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19 quick observations from the 49ers preseason loss in Las Vegas

Marc Adams
Aug 14, 2023 at 6:14 AM--

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Well, that was ugly. The San Francisco 49ers lost the preseason opener to the Las Vegas Raiders, 34-7. Good thing this one doesn't count. Still, you'd like to see the team's young players perform better than this.

Only a couple of the starters played, so we didn't get a look at the team that will take the field in Pittsburgh on September 10th. But it is a little concerning that reports from joint practices sounded like the Raiders out-practiced the 49ers on Thursday and Friday, then outplayed the team's backups on Sunday.

There were plenty of things, good and bad that jumped out to me. Here are my observations from the Sin City beatdown.

  • This was only a preseason game, but 49ers fans are in mid-season form. Great job, Faithful.

  • The 49ers' offense started slowly with three straight three-and-outs. That's a bad way to start the season. And they didn't do much better the rest of the game.
  • Clelin Ferrell looked good for the limited time he played.
  • Was Trey Lance holding onto the ball too long, or was his offensive line just that bad? The answer is "yes."

  • Ty Davis-Price looked good out there. He played a lot early in the game, more than Jordan Mason. I doubt that means anything, as Mason got the start.
  • Speaking of Mason, this wasn't his best game. He dropped an easy catch that would have gone for a first down and a big gain. It was a drive-killer, as were some of his runs that went nowhere.
  • Kyle Shanahan challenged a dropped ball that was ruled a catch in the first half. I wish he would've challenged the dropped catch in the 49ers' last game. Sorry. Too soon?
  • Ronnie Bell looked good as a receiver until he let a ball go through his hands that was almost returned for a pick-six.

  • 4th and 2 from the shotgun? I didn't like that call. In case you don't remember didn't work.
  • Ambry Thomas played well in the first half.
  • Isaiah Oliver kept getting beat by a rookie QB. Should we be concerned? He's the assumed starting nickel corner.

  • Money Moody? The rookie kicker missed his very first FG attempt. And then missed his second attempt—badly. The second one was from 58 yards, but still. It wasn't even close.
  • Rookie LBs Dee Winters and Jalen Graham both looked good. Especially Graham.
  • Sam Darnold's first completion was pretty. He had some nice throws but didn't get much of a chance because of penalties and turnovers (not his own). It seemed like every drive he started was near his own goal line.
  • The 49ers' backup offensive line stinks. They couldn't pass protect or run block. I hope none of them have to play this season.
  • The young wide receivers looked good—when the quarterback got the ball to them. I especially liked what I saw from Bell, Tay Martin, and Isaiah Winstead.
  • D'Shawn Jamison looked very good returning the ball. Unfortunately, his teammates kept getting called for holding penalties. Still, Jamison looks the part.

  • Cameron Latu's first NFL game was forgettable. First penalty. First catch. First turnover. Not a great first game for a couple of the 49ers' third-round draftees. Fellow rookie tight end, Brayden Willis, looked good though.
  • Brandon Allen had a better game than Trey Lance, though the stats would say otherwise. Lance had a touchdown pass that should have been an interception. Allen had an interception that should have been a big gain. That said, Lance faced consistent pressure (50% pressure rate).

Next up for the 49ers is a Saturday matchup with the Denver Broncos. I would expect more starters to play in this game.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

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