49ers vs. Colts: Full game recap, highlights, scores and analysis

San Francisco 49ers Indianapolis Colts Preseason Week 3 game recap scores highlights analysis
Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images /

In Week 3 of the 2018 NFL Preseason, the San Francisco 49ers fell to the Indianapolis Colts, 23-17. Niner Noise has your full game recap, including highlights, scores and analysis.

The San Francisco 49ers didn’t have the finest regular season “dress rehearsal” today against the Indianapolis Colts. Although the 49ers outplayed the Colts in most aspects of the game, dropped passes, penalties and a pair of costly turnovers forced the Niners to leave Indianapolis with their second preseason loss in three games.

After two poor preseason showings by San Francisco’s first-team defense, the Niners’ starting defensive unit forced three straight punts by the Colts, led by quarterback Andrew Luck. The 49ers’ defensive line only sacked the mobile QB once, but they consistently adminstered pressure and closed the pocket, forcing the Luck to throw the ball early or scramble to safety:


The 49ers’ offense was the weaker link today, although quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo extended drives and led the team into the red zone on three posessions. Unfortunately the 49ers came away with just two field goals on those three drives, after falling to score on a fourth-down pass attempt from the 6-yard line.

San Francisco’s starting offensive line was impressive to begin the game, as was starting running back Alfred Morris, who finished the afternoon with 84 yards on 17 attempts. Garoppolo connected with wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on key plays, and hit wideout Pierre Garcon for a nice 47-yard reception:

Today was cornerback Richard Sherman‘s first game action since joining the team this offseason. Sherman still has the respect of Luck, who didn’t look in Sherman’s direction for the first two drives of the game. Over the first half, Sherman allowed just one short reception and forced one pass breakup:


Eventually, Luck led the Colts on a lengthy drive, thanks to a third-down pass interference penalty and a 16-yard reception on a fourth-down attempt. Luck also used his legs to move the chains on this third-and-long try:


On the next play, Luck delivered a touchdown strike to tight end Eric Ebron, who worked his way behind 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster:

With Garoppolo and Luck done for the night, the teams turned to their backup quarterbacks. With a defender in his face, Colts QB Jacoby Brissett fired this 53-yard bomb to wide receiver Seantavius Jones, which set Indianapolis running back Christine Michael up for a short touchdown run:


Down by 11 in the fourth quarter, 49ers third-string QB Nick Mullens attempted to mount another preseason comeback. After tossing this 35-yard pass to wideout Aldrick Robinson, Mullens rushed the ball into the end zone on a QB keeper:


49ers RB Jeremy McNichols ran in the two-point try, putting the visiting Niners within striking distance of the Colts. San Francisco’s defense was able to hold Indianapolis to a field goal, before Mullens and the 49ers received the ball with 70 seconds remaining on the clock.

Unfortunately, the 49ers’ drive didn’t last long. Mullens was sacked on the first play, and then threw an interception after being hit on the following play. With just second remaining, the Colts closed out the game with a quarterback kneel, which sealed the 23-17 victory.

Although the 49ers didn’t have a lenghty list of injuries from the game, Foster sustained a concussion in the second half, and defensive back Jimmie Ward left the game early due to a quad injury.

Next. 49ers vs. Colts: Live game day thread. dark

The San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Chargers next Thursday, in the final game of the 2018 NFL Preseason.