In the 49ers 29-24 victory over the Broncos on Sunday, San Francisco was down 17-0 in the first quarter. The 49ers first-team defense was shredded by Peyton Manning who finished 10-of-12 passing with 122 yards and two touchdowns. Manning threw two touchdown passes of 10 and 5 yards to wide receiver Eric Decker prior to leaving shortly before the first quarter ended.
The 49ers first-team defense continued a trend in the preseason against the Broncos, allowing the offense to score on them. The first-team defense has given up a total of 24 points, four field goals and two touchdowns, and has been scored on in six of the seven drives they have been on the field in three games. Manning picked on cornerbacks Carlos Rogers and Tramaine Brock who were lost in coverage on multiple plays and missed tackles.
There was some spotty play. I thought we gave up some easy yardage and found ourselves, for whatever reason, not in good football position when it came to making a tackle or break-up. So fundamental type of things we’ll look at. Jim Harbaugh
We should expect some rust from the defense, but after last season’s performance I don’t think anyone thought they come out in the preseason and play like they have. Despite the defenses poor play this preseason, they have not recorded a sack or forced a turnover, Niner fans should not be too worried. For starters, this is the preseason and defensive coordinator Vic Fango is running a very conservative defense. Plus, many of the starters are injured with Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, Justin Smith and NaVorro Bowman missing a combined five games. Bowman, Aldon Smith and third string cornerback Chris Culliver missed the game on Sunday because of injuries. A big key is getting all of the defensive starters healthy in time for the regular season in two weeks. The second play after Manning exited the game, Broncos backup quarterback Caleb Hanie threw an interception to Parrish Cox and the 49ers started their come back.
Quarterbacks Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick played really well, combining for 149 passing yards. Smith, 5-of-7 passing for 69 yards, had a 44-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis. As Davis was open on the outside all alone, Smith lobbed the pass perfectly into his hands and he sprinted off to the end zone. Kaepernick showed progress passing in the pocket and completed all four of his passing attempts for 80 total yards.
Fighting for a roster spot, running back Anthony Dixon had his best game of the preseason. He rushed for 58 yards on 11 carries and had a 26-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. Dixon might have played his way onto the roster in Sunday’s game. If he can repeat his performance next week in the preseason finale, the coaches will forced to add him to the regular season roster. He also has versatility going for him, in that he can play fullback and on special teams.
The 49ers did suffer one major injury in the win over the Broncos. Ted Ginn Jr. limped off the field in the third quarter after being tackled by Broncos linebacker Steven Johnson. Ginn Jr. gained 9-yards on a reverse sweep. Ginn Jr. might not be ready by the regular season with a hurt right ankle. Should he miss the opening game, Kyle Williams will take over as the punt returner. Keep an eye on Ginn Jr.’s status.
@home vs. Charges (Final preseason game)
Thursday, August 30