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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Late touchdown leads Broncos to 11-10 win over 49ers in ugly punt-fest

Sep 25, 2022 at 8:30 PM--

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
SF 7 0 0 3 10
DEN 0 3 2 6 11

The latest episode of Sunday Night Football was one to forget for the San Francisco 49ers.

In a game that featured 17 punts, the 49ers were knocked off 11-10 by the Broncos after a fourth quarter touchdown drive led by Russell Wilson awakened an offense that had been kept in check for most of the game. Wilson finished with 184 yards on 20-of-33 passing, while it was a sloppy performance for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who completed 18 of 29 passes for 211 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The 49ers also committed three turnovers and a safety on the evening while converting just 1-of-10 opportunities on third down.

First Half

The 49ers began the game with possession on their own 10-yard line after the opening kickoff and were forced to punt after five plays, setting the Broncos up at their own 29. But the Broncos were held to a three-and-out by a fired up 49ers defense, which gave the ball back to the 49ers at their own 26-yard line after a punt.

The offense got moving for the 49ers on their second possession, due in large part to a 20-yard completion from Garoppolo to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk to start the possession followed by a 37-run by Jeff Wilson to put the 49ers at the Broncos' 18-yard line. Garoppolo found Aiyuk again for a 3-yard touchdown pass four plays later, giving the 49ers a 7-0 lead after a six-play, 75-yard drive.

The defenses took over for the remainder of the first quarter, as the 49ers held the Broncos to two three-and-outs after the touchdown while the Broncos forced two punts after nine combined plays. The Broncos then put together their first positive drive of the game, moving to the 49ers' 37-yard line on eight plays. The 49ers had the opportunity to accept a holding penalty on a 3rd-and-9 play from the 39-yard line but chose to decline, which set up a 55-yard field goal by kicker Brandon McManus to cut the lead to 7-3 with 11:56 remaining in the half.

The 49ers started strong on the next possession with a 32-yard pass from Garoppolo to Deebo Samuel on the first play, but a holding penalty on guard Spencer Burford set up a 1st-and-20 on the second play. The 49ers punted from the Broncos' 47-yard line three plays later on a 4th-and-4 and were able to down the ball at the 1, giving the Broncos a very long field with just under ten minutes remaining.

The Broncos were able to dig out of their field position hole, moving across midfield on eight plays, with the highlight being a nifty shovel pass from Wilson to running back Melvin Gordon to move the Broncos to the 49ers' 28-yard line. But the 49ers' defense stiffened when it mattered, knocking Gordon for a six-yard loss on first down on a tackle by safety Talanoa Hufanga, followed by a sack on third down by rookie defensive end Drake Jackson. The Broncos were forced to punt after the sack, giving the 49ers possession at their own 3-yard line with 2:27 on the clock.

A three-and-out followed the punt, which gave the Broncos the ball at the 50-yard line with 1:32 remaining. Penalties helped force the Broncos to punt back to the 49ers, who took over at their own 11-yard line with one minute on the clock. The 49ers wound up running out the clock after an incompletion on first down and a short pass to tight end George Kittle on second down to take a 7-3 lead into the half.

Second Half

Things got off to a bizarre start in the second half to the 49ers. After holding the Broncos to a three-and-out to begin the half, the 49ers turned the ball over to the Broncos on the second play of their first possession when Garoppolo botched a snap at midfield. But a first down sack from defensive tackle Kevin Givens and a negative passing play on second down put the Broncos in a hole that led to a punt, which was downed at the 49ers' 2-yard line.

On the second play following the punt, Garoppolo made another error, this one proving to be costly. Garoppolo dropped back into the end zone to make a pass, but in a moment bereft of awareness, Garoppolo stepped out of the back of the end zone, giving the Broncos a safety. Left tackle Trent Williams also hobbled into the locker room after the play with an apparent leg injury.

The 49ers then kicked the ball back to the Broncos, who took over at their own 19-yard line with a 7-5 deficit. The Broncos moved to the 49ers' 35-yard line in 11 plays but missed an opportunity to take the lead when McManus missed a field goal attempt from 53 yards out, giving the ball back to the 49ers with just under four minutes left in the third quarter.

Jeff Wilson broke loose on an 18-yard run on the opening play of the next possession, but new left tackle Jaylon Moore was beat by defensive end Randy Gregory for a sack two plays later to put the 49ers in a 3rd-and-19 hole. The 49ers were forced to punt after a third down incompletion but were able to pin the Broncos deep in their own territory once again, this time at their own 6-yard line.

The Broncos moved backwards on their possession, with two incompletions and a fumble by Gordon that resulted in a punt from the 3-yard line. Ray-Ray McCloud returned the punt to the Broncos' 41-yard line, which was followed by a short possession that moved the ball to the 33-yard line. The 49ers then attempted a 51-yard field goal by Robbie Gould on a 4th-and-2, which he hit to give the 49ers a 10-5 lead.

Another Broncos three-and-out followed the field goal, leading to the 49ers taking over at their own 11-yard line after a punt. The 49ers improved their field position when Garoppolo connected with fullback Kyle Juszczyk for a 24-yard gain on the first play of their possession but were forced three plays later to punt back to the Broncos, giving them the ball at their own 20 with 10:14 remaining in the game.

Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense woke up on the next drive, moving 80 yards in 12 plays to take the lead on a one-yard run by Melvin Gordon. A key 27-yard completion to Kendall Hinton on a 3rd-and-10 gave the Broncos momentum early in the drive, then Gordon capped it off to give the Broncos their first touchdown of the game with 4:10 left in the fourth quarter. The Broncos missed a two-point conversion attempt after the touchdown, leaving the 49ers down one point at 11-10.

The 49ers moved near midfield on the following possession, but their drive was halted on the second turnover of the night by Garoppolo. This one came on an interception, which was tipped and caught by linebacker Jonas Griffith, giving the Broncos the ball at their own 42-yard line with 2:06 to play.

With three timeouts and the two-minute warning at their disposal, the 49ers were able to get the ball back at their own 15-yard line with 1:42 to play after holding the Broncos to a three-and-out. But their chances quickly dissipated, as after a first down sack pinned them back at their own 3, a fumble by Jeff Wilson gave the Broncos the ball and the ability to run out the clock with just over a minute remaining.

Game Notes: Tonight's game was just the second 11-10 game in NFL history, with the first coming on November 16, 2008 (Steelers 11, Chargers 10)... The 49ers entered the game with an 8-7 all-time series edge over the Broncos but lost three of their four previous meetings dating back to 2006... Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson entered the game with a 16-4 record against the 49ers... The 49ers were listed as 1.5-point favorites heading into the game... Next up for the 49ers (1-2) is another primetime matchup, this one coming on Monday, October 3 against the Los Angeles Rams (2-1) at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara (8:15 p.m. ET/5:15 p.m. PT, ESPN). The Broncos (2-1) head to the road for an afternoon game on Sunday, October 2 against the 0-3 Las Vegas Raiders (4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT, CBS).

SF Team Stats DEN
179 Passing Yards 160
88 Rushing Yards 101
267 Total Yards 261
7.28 Avg Yards per Pass 5.58
4.63 Avg Yards per Run 3.06
2 Fumbles Lost 0
1 Int Thrown 0
4 Sacks Allowed 4
00:25:31 Time of Pos 00:34:29
7 Penalties 5

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Jimmy Garoppolo 18/29 211 1 1
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Jeff Wilson 12 75 6.3 0
Deebo Samuel 5 6 1.2 0
Jimmy Garoppolo 1 0 0 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Deebo Samuel 5 8 73 0
Brandon Aiyuk 3 8 39 1
Jeff Wilson 3 3 31 0
George Kittle 4 5 28 0
Kyle Juszczyk 1 1 24 0
Ray-Ray McCloud 1 1 11 0
Jauan Jennings 1 3 5 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Ray-Ray McCloud 1 0
Jimmy Garoppolo 1 1
Jeff Wilson 1 1
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Robbie Gould 1 1 51 1
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 7 51.7 3 74
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
Ray-Ray McCloud 23 11.5 0 15
Punt Returns Att Avg TDs Lg
Ray-Ray McCloud 5 8 0 18
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Dre Greenlaw 5-5 0 0 0
Emmanuel Moseley 5-3 0 0 0
Fred Warner 4-3 0 0 0
Tashaun Gipson 4-1 0 0 0
Charvarius Ward 3-5 0 0 1
Deommodore Lenoir 3-2 0 0 0
Talanoa Hufanga 3-1 0 0 0
Azeez Al-Shaair 2-3 0 0 0
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 2-0 0 0 0
Hassan Ridgeway 1-3 0 0 0
Charles Omenihu 1-2 0 0 0
Kevin Givens 1-2 1 0 0
Nick Bosa 1-1 1 0 0
Akeem Spence 1-0 0 0 0
Javon Kinlaw 1-0 0 0 0
Kerry Hyder 1-0 1 0 0

Broncos Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Russell Wilson 20/33 184 0 0
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Javonte Williams 15 58 3.9 0
Melvin Gordon 12 26 2.2 1
Russell Wilson 6 17 2.8 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
Courtland Sutton 8 10 97 0
Melvin Gordon 5 6 29 0
Kendall Hinton 1 1 27 0
Jerry Jeudy 2 6 17 0
Albert Okwuegbunam 1 2 12 0
Javonte Williams 3 5 2 0
Eric Saubert 0 1 0 0
Mike Boone 0 1 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Melvin Gordon 2 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Brandon McManus 1 2 55 0
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Corliss Waitman 10 47.6 6 57
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Josey Jewell 5-4 1 0 0
Mike Purcell 5-0 1 0 0
DeShawn Williams 3-1 0 0 0
P.J. Locke 3-1 0 0 1
Alex Singleton 3-0 0 0 0
Randy Gregory 3-0 1 0 0
Kareem Jackson 2-4 0 0 0
K'Waun Williams 2-3 0 0 0
Caden Sterns 2-2 0 0 0
Jonas Griffith 2-2 0 1 0
Ronald Darby 2-1 0 0 0
Bradley Chubb 1-1 1 0 0
Justin Strnad 1-0 0 0 0
Pat Surtain II 1-0 0 0 0

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