The San Francisco 49ers took over the second half and defeated the Denver Broncos by a score of 24-15. It was a fun half to watch as we saw a number of good plays from all three units. And it was a win. But the end result will probably not be what everyone will be talking about on social media and on news outlets.

The First-Team Offense was BAD


There's no getting around it. Jimmy Garoppolo looked rusty at best in his first game back since Week 3 of last season. He threw six passes. Two were batted down, one was intercepted, and another probably should have been picked. He did complete a pass, but for zero yards. Garoppolo's totals were 1 for 6, zero yards and one interception. Not at all what we wanted to see.

There was more. The offensive line did Garoppolo no favors. In the first half, the line gave up more than its share of pressures and just plain didn't look good. The playcalling was questionable at best. It seemed like play-action might have helped Garoppolo get off to a good start. He had a chance on the third drive, but a holding penalty pretty much wiped it out before it could ever really start. It would have been good to get a couple of quick, high percentage completions early. Anything was better than what we saw.

Ok, it's out of my system. Should 49ers fans hit the panic button? Absolutely not. In fact, an outing like this might just be what Garoppolo needs. Next week will tell us much more. Until then, say it with me. "It's preseason."

The lone bright spot may have been running back Tevin Coleman, who had 21 yards on 3 carries, for a nice 7.0 average.

This Defense Looks Good


Not only does this defense look sharp and fast, but a number of the starters weren't even out there, including its best players in the front seven. This bodes well in the depth department. In total, the defense collected six sacks, got after the quarterback, collapsed the pocket and was pretty stout against the run and even on third down. Denver was not able to score a touchdown until late in the game.

This is what the 49ers need. If the offense struggles, they won't be dead in the water, as the defense can pick up the slack. The notable plays came from Ahkello Witherspoon on a nice tackle for loss on a bubble screen, one and a half sacks from Kentavius Street, pressure from Jeremiah Valoaga (half sack), overall good play from D.J. Reed, more high-octane effort from LaRoy Reynolds and Azeez Al-Shaair, and even pressure from Solomon Thomas, who looks like a new man.

The defense just has a different feel than it did last year and it should be a good unit in 2019.

There is Speed and Depth on the Offense


It's no secret that Coach Shanahan likes speed. It's all over the team and it really showed on offense. First, running back and special teams ace Raheem Mostert had a really nice game, rushing six times for 58 yards, including a beautiful 30-yard touchdown run. Mostert is much better than people think. He has real speed, is versatile enough to be a reliable receiving option, and he is stellar on special teams.

Rookie receiver Deebo Samuel didn't have a lot of touches, but he had a gorgeous 45-yard run on an end-around that set up the 49ers at first and goal at the one. This is the second rush this preseason and he looks fast. Samuel is going to be a real asset on this team for years to come.

Richie James had a 14-yard catch, as well as some good returns in the kickoff game, and continues to be neck-in-neck with fellow receiver Kendrick Bourne. Bourne ended up with two catches for 27 yards and a touchdown but dropped what would have been a 40-yard pass. I would bet Bourne makes the team, but James is giving Bourne all he can handle, especially when you factor his contributions on special teams.

Rookie tight end Kaden Smith had a sizable impact on the game as he kept the first touchdown drive alive with a big 17-yard reception on third and 14. He then threw the key block as Mostert made a cutback and got into the open for his 30-yard score, which put the 49ers up 10-9, and ultimately, for good.

The Bottom Line


There is a lot of depth on this team and we should get a much better feel for this team after next week. Hopefully, Garoppolo will be in a position to rebound nicely and lead the starting offense to a much more effective day. Don't hit the panic button on the first-team offense. Let's see what happens when everyone is playing.

The defense should be really fun to watch this season. It appears to be loaded with playmakers all around.

Other Notes


  • Injuries tonight - S Adrian Colbert (hamstring), DE Damontre Moore (dislocated thumb), CB Tim Harris (groin), DB D.J. Reed (shoulder), S Jaquiski Tartt (concussion evaluation - was cleared)
  • Starting Linebacker Kwon Alexander will play Saturday against Kansas City.
  • Rookie punter Mitch Wishnowsky had two notable plays. First, a high-hanging punt that was muffed by the Broncos (expect more of that throughout the season). He later had a nice hard tackle on a Broncos' returner. Apparently, Wishnowsky was not happy his kickoff was not a touchback.