Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports


Recap: 49ers drop preseason finale to Chargers, lose 23-21

Peter Panacy
Aug 30, 2018 at 9:45 PM--



1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
LAC 3 10 7 3 23
SF 0 7 7 7 21

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their 2018 preseason campaign with a 23-21 loss to the visiting Los Angeles Chargers Thursday night.


Well, it was pretty ugly, as most fourth preseason games are.

The San Francisco 49ers finished up their 2018 exhibition period with a loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's Stadium Thursday night, 23-21, which dropped the Niners' preseason record to 1-3.

Most of head coach Kyle Shanahan's starters didn't play. But he elected to give defensive end Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster a start, and Foster ended up playing all the way through the first half. Both Thomas and Foster suffered injuries earlier this preseason (concussions), so the move was likely to give each a few more snaps before the 49ers' regular-season campaign kicks off on Sept. 9.

Thomas was a force during the game, which is to be expected against the Chargers' backups, racking up two tackles for a loss in his limited time.

Yet it was defensive lineman Ronald Blair who led San Francisco's defense with five tackles, and he also added a sack to the mix. Blair is arguably on the roster bubble, as roster cuts take place on Sept. 1, so a strong performance was essential to his chances to make the cut.

A handful of other potential starters, namely offensive guards Joshua Garnett and Jonathan Cooper, also saw significant action during the game. Earlier in the week, Shanahan told reporters the starting right guard was favored to go to Mike Person. Garnett appears to be the favorite to challenge Person for that spot, but that's a decision reserved for a few days from now.

Offensively, the Niners struggled to get much of anything going for most of the contest. With Jimmy Garoppolo not suited up, No. 2 quarterback C.J. Beathard got the start but saw only one drive and never tossed a pass attempt. He gave way to third-string quarterback Nick Mullens, whose line read 10-of-17 for 106 yards and one rushing touchdown.

Rookie quarterback Jack Heneghan also made his NFL preseason debut, leading a 49ers drive to a Jeff Wilson two-yard touchdown late in the third quarter:


And he added this improvisation off a botched snap too:


The 49ers were able to manage the 21 points and 226 total yards of offense. At least wide receiver Richie James, who has an excellent shot at making the 53-man roster, made a sizable impact. He had seven receptions on eight targets for 80 yards during the contest. He also added an impressive punt return for 23 yards.

L.A. got off to a 13-7 lead by halftime before adding another touchdown in the third quarter off a 49ers fumble by running back Jeremy McNichols -- one of two turnovers by San Francisco on the night. McNichols made up for it late in the fourth quarter, however, giving the Niners the lead with 2:58 remaining.

The Chargers managed to tack on a game-winning field goal as time expired, but that's a preseason narrative too.

Shanahan and Co. will trim the roster down to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET on Sept. 1 before preparing for their first regular-season contest in Week 1 on the road against the Minnesota Vikings.


LAC Team Stats SF
14 First Downs 18
192 Total Yards 226
54 Pass Yards 133
138 Rush Yards 93
5 (73) Penalties (Yds) 5 (55)
0 Turnovers 2
5 (40) Punts (Avg) 3 (48)
28:55 Time of Pos. 31:05

Chargers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
C. Jones 3/6 21 1 0
G. Smith 4/6 16 0 0
N. Shimonek 4/4 34 0 0
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
T. Watson 9 40 1 14
G. Smith 4 36 0 20
D. Newsome 7 35 0 14
J. Jackson 7 18 0 16
R. Hansbrough 2 6 0 3
J. Jones 1 4 0 4
C. Jones 1 -1 0 -1
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
A. Patton 3 22 1 11
R. Hansbrough 2 24 0 12
G. Davis 2 16 0 9
J. Hamm 1 6 0 6
A. Manzo-Lewis 1 5 0 5
J. Liggins 1 4 0 4
D. Newsome 1 -6 0 -6
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
S. Richardson 0 0 0 1
T. Brown 0 0 0 6
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
R. Aguayo 2/2 36 1/1 7
C. Sturgis 1/1 36 1/1 4
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
S. Tripucka 3 46 1 49
D. Kaser 2 47 1 52
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
D. Newsome 1 63 0 63
J. Jones 1 30 0 30
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
J. Jones 2 1 0 6
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
N. Dzubnar 5-2 0 0 0
D. Hines 4-1 0 0 1
M. Hannemann 4-0 0 0 0
A. Hendy 3-1 0 0 0
U. Nwosu 2-2 1 0 0
P. Afriyie 3-0 0 0 0
S. Richardson 3-0 0 0 0
B. Jackson 3-0 0 0 0
C. Landrum 2-1 2 0 1
M. Davis 2-0 0 0 0
J. Brown 2-0 0 0 0
W. Richardson 1-1 0 0 0
T. Brown 1-1 0 0 0
K. White 1-1 0 0 0
B. Clay 1-1 0 0 0
M. Edmond 1-1 0 0 0
K. Coleman 1-0 0 0 0
D. James 1-0 0 0 0
K. Emanuel 1-0 0 0 0
C. Mager 1-0 0 0 0
I. Rochell 1-0 0 0 0
R. Jenkins 1-0 0 0 0
C. Stribling 1-0 0 0 0
A. Phillips 0-1 0 0 0
M. Hardison 0-1 0 0 0

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
N. Mullens 10/17 106 0 0
J. Heneghan 8/9 58 0 0
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
J. McNichols 8 27 1 9
N. Mullens 3 19 1 11
J. Wilson 9 17 1 5
J. Heneghan 2 17 0 10
R. Mostert 5 8 0 5
A. Morris 2 5 0 3
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
R. James 7 80 0 27
R. Dwelley 3 39 0 21
R. Mostert 2 13 0 9
S. Dunbar 2 13 0 9
V. Bolden 2 4 0 5
M. Johnson 1 13 0 13
C. Hikutini 1 2 0 2
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
N. Mullens 1 1 0 0
J. McNichols 1 1 0 0
J. Flynn 1 0 0 0
J. Heneghan 0 0 1 0
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
R. Gould 0/0 0 3/3 3
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
B. Pinion 2 48 0 53
J. Locke 1 50 0 50
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
R. James 1 22 0 22
V. Bolden 1 0 0 0
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
R. James 3 10 0 23
V. Bolden 1 2 0 2
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
A. Exum 7-0 0 0 0
E. Lee 5-0 0 0 0
R. Blair 2-3 1 0 0
W. Sutton 3-1 1 0 0
D. McCoil 2-2 0 0 0
E. Moseley 3-0 0 0 0
P. Taumoepenu 3-0 0 0 0
K. Toomer 1-2 0 0 0
B. Coyle 2-0 0 0 0
S. Thomas 2-0 0 0 0
R. Foster 2-0 0 0 0
D. Jones 2-0 0 0 0
T. Powell 1-1 0 0 0
C. Jones 1-1 0 0 0
N. Scott 1-1 0 0 0
J. Taylor 1-0 1 0 0
T. McFadden 1-0 0 0 0
D. Watson 0-1 0 0 0
T. Moore 0-1 0 0 0
  • Peter Panacy
  • Written by:
    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 San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.

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