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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
SF 0 6 3 8 17
IND 0 7 7 9 23

The San Francisco 49ers just wrapped up their third game of the 2018 preseason, losing to the Indianapolis Colts 23-17. And there were plenty of positive and negative takeaways from the contest.


It's still an exhibition game, but Week 3 of the preseason is about as close to a regular-season tuneup as there is. And for the San Francisco 49ers, there are a number of things to be concerned about after their loss in Indianapolis against the Colts on Saturday.

While the 23-17 score isn't too important, one of the major concerns was seeing the Niners' first-team offense go 0-of-3 in the red zone. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and Co. had an excellent shot on 3rd-and-1 in the first quarter. But tight end Garrett Celek couldn't hold onto a would-be catch, and the following 4th-and-1 pass attempt to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne fell incomplete.

Two offensive drives later, Garoppolo tossed back-to-back incompletions, intended for wide receiver Trent Taylor, that were nearly intercepted.

A year ago, the Niners finished 27th in red-zone touchdown efficiency. So it's possible that trend winds up continuing into 2018.

On a positive note, however, veteran running back Alfred Morris had an excellent 49ers debut after being picked up as a free agent two weeks ago. Morris, who didn't see any field time last week against the Houston Texans, managed 84 yards on 17 carries for an average of 4.9 yards per attempt. With the No. 3 running back spot still wide open, it appears as if Morris' chances to make the 53-man roster are about as strong as they possibly could be.

Garoppolo and the starters played one offensive drive into the third quarter before he gave way to No. 2 quarterback, C.J. Beathard. Beathard, who struggled over his first two appearances this preseason, managed to hit a number of targets more efficiently in Indianapolis. But his trend of throwing short of the sticks on third down continued as well.

Beathard was 7-of-8 for 83 yards on the day, and San Francisco finished 5-of-13 on third downs overall.

For those wondering if the Beathard-Nick Mullens quarterbacking controversy would heat up, Mullens ended up fumbling the ball on his first offensive snap, leading to a Colts score in the fourth quarter. And he also tossed a pick in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter. But Mullens did log the Niners' first touchdown, thanks to a one-yard rush earlier in the quarter. That play was set up by a nice 35-yard pass to wide receiver Aldrick Robinson:


At least that was pretty.

Perhaps the biggest issue for the 49ers, stat-wise, was in the penalty department. It's not uncommon to see this problem during the preseason. But 10 accepted flags for 98 yards is a continuation of a problem Shanahan and Co. have dealt with all preseason.

Even if linebacker Mark Nzeocha was called for one of the league's questionable "lowering the shoulder" penalties, which ultimately led to the Colts' third-quarter touchdown.

Still, the number of penalties, particularly pre-snap ones, is something Shanahan will need to address between now and the regular season.

This and That


Cornerbacks Richard Sherman and K'Waun Williams each made their preseason debuts after recovering from training camp injuries. And both registered a pass breakup working with the first-team defense.

Rookie defensive back Tarvarius Moore didn't have good coverage against Colts wide receiver Seantavius Jones, who reeled in a 53-yard reception from quarterback Jacoby Brissett late in the third quarter. Indianapolis scored its second touchdown two plays later.

On the injury front, the Niners lost cornerback Jimmie Ward to a quad injury in the first half. Early in the third quarter, linebacker Reuben Foster suffered a concussion and will now enter the league's protocol on head injuries. With Foster set to serve his two-game suspension to start 2018, however, both he and the 49ers can afford to take some time with his recovery.

Offensive guard Joshua Garnett didn't start, leaving that nod to Mike Person. But Garnett looked solid in his extended work, for the most part, and seems to have a command on the Niners' starting gig at right guard.

The 49ers have one final preseason game remaining. They'll host the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 30 at 10 p.m. ET in a game that will feature almost entirely backups, third- and fourth-team units. Teams will be trimming their 90-man rosters down to 53 players on Sept. 1.

Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on KNBR 680 and 95.7 FM The Game in San Francisco. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to @PeterPanacy on Twitter.


SF Team Stats IND
20 First Downs 19
390 Total Yards 349
264 Pass Yards 269
126 Rush Yards 80
10 (98) Penalties (Yds) 8 (75)
2 Turnovers 0
4 (35) Punts (Avg) 5 (38)
30:05 Time of Pos. 29:55

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
J. Garoppolo 9/19 135 0 0
C. Beathard 7/8 83 0 0
N. Mullens 4/6 62 0 1
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
A. Morris 17 84 0 11
J. Wilson 5 24 0 7
J. Garoppolo 1 8 0 8
J. McNichols 2 5 0 4
P. Garçon 1 4 0 4
N. Mullens 2 1 1 1
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
J. McNichols 4 16 0 8
R. James 3 65 0 42
M. Goodwin 3 40 0 19
P. Garçon 2 62 0 47
K. Bourne 2 21 0 13
K. Juszczyk 2 21 0 11
A. Robinson 1 35 0 35
C. Wick 1 11 0 11
D. Pettis 1 8 0 8
G. Celek 1 1 0 1
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
N. Mullens 2 1 0 -3
P. Murphy 0 0 1 -6
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
R. Gould 3/3 37 0/0 9
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
J. Locke 2 37 1 41
B. Pinion 2 36.5 1 40
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
V. Bolden 3 22 0 26
R. James 1 26 0 26
D. Reed 1 19 0 19
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
D. Pettis 1 21 0 21
R. James 1 6 0 6
D. Reed 1 5 0 5
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
F. Warner 3-2 0 0 0
T. Powell 2-2 0 0 0
N. Scott 2-2 0 0 0
E. Lee 3-0 0 0 0
S. Thomas 3-0 0 0 0
A. Colbert 3-0 0 0 0
M. Nzeocha 3-0 0 0 0
B. Coyle 2-1 0 0 0
T. Moore 2-1 0 0 0
J. Attaochu 2-0 1 0 0
J. Tartt 2-0 0 0 0
K. Williams 2-0 0 0 0
R. Foster 2-0 0 0 0
D. Jones 2-0 0 0 0
D. Reed 2-0 0 0 0
A. Exum 2-0 0 0 0
D. Buckner 1-1 0 0 0
D. Watson 1-0 0 0 0
A. Witherspoon 1-0 0 0 0
R. Sherman 1-0 0 0 0
M. Smith 1-0 0 0 0
A. Armstead 1-0 0 0 0
S. Day 1-0 0 0 0
C. Marsh 1-0 0 0 0
D. McCoil 1-0 0 0 0
C. Jones 1-0 0 0 0
W. Sutton 0-1 0 0 0
R. Blair 0-1 0 0 0

Colts Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
J. Brissett 7/13 120 0 0
A. Luck 8/10 90 1 0
P. Walker 4/6 69 0 0
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
J. Wilkins 14 28 0 8
A. Luck 4 27 0 15
J. Brissett 2 12 0 8
C. Michael 8 9 1 4
P. Walker 2 4 0 5
N. Hines 5 0 0 3
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
E. Ebron 5 54 1 15
D. Daniels 2 44 0 28
J. Wilkins 2 33 0 29
T. Hilton 2 17 0 11
S. Jones 1 53 0 53
C. Rogers 1 19 0 19
E. Swoope 1 18 0 18
R. Grant 1 17 0 17
D. Fountain 1 14 0 14
S. Ishmael 1 8 0 8
C. Michael 1 3 0 3
N. Hines 1 -1 0 -1
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
R. Delaire 0 0 0 0
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
M. Badgley 3/3 51 1/1 10
A. Vinatieri 0/0 0 1/1 1
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
R. Sanchez 5 44.2 3 54
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
N. Hines 1 21 0 21
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
Z. Pascal 1 6 0 6
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Z. Franklin 4-2 0 0 0
S. Moore 3-3 1 0 0
D. Leonard 4-1 0 0 0
K. Moore 4-0 0 0 0
P. Desir 4-0 0 0 0
C. Milton 3-1 0 0 0
R. Delaire 3-0 2 0 1
C. Geathers 2-1 0 0 0
T. Adams 2-1 0 0 0
N. Goode 2-1 0 0 0
H. Ridgeway 2-1 0 0 0
J. Sheard 2-0 0 0 0
M. Farley 2-0 0 0 0
A. Morrison 2-0 0 0 0
R. Nunez-Roches 1-1 0 0 0
A. Johnson 1-0 0 0 0
M. Hooker 1-0 0 0 0
D. White 1-0 0 0 0
G. Stewart 1-0 0 0 0
M. Hunt 1-0 0 0 0
T. Green 1-0 0 0 0
L. Durr 1-0 0 0 0
M. Adams 1-0 0 0 0
K. Turay 0-1 0 0 0
G. Odum 0-0 0 1 0