only go downhill after Aldon Smith's strip sack on the first snap. And things indeed bottomed out in the fourth quarter when Russell Wilson threw a fourth-down pass over Carlos Rogers for the go-ahead touchdown. Neither the inconsistent pass rush nor spotty coverage was championship worthy. The 49ers might use a first-round pick on a defensive back for a second consecutive draft. Grade: C-


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Run defense

Gang-tackling efforts worked for the most part against Marshawn Lynch, but it only takes one play to hurt you, and that came on his 40-yard touchdown run. That play boosted Lynch's average to 5 yards per carry, and with 109 yards, he became the first to rush over 100 yards against the 49ers this season. Wilson (5 carries, no yards) didn't break free. NaVorro Bowman's exit to a gruesome knee injury will forever be part of the 49ers' tragic postseason tales. Grade: B-

Special teams

You just can't allow Doug Baldwin's 69-yard kickoff return right after your offense reclaimed the game's momentum with a touchdown pass. Ghosts from the NFC final two years ago showed up with LaMichael James' muffed punt return, though Darryl Morris recovered to avert disaster. Phil Dawson made an opening-series field goal for the third time in as many playoff games. Andy Lee could have gotten badly hurt on a running-into-the-kicker penalty that could have been prompted a heftier call. Grade: D+

Coaching

Jim Harbaugh didn't look as stunned or shaken after this season ender, and rightfully so in losing to an elite team at the NFL's toughest venue. His team went on an impressive run -- eight straight wins, the last three on the road before Sunday's closing act. Greg Roman's offensive game plan started well but fizzled -- and will it be his final show? Kaepernick's three turnovers led to their demise, and coaches will need to explore how to rectify such errors. They had two timeouts to spare (hurray for clock management!) before Kaepernick's final, loss-clinching throw. Grade: D+

-- CAM INMAN