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Jeff Wilson impresses as 49ers fall 27-24 to Chargers in preseason finale

Aug 29, 2019 at 10:06 PM--

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
LAC 6 14 0 7 27
SF 7 7 3 7 24

The San Francisco 49ers' 2019 preseason came to a close Thursday night against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers, as the Niners fell to their Southern California rivals 27-24.

San Francisco ends up finishing 3-1 during this exhibition phase, which means little, although there were more than a few interesting storylines from the contest. One of them, of course, was the situation at backup quarterback. As expected, C.J. Beathard got the start under center and played the first half. On one particular fourth-down try, Beathard didn't see a wide-open Deebo Samuel running a slant route. Beathard threw elsewhere incomplete, giving the Chargers the ball back.

Yet Beathard managed to have a couple of nice efforts during the game, including a 21-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kendrick Bourne in the second quarter:

Bourne is another player on the roster fringes. And while his grab was impressive, Bourne also had a key drop earlier in the game. If consistency is the one trait threatening Bourne's prospects for making the 53-man roster by Week 1, it didn't provide much positive influence on Thursday.

Beathard managed to help another player on San Francisco's roster fringes, running back Jeff Wilson. Late in the first quarter, Wilson tried an end-around rush to the left side of the line, only to be thwarted by the Chargers defense. Cutting back to his right, Wilson was able to find a lane and saw a streaking Beathard opening up avenues in front of him:

A pretty spectacular 41-yard touchdown, for sure.

Beathard finished the first half, going 6-of-9 for 58 yards and the touchdown, posting a passer rating of 121.5 in the process.

Interestingly enough, Beathard's primary competitor to back up starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this season, Nick Mullens, came in for a drive right after halftime. Mullens played almost the entire second half during the 49ers' Week 3 preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs last Saturday, leaving Beathard off the field altogether.

It's anyone's guess what Mullens seeing a drive after the half means for Beathard's future, if anything. Either way, undrafted rookie quarterback Wilton Speight provided cleanup duties from the middle of the third quarter to the game's conclusion.

But Wilson might be the player most pay attention to between now and roster cuts. He finished the night with 100 rush yards, averaging 5.0 yards in the process. Considering the 49ers' situation at running back, namely with the health of Jerick McKinnon, it's still unclear whether or not head coach Kyle Shanahan wants to use a roster spot on Wilson.

If McKinnon winds up on short-term or season-ending injured reserve, however, Wilson's chances to make the cut only increase.

Both teams went through some sloppy play throughout the game, which is to be expected. San Francisco's defense had a tough time containing Chargers quarterback Cardale Jones, who passed for 149 yards and also added another 26 on the ground. Reserve Niners linemen Najee Toran and Justin Skule were also called for holding penalties during the game, too.

Similarly, the Chargers made their own mistakes, including L.A. quarterback Easton Stick tossing an ill-advised pass, which was picked off by 49ers linebacker Mark Nzeocha:

The subsequent drive culminated in a 1-yard touchdown run up the middle by running back Austin Walter, who appears to be an excellent candidate for the practice squad. Nzeocha played all four quarters. San Francisco seems to like him a lot, both for his reserve-defensive prowess and abilities on special teams. Tonight's game should be a pretty good indicator of his abilities making the roster.

That score gave the 49ers a late fourth-quarter lead, which didn't hold as the Chargers took a 27-24 lead with just over a minute remaining in regulation. Speight's two-minute drill comeback didn't exactly generate positive results, ending in an interception tossed. But that's only a small, small part of the narrative behind the game.

Like Walter, Wilson and Nzeocha, the story of this preseason bout was to see which fringe players stood out. For many, Week 4 of the preseason marks the final opportunity to land an NFL job.

Teams are required to have their rosters trimmed from 90 players down to 53 by Saturday, Aug. 31 at 1 p.m. PT.

Shanahan's decisions received some additional information Thursday night. And while fans don't pay much attention or care about the final score, a number of individual performances likely made up the difference.

San Francisco will hit the field for Week 1 of the regular season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Sept. 8.

LAC Team Stats SF
21 First Downs 20
343 Total Yards 285
153 Pass Yards 122
190 Rush Yards 163
7 (70) Penalties (Yds) 7 (42)
2 Turnovers 2
3 (43) Punts (Avg) 3 (42)
30:28 Time of Pos. 29:32

Chargers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
C. Jones 10/16 149 0 0
E. Stick 3/6 22 0 2
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
D. Gore 12 64 1 21
T. Pope 3 43 0 42
J. Cox 5 40 0 13
D. Newsome 6 26 1 15
C. Jones 5 26 1 13
E. Stick 1 -2 0 -2
J. Liggins 1 -7 0 -7
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
A. Scott 3 55 0 25
J. Cox 3 27 0 16
D. Newsome 2 32 0 29
M. Sokol 1 17 0 17
A. Patton 1 16 0 16
M. Dupre 1 11 0 11
S. Culkin 1 7 0 7
J. Moore 1 6 0 6
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
M. Badgley 2/2 42 2/2 8
T. Long 0/0 0 1/1 1
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
T. Long 2 46 1 49
T. Newsome 1 37 0 37
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
T. Pope 3 21 0 26
J. Cox 1 23 0 23
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
A. Scott 1 18 0 18
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
D. Tranquill 6-1 0 0 1
A. Pickett 6-0 0 1 0
N. Dzubnar 5-1 0 0 0
A. Lanier 5-0 0 0 0
B. Facyson 3-1 0 0 0
J. Brown 2-2 0 0 0
E. Egbule 3-0 0 0 0
T. McGill 2-0 0 0 0
N. Adderley 2-0 0 1 0
C. Peace 2-0 0 0 0
K. Hall 2-0 0 0 0
C. Broughton 2-0 0 0 0
I. Rochell 1-0 0 0 0
B. Lemmons 1-0 0 0 0
R. Randle 1-0 0 0 0
J. Richards 0-1 0 0 0
D. Liner 0-1 0 0 0

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
W. Speight 6/13 51 0 2
C. Beathard 6/9 58 1 0
N. Mullens 1/3 13 0 0
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
J. Wilson 20 100 1 41
A. Walter 12 46 1 12
W. Speight 4 11 0 8
C. Beathard 2 6 0 7
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
M. Henry 2 20 0 13
N. Williams 2 20 0 14
D. Samuel 2 16 0 13
D. Helm 2 16 0 12
K. Bourne 1 21 1 21
J. Wilson 1 8 0 8
A. Walter 1 8 0 8
R. James 1 7 0 7
K. Smith 1 6 0 6
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
W. Speight 2 0 2 -2
J. Wilson 1 0 0 0
T. Mayfield 0 0 1 0
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
R. Gould 1/1 22 3/3 6
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
M. Wishnowsky 3 48.3 1 54
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
D. Reed 1 56 0 56
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
D. Reed 1 0 0 0
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
J. Valoaga 6-0 2 0 0
D. Mayo 4-0 0 0 0
D. Moore 3-1 0 0 0
D. Greenlaw 3-0 1 0 0
M. Nzeocha 3-0 0 1 0
M. Harris 3-0 0 0 0
A. Exum 3-0 0 0 0
K. Givens 2-0 0 0 0
J. Bromley 2-0 0 0 0
S. Day 2-0 0 0 0
J. Garcia-Williams 2-0 0 0 0
C. Campbell 2-0 0 0 0
A. Al-Shaair 2-0 0 0 0
D. Flannigan-Fowles 1-0 0 1 0
D. Johnson 1-0 0 0 0
D. Reed 1-0 0 0 0
J. Taylor 1-0 0 0 0
J. Holland 1-0 0 0 0
L. Reynolds 1-0 0 0 0
J. Thompson 0-1 0 0 0
  • 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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