After a strong finish to end the first half, the San Francisco 49ers defense closed out the game as it held the Los Angeles Chargers to zero offensive touchdowns.
The 49ers committed three turnovers, three penalties, and tallied 266 yards of total offense during the Thursday night game.
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard got the starting nod but struggled to move the ball early during the first three drives of the game despite the defense forcing two turnovers. On his first red zone trip, the quarterback was sacked on a blitz from his blind side by former college teammate, Desmond King.
Despite Beathard only going 5-for-9 with 31 passing yards in the first half, it was his wheels as a runner that highlighted tonight's game. Beathard showed off his athleticism as he outran the entire defense for a 62-yard touchdown run, the first score of the game. After the touchdown run, the momentum quickly shifted in the 49ers' favor.
Victor Bolden Jr. made his second return touchdown of the preseason with a 92-yard punt return while Trent Taylor had a 40-yard punt return of his own. The duo provided the team with an instant spark on both offense and special teams, which may make Jeremy Kerley expendable. The 49ers have not had a kick return touchdown in the regular season since Ted Ginn Jr. did so during the 2011 season.
Even with the strong performance, the 49ers' running game remains a work in progress. Tim Hightower commanded the bulk of the backfield work during the first half with eight carries for 21 yards and one touchdown while rookie Joe Williams led the team with 10 carries for 53 rushing yards to finish the game. Despite Williams' 5.3 yards-per-carry average, he gave up a costly fumble in the fourth quarter.
In the second half, undrafted free agent rookie Nick Mullens finished the remainder of the game at quarterback with his first action of the preseason. Mullens finished up going 7-for-10 for 58 passing yards but also threw a pick-six, which led to the Chargers' lone touchdown.
The Chargers were actually ahead of the 49ers offensively despite the lopsided score. Their offense outgained the 49ers in total yards (305 yards vs. 266 yards) and first downs (17 first downs vs. 14 first downs) despite near comparable times of possession. However, the 49ers' defense excelled in key moments with five turnovers; three interceptions, including a red zone pick by Will Davis in the fourth quarter from Chargers' quarterback Mike Bercovici, and two forced fumbles. Davis undercut the route and picked off the pass in the end zone.
Dekoda Watson and Ray-Ray Armstrong led all 49ers defenders with five tackles apiece.
Asa Jackson, who has been fighting for a roster spot, added two interceptions and four tackles to finish the game. As Saturday cut day looms for these "bubble" players, the front office will be forced to make several tough roster decisions. Stay tuned.
|1 (10)||Penalties (Yds)||3 (25)|
|4 (16)||Punts (Avg)||5 (40)|
|29:41||Time of Pos.||30:19|
|Chargers Player Stats|
|49ers Player Stats|