Chargers vs. 49ers: The good, bad & ugly from Niners’ 2018 preseason finale

Uchenna Nwosu #58 of the Los Angeles Chargers sacks C.J. Beathard #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Uchenna Nwosu #58 of the Los Angeles Chargers sacks C.J. Beathard #3 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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San Francisco 49ers Los Angeles Chargers Preseason Week 4 grades and analysis
SANTA CLARA, CA – AUGUST 30: Jeremy McNichols #33 of the San Francisco 49ers is congratulated by Andrew Lauderdale #61 after he scored a touchdown during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium on August 30, 2018 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Good

Have a game, Jack Heneghan.

San Francisco’s fourth-string quarterback, the undrafted free agent out of Dartmouth, hadn’t seen a preseason snap before Thursday’s contest and never even saw full-team drills during training camp, according to the Sacramento Bee’s Chris Biderman.

Heneghan finally got into NFL action late in the third quarter and was under center for two of the 49ers’ three touchdown drives on the night.

San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers /

San Francisco 49ers

His stat line wasn’t terrible either — 8-of-9 for 58 yards, including a 10-yard scamper for a first down off a botched snap, albeit against players who’ll likely be off NFL rosters by the beginning of next week.

Solomon Thomas & Reuben Foster

It was a bit of a surprise to see the 49ers start defensive end Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster for the game, although both had been dealing with concussions suffered earlier in the preseason.

Both were dominant, however, as should be expected against backups and possible practice squad players. Thomas finished the night with two tackles for a loss, while Foster added two tackles of his own, one of which was also behind the line of scrimmage.

Pita Taumoepenu & Ronald Blair

EDGE Pita Taumoepenu and defensive lineman Ronald Blair are among those players on the roster bubble heading towards cuts. Both played notably well during the contest, however, even though Taumoepenu was shaken up on one play in the second half. He finished the game with three tackles, while Blair had five tackles and a sack during the contest.

San Francisco’s depth up front will make an addition of both Taumoepenu and Blair to the 53-man roster difficult.

Richie James

It was good to see rookie wide receiver Richie James have a massive impact against the Chargers. He finished his final preseason game of 2018 with a team-leading seven receptions for 80 yards, looking every bit the part the favorite to round out the Niners’ wide receiver depth chart heading towards Week 1.

James enjoyed a solid training camp and exhibition period too. And while San Francisco’s depth at the position remains crowded, it’s going to be all but impossible to slip James through waivers and onto the practice squad if he doesn’t make the initial cut.