TE Vance McDonald - Pittsburgh Steelers

6-4, 267Born: 6-13-1990College: RiceDrafted: Round 2, pick 2013

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Game Recaps

2019 Week 1 vs NE (4 / 2 / 40 / 0 rec)

The reports during the offseason often talked about how involved Vance McDonald would be, how he would rarely come off the field, and how he would step up as the second impact receiving option to Juju Smith-Schuster. In Sunday night's match-up Vance McDonald was impactful in his lack of production. McDonald was held in check until deep in the fourth when he managed his first reception of the game on a third down and long. McDonald's second reception only came because the Patriots, for some reason, chose to call a timeout before the past play of the game which allowed the Steelers to run one more plan.

2019 Week 2 vs SEA (7 / 7 / 38 / 2 rec)

After not seeing a target until the fourth quarter of Week 1, the Steelers were making an effort to get McDonald involved early and often. In fact, Vance McDonald's first reception came on the first play of the game. While it was only a simple screen, McDonald almost broke away from potential tacklers. McDonald provided good yards after the catch ability, which Ryan Switzer was lacking in Week 1, and a good end zone presence once Mason Rudolph entered the game. In fact, both of Vance McDonald's touchdowns on the day were from Mason Rudolph. On the first touchdown, Vance McDonald sat down in a soft spot of the coverage. After he made the reception, McDonald turned into a running back and carried defenders into the end zone with him. If McDonald's first touchdown catch was a class on power running after the catch, we should consider McDonald second touchdown reception a class on hands and being where you are supposed to be. After turning his back to the defense, Mason Rudolph turned around to find Vance McDonald in position for an easy touchdown pass.

2019 Week 3 vs SF (2 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)

Things started slowly for McDonald, again, after not seeing his first target until the Steelers' fourth drive of the game in the second quarter. McDonald was able to take a short screen pass for a first down. McDonald saw his second target on this same drive, but the pass was high and McDonald injured his shoulder. He would not return for the rest of the game and was replaced by plodding Xavier Grimble.

2019 Week 5 vs BAL (3 / 3 / 34 / 0 rec)

Welcome back to the offense Vance McDonald. In McDonald's first game back after a severe shoulder injury, his presence was immediately felt in the short game. McDonald was targeted on Mason Rudolph's third pass attempt of the game. In the third quarter, after Rudolph left the game, McDonald was hit for a short pass on a simple out route. McDonald exploded up the field and broke a tack to take the ball all the way to the 1-yard line to set up a Steelers touchdown for the lead.

2019 Week 6 vs LAC (1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)

McDonald, like most of the non-running back skill position players, was not involved much in the receiving game. McDonald's line pass was on a speed out. Devlin Hodges' timing, rhythm and placement of the ball, but McDonald was not targeted again for the entire game. Fortunately, not all big impacts happen on the stat sheet. McDonald was active all night in the blocking game. In fact, McDonald's combination block is what sprung James Conner for his first touchdown of the game.

2019 Week 8 vs MIA (4 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec)

McDonald's performance was forgettable in Week 8 against the Steelers. When McDonald was targeted, it was as a fourth option behind Juju Smith-Schuster, Diontae Johnson and James Conner. Even with Mason Rudolph finally throwing the ball more than five-yards beyond the line of scrimmage, McDonald was only able to achieve an 8.8 aDOT.

2019 Week 9 vs IND (7 / 5 / 30 / 1 rec)

With Mason Rudolph pass plays stay close to the line of scrimmage and playmakers will be left to work on their own. McDonald does well in those situations. In the third quarter, after recovering a fumble from the Colts. The Steelers were marching down the field. On third and goal at the seven-yard line, Rudolph finds McDonald right in front of the end zone. Because of where the pass was delivered, McDonald shields the ball from the defenders and lunges for the only offensive touchdown of the evening.

2019 Week 10 vs LAR (7 / 3 / 11 / 0 rec, 1 / 2 / 0 rush)

The target share was there, but the optimized targets weren't. McDonald started the game with what looked like a simple grab over the middle of the field, which was dropped. Luckily, McDonald drew a personal foul and was able to help advance the ball 15-yards down the field. Of McDonald's eleven yards through the air, nine of them came on a single play. McDonald made the reception over the middle of the field and was met immediately by a defender. McDonald was able to shed the defender and was able to work after first contact. McDonald fumbled the ball at the end of the run, but it was recovered by Juju Smith-Schuster.

2019 Week 11 vs CLE (7 / 3 / 33 / 0 rec)

The target volume is high, but the quality of the targets was low. Every target McDonald had to work for and when he was targeted it was in traffic with Cleveland Browns defenders draped on him or the target was in traffic with no room to work. McDonald was not given the opportunity to maximize his targets in deeper parts of the field.

2018 Week 3 vs TB (5 / 4 / 112 / 1 rec)

Almost all of McDonald's production came on one play. The play itself was simple outward breaking route by Vance McDonald. McDonald threw the defender to the ground and scored a 75-yard touchdown in the first quarter

2018 Week 4 vs BAL (5 / 5 / 62 / 0 rec)

Last week Vance McDonald stiff-armed a defender through a wall. This week McDonald continued displaying his superhuman level athleticism as he caught an inbreaking route, broke a tackle, and drug two defenders for an additional three yards. Following McDonald's heroic catch Antonio Browns scored his touchdown. The Ravens were able to smother McDonald in the second half taking away the middle of the field.

2018 Week 6 vs CIN (8 / 7 / 68 / 0 rec)

The presence of Vance McDonald and all of the tight ends should not be understated. To start Week 6, Roethlisberger did not complete his first pass to a tight end until the Steelers third possession and almost the end of the first quarter. Starting the game McDonald continued his physical domination of the league when he broke a 26-yard run on a crossing route. McDonald was like a bull in a china shop running through two tackles and flipping the Steelers field position on one catch. The following play McDonald was open in the middle of the field for an 11-yard gain where Roethlisberger had almost four seconds to throw the ball.

2018 Week 8 vs CLE (3 / 3 / 47 / 0 rec)

It feels like every time McDonald touches the ball he is close to breaking a long play. Vance McDonald was lined up as a fullback in the offense and received a screen pass from Ben Roethlisberger in the second quarter. McDonald shed a tackler and drug another defender who was holding on to his leg for a seven-yard gain. McDonald was not called on to be a double-digit target receiving tight end in this game, but his presence was felt as an effective blocker and he did not allow the linebackers to creep up and commit to the run.

2018 Week 9 vs BAL (6 / 3 / 25 / 0 rec)

Even in the weeks where McDonald is quiet he is close to breaking off the long play or finds other ways to contribute. In the first quarter McDonald had an easy catch on an out route where the defender trailed McDonald the entire way. If it wasn't for the defender making a shoestring tackle, McDonald would've gone for more than 9-yards. McDonald continued to contribute, without the ball in his hands, but freeing JuJu Smith-Schuster on a rub route occupying two defenders. Before the end of the half McDonald had two plays which could have led to turnovers. On the first McDonald caught the ball and was initially ruled to have fumbled the ball and the Ravens took the ball back for a touchdown. The review of the play was overturned, and McDonald was ruled down by contact. The second play had McDonald streaking down the field and Ben Roethlisberger hitting him in stride. McDonald did not secure the pass before continuing upfield and it slipped out of his hands. The play not only could have gained big yardage.

2018 Week 10 vs CAR (4 / 4 / 44 / 1 rec)

The numbers aren't always gaudy but watching Vance McDonald's usage be optimized by the Steelers is a thing of beauty. On McDonald's touchdown catch Ben Roethlisberger threw right down the middle of the field and McDonald made the fingertip catch.

2018 Week 11 vs JAX (6 / 3 / 27 / 1 rec)

The numbers aren't gaudy, but McDonald was a reliable target for Ben Roethlisberger in Week 11. McDonald was used mostly on screen passes to try and get Ben Roethlisberger in rhythm. McDonald's touchdown catch came in the fourth quarter to put the Steelers within one score of winning the game. The reception was a high point catch in the back of the end zone showing how much confidence Ben Roethlisberger has in his tight end.

2018 Week 12 vs DEN (5 / 3 / 27 / 0 rec)

McDonald, like so many others in this game, was so close to contributing to a Steelers victory. The Steelers were at the two-yard line and McDonald was targeted in the end zone for his easies touchdown reception of the season. No one was close, and he dropped the ball. So instead of scoring six points, the Steelers lined up for the field goal and ran a fake field goal for a touchdown. McDonald left Week 12s game with a hip injury and did not return.

2018 Week 13 vs LAC (7 / 4 / 28 / 0 rec)

McDonald had another quiet game in Week 13. Even with Roethlisberger over 40 pass attempts McDonald is only able to account for four receptions, his lower total since Week 8, and 28 yards. In fact, Vance McDonald has averaged 30.2 receiving yards over his last five games. While McDonald's recent yardage has been low, he has an optimistic upside.

2018 Week 14 vs OAK (4 / 4 / 37 / 0 rec)

McDonald continues to be as efficient a target as you'll find, securing 4 of his 4 targets today, and securing 73% of his targets over the season. McDonald did not find the end zone this week, but his impact by taking additional coverage off the top two wide receivers and exploiting the extra coverage those two wide receivers draw. During the second quarter the Raiders had a miscommunication and left McDonald uncovered in the middle of the field.

2018 Week 15 vs NE (3 / 2 / 13 / 1 rec)

Like the previously mentioned wide receivers, Eli Rogers and James Washington, had his time in the sun. McDonald kicked off the scoring in Week 15 for the Steelers. On a play where Roethlisberger had plenty of time in the pocket, McDonald's route broke outside towards the sideline and then back inside. McDonald's inside position provided a big target for Roethlisberger's first touchdown on the day.

2018 Week 16 vs NO (4 / 1 / 49 / 0 rec)

McDonald ended Week 16 with a rather undescriptive game. His lone reception came when the defender covering him fell in coverage and McDonald was able to take advantage for a long catch and run.

2018 Week 17 vs CIN (6 / 3 / 39 / 0 rec)

With Brown out of the game there was finally more opportunities for McDonald to make plays for the offense downfield. Unfortunately, McDonald was still being used as an outlet for Roethlisberger close to the line of scrimmage. Best play of the game came off of a short pass and run after the catch. McDonald chipped as he was going into the flat and Ben Roethlisberger found McDonald with no defender within five yards of him.

2017 Week 7 vs CIN (3 / 2 / 37 / 0 rec)

Vance McDonald finished with two receptions for 37 yards. Early 2nd quarter, McDonald found some open space in the middle of the field for a 28-yard reception. Late 2nd quarter, McDonald was targeted in the end zone but dropped the pass after it hit him in the hands.

2017 Week 10 vs IND (2 / 2 / 16 / 1 rec)

Early fourth quarter on a third and goal, Vance McDonald ran a crossing-route for a seven-yard touchdown reception. On the play, McDonald was able to escape coverage and was wide open for the easy touchdown.

2017 Week 14 vs BAL (6 / 4 / 52 / 0 rec)

Vance McDonald finished with a season-best four receptions for 52 yards. Along with Jesse James, McDonald also thrived in the short-to-intermediate passing game. The tight end was able to shake off defenders while picking up additional yardage. McDonald left during the second half with a shoulder injury.

2017 Week 16 vs HOU (5 / 4 / 52 / 0 rec)

Vance McDonald was once again a reliable option in the short-to-intermediate passing game with four receptions for 52 yards. McDonald kept the chains moving early in the game as he picked up first downs on each of his first three receptions.

2017 Week 19 vs JAX (16 / 10 / 112 / 0 rec)

Vance McDonald finished with a career-best ten receptions for 112 yards. McDonald was a weapon in the short-to-intermediate passing game by picking up chunks of yards after receptions. McDonald was a reliable safety valve for Ben Roethlisberger as the Jaguars did not play him tight.

2016 Week 1 vs LA (3 / 2 / 14 / 1 rec)

As was the pattern in San Francisco's third preseason game, McDonald started and essentially alternated drives with Garrett Celek, with both on the field for two tight end sets. McDonald was AWOL in the passing game for the entire first half, as his first target, which was deflected at the line, didn't come until four minutes into the third quarter. On his lone target worth discussing (i.e., his touchdown catch), McDonald was -- like the vast majority of San Francisco's successful passing plays -- the result of Los Angeles executing their zone defense poorly. On 3rd-and-goal, they were in their dime package and playing cover-2. Somehow, despite the Rams having a a 3-on-2 coverage advantage in tight space, McDonald was able to find an opening, and just sat down in the zone one yard into the end zone. Like other 49ers receivers in this game, a great demonstration of individual skill this was not.

2016 Week 2 vs CAR (2 / 1 / 75 / 1 rec)

McDonald's game was a tale of two targets. On consecutive plays, he was open downfield, with Blaine Gabbert delivering a perfect pass away from multiple defenders and hitting McDonald in stride. The first one, McDonald caught and went the distance for a 75-yard touchdown. The second one, he dropped, thereby costing the 49ers -- and fantasy owners -- another 75-yard touchdown.

2016 Week 3 vs SEA (2 / 2 / 4 / 0 rec)

McDonald only played 10 of San Francisco's 57 plays due to a hip injury he sustained in the second quarter. Prior to said injury, he did nothing of note, catching two short out routes for 2 yards each.

2016 Week 6 vs BUF (2 / 2 / 25 / 0 rec)

When both are healthy, McDonald platoons with Garrett Celek. That's exactly what happened in this game. And like Celek, his meager stat line can be attributed mostly to having blocking responsibilities on 13 of his 21 plays before garbage time.

2016 Week 7 vs TB (6 / 1 / 24 / 0 rec)

The game started in a promising fashion for McDonald. On his first target, he beat free safety Bradley McDougald down the seam to set up San Francisco's opening-drive touchdown. McDonald beat McDougald on two other targets, but bad throws resulted in an incompletion and an interception. On a third, McDonald wasn't open, Kaepernick made the throw anyway (and poorly), and McDougald was a fingertip away from having his second interception of the game. McDonald's remaining incomplete targets involved a pass deflected by Brent Grimes and -- of course, because it's McDonald -- a wide-open drop.

2016 Week 9 vs NO (6 / 3 / 84 / 1 rec)

Both of McDonald's receptions worth detailing were against defensive play calls requiring teamwork from New Orleans' pass defense rather than individual skill. One was a 14-yard catch in which McDonald found the soft spot in the Saints' underneath zone between linebacker Nate Stupar and cornerback B.W. Webb. The other was McDonald's 65-yard touchdown. On that play, miscommunication in man-to-man responsibilities between linebacker Craig Robertson and safety Kenny Vaccaro left McDonald wide open on a short in-and-out pattern, leaving McDonald wide open with vast room to run. To wit, he galloped untouched into the endzone.

2016 Week 10 vs ARI (6 / 4 / 50 / 0 rec)

McDonald may not have scored a touchdown, but he made three huge contributions to San Francisco's passing game. First, all but one of his receptions involved finding the hole in Arizona's Cover-3 pass defense. Second, McDonald prevented two Colin Kaepernick interceptions. Third, on his 32-yard reception, McDonald badly beat linebacker Kevin Minter in one-on-one coverage.

2016 Week 11 vs NE (6 / 3 / 46 / 1 rec)

Both of McDonald's big catches came as the result of beating Devin McCourty's man-to-man coverage. On his touchdown, he beat McCourty to the inside on a crossing route. On his 24-yard reception in the third quarter, he got McCourty to bite on a shoulder fake to the outside as he was breaking inside on his skinny post route. Later in the game, Patrick Chung got in on the act, and McDonald promptly beat his man-to-man coverage too; but Kaepernick just slightly overthrew him on what would have been (at least) a 25-yard gain.

2016 Week 12 vs MIA (8 / 4 / 60 / 0 rec)

All four of McDonald's receptions were via finding a hole in Miami's zone. The only one that wasn't completely routine was a 35-yard catch and run early in the fourth quarter wherein he ran unabated down the seam. Two of his four incomplete targets resulted from McDonald's bugaboo: stone hands. The worse of the two drops came just before Carlos Hyde's first-quarter touchdown. McDonald ran his signature red zone post route, deftly splitting the zone coverage of Isa Abdul-Quddus and Michael Thomas. Kaepernick delivered a perfect throw, but McDonald dropped it in the end zone.

2016 Week 13 vs CHI (4 / 2 / 9 / 0 rec)

Both of McDonald's receptions came on shallow crossing routes. The first resulted from a (rare) hands catch on a Colin Kaepernick pass thrown behind him. The second was routine basically. The second of McDonald's incomplete targets resulted from his notoriously bad hands rearing their ugly head again. The first, on the other hand, resulted from a woefully inaccurate pass. Perhaps the Kaepernick-McDonald connection would have produced more if not for Cthe 49ers' powers-that-be chosing to prepare for a game played in wind and snow by vacationing in Disney World.

2016 Week 14 vs NYJ (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

After signing a contract extension during the week, McDonald did not see a target on San Francisco's first four drives. Unfortunately, on the first play of their fifth drive, McDonald suffered a season-ending shoulder injury while throwing the key backside block that sprung Carlos Hyde for a 43-yard run.

2015 Week 4 vs GB (2 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)

McDonald confirmed why, despite being a better athlete, he's not ahead of Garrett Celek in the 49ers' receiving tight end pecking order. In the first quarter, he dropped a wide-open target that put the offense in 3rd-and-long rather than netting them a first down at midfield. The next time his name was called, it was by the referee for holding, which negated a 17-yard read-option run by Kaepernick. Later on that same drive, he nearly cost San Francisco points -- which are few and far between for this team -- by fumbling at Green Bay's 15-yard line on a "just no one screw up here" short pitch-and-catch on 3rd-and-goal from the 22-yard line. At that point, McDonald (justifiably) barely saw the field again.

2015 Week 8 vs LA (2 / 1 / 13 / 0 rec)

McDonald caught Kaepernick's first pass of the game, and then disappeared from the offense, getting only one more target the rest of the way. There was nothing in this (or any other) game to suggest that McDonald will be a productive replacement for newly departed Vernon Davis. It's likely McDonald will remain behind Garrett Celek in the pecking order.

2015 Week 9 vs ATL (5 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)

Presumably because Garrett Celek was limited in practice while in the league's concussion protocol, McDonald started and played more snaps. Neither of his receptions were the result of getting open one-on-one. Two of his incomplete targets were the result of ill-advised Gabbert throws, including Atlanta's fourth-quarter interception. The remaining incomplete target was either the result of stone hands or actively trolling Colin Kaepernick. Kaepernick subbed in for two plays at the beginning of the fourth quarter after Gabbert took a hard hit in the pocket. On the second play, McDonald was open on a deep post. Kaepernick threw a perfectly placed pass between three defenders, but McDonald treated it as if he was blocking a volleyball spike. It wasn't so much a drop as it was a pass defensed.

2015 Week 11 vs SEA (4 / 4 / 65 / 1 rec)

McDonald's touchdown came on the same stick-nod route that Garrett Celek scored on against Atlanta. His other highlight came on the same wheel route that recently departed 49ers tight ends have used to great effect. Clearly, both of these are integral to the 49ers passing game, so McDonald's ability to properly execute them is a positive sign going forward.

2015 Week 12 vs ARI (7 / 6 / 71 / 1 rec)

McDonald benefitted from Garrett Celek getting injured 11 minutes into the game. He did all of his damage in the middle of the field on in-breaking routes of one kind or another. McDonald's touchdown came on a short crosser in the red zone, catching the ball at the 4-yard line and waltzing in for the score untouched. His 20-yard catch on San Francisco's final drive was nearly identical.

2015 Week 13 vs CHI (3 / 2 / 18 / 0 rec)

Prior to leaving the game with a concussion, McDonald was on pace for nine targets. He had also been targeted twice on San Francisco's three third-down passes to that point.

2015 Week 15 vs CIN (4 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)

McDonald played himself right out of the starting tight end job, which is a job that can be quite lucrative in San Francisco's dink-and-dunk offense. After getting a target (and reception) on an early third down, McDonald caught nothing but an acute case of "Vernon Davis hands." Whether by playing an impromptu game of patty cake with the ball or envisioning himself a volleyball setter, he somehow turned two perfectly thrown passes by Blaine Gabbert into two interceptions by Blaine Gabbert. What's worse, both of these miscues swung the scoreboard (at least) 10 points in the opponent's, which you'll notice matches the Bengals' final margin of victory: The first interception reversed what would have been a first down at Cincinnati's 28-yard line, while the second resulted in Bengals' ball at San Francisco's 20-yard line. After the latter, McDonald became an afterthought to the point that Blake Bell finished the game having played 17 more snaps.

2015 Week 16 vs DET (7 / 5 / 61 / 1 rec)

Three of McDonald's targets (and two of his catches) came in garbage time, so lets focus on his performance in the first three quarters. His first target capped off the 49ers' opening drive with a touchdown. It came out of 20 personnel -- two backs, zero wideouts, three tight ends -- on the goal line. McDonald, working on the right side of the line, feigned blocking for an outside zone run, holding that "block" long enough to go unnoticed when he leaked into the flat. The play action froze linebacker Stephen Tulloch, who had no chance of getting to McDonald in time. His next target didn't come until the second quarter, but he was able to separate from linebacker Kyle Van Noy's man-to-man coverage for 26 yards. After an incompletion on a poorly thrown pass, McDonald beat Van Noy again, this time on a short crossing pattern, for 21 yards. All in all, this was a vast improvement on his stone-handed Week 15 performance.

2015 Week 17 vs LA (5 / 3 / 37 / 0 rec)

For all of his targets, and most all of the routes he ran, McDonald was matched up against strong safety Maurice Alexander. His first reception was on a short out route, but Alexander's tight man-to-man coverage allowed him to tackle McDonald immediately. His second reception was on another short out, but this time McDonald had room to run after the catch because Alexander was in zone. His final reception saw Alexander once again in man-to-man, but McDonald was lined up next to Blaine Gabbert in the pistol formation, so he got a free release on his flat route. Alexander was delayed in his coverage for a moment by Quinton Patton's crossing route, which give McDonald several yards of separation, thereby allowing him to pick up an additional 7 yards after the catch. Finally, with respect to McDonald's incomplete targets, both were the result of "random" circumstances throwing off the timing between quarterback and receiver: On one, he slipped; on the other, he was the victim of illegal contact that went unpenalized.

2014 Week 2 vs CHI (2 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)

McDonald had one reception and one drop, but more importantly lagged behind second-year tight end Derek Carrier in opportunities.

2014 Week 6 vs STL (2 / 1 / 21 / 0 rec)

McDonald could have had a big game but he fumbled his only reception and had his end zone target batted down by a teammate. The fumble came after he'd caught a short cross and turned up the field for a big gain, at the end of the play the ball was jarred loose and he lost the fumble. His 4th quarter touchdown was taken away when Davis jumped in front of him at the last minute and missed the catch.

2013 Week 1 vs GB (2 / 1 / 25 / 0 rec)

The rookie from Rice managed to make one big play for the 49ers, catching a pass in the soft middle of the zone defense and going straight upfield, sprinting for a 25-yard gain before anyone could pull him down. For most of the game, McDonald was used as a blocker when he saw the field, allowing Vernon Davis to play in the slot.

2013 Week 2 vs SEA (2 / 1 / 19 / 0 rec)

Two plays encapsulated McDonald's day. On a play-action throw to the right, Kaepernick hit McDonald in space. Richard Sherman lowered his shoulder, prepared to plant McDonald. Instead, McDonald lowered his own shoulder and blew through Sherman, stomping over the superb corner as McDonald rumbled for a 19-yard gain. And though that play was a bright spot for the rookie, his inane decision in the 4th quarter to commit a personal foul by giving the defender a shot in the head after the play was done helped the 49ers along to their eventual loss.

2013 Week 3 vs IND (3 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)

With his only catch coming on a short crossing route, McDonald showed that he does not yet have the ability to get away from tight coverage from linebackers and safeties. He did play well in the run game as an effective blocker.

2013 Week 4 vs STL (2 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)

McDonald's lone catch came on a hook route on the right sideline. The defense played soft coverage, and when McDonald caught the ball the Rams quickly swarmed and took him down for minimal yardage after the catch. In the 3rd quarter, McDonald found himself wide open in the flat but Kaepernick threw the ball behind the tight end.

2013 Week 6 vs ARI (1 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)

The big rookie caught a ball from Kaepernick while running the in flat. Though he was able to gain a solid 7-yards while running in space, when he met the defense he was picked up and his back was slammed to the ground. For someone with such size and speed, his tackle-breaking skills certainly failed him.

2013 Week 7 vs TEN (2 / 1 / 20 / 0 rec)

McDonald's lone catch was an impressive act of adjustment. With Kaepernick scrambling to the right, McDonald found himself on the same sideline. Kaepernick slung the ball towards McDonald but the defender was able to deflect the pass. On a dime, McDonald readjusted to the changed trajectory and reached back to catch the ball while keeping his feet just barely inbounds. A really impressive show of nimbleness from such a large athlete.

2013 Week 10 vs CAR (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

Though he did not record a catch, his run down the seam to get behind the defense allowed Kaepernick to throw a beautifully arched ball right in to the big tight end's hands. The linebacker had hold of McDonald's arm and pulled as the ball arrived. With better strength McDonald should have secured such a perfect pass.

2013 Week 11 vs NO (2 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)

Even though his lone catch was an impressive show of catch, turn, and use of size/speed to pummel the oncoming tackler, McDonald's biggest play came when he dropped a great pass in the seam. Badly needing a long pass to take some of the pressure off, Kaepernick delivered a great ball to McDonald's gut as the tight end gained position in the seam. The safety was able to tear the ball out from behind, and the long pass fell incomplete. Though the coverage was tight, the pass hit McDonald right in the hands and the tight end's inability to win that basic battle for the ball did the offense no favors.

2013 Week 12 vs WAS (1 / 1 / 23 / 0 rec)

McDonald made only one catch, but it was a long one. McDonald ran a wheel route to the sideline while the outside coverage shifted to cover Vernon Davis on the inside. This allowed McDonald to run in to wide open space and Kaepernick delivered an accurate throw for the tight end to finish off the 23-yard play.

2013 Week 16 vs ATL (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)

A terrible game for the rookie, as McDonald dropped a pass that hit him right in the hands, failed to adjust to pass that was slightly behind him, and most egregiously, fell down without any contact while wide open and the ball on its way.

2013 Week 20 vs SEA (1 / 1 / 13 / 0 rec)

McDonald had a decent catch and run on a short pass for an early first down, but was not heard from again.