The 49ers’ first-team defensive line played quite well — as they should against inferior talent. Thomas continued where he left off last week, and Blair also flashed early in the game. Nose tackle D.J. Jones was a force in the middle, and defensive tackle Sheldon Day was disruptive as well. The 49ers’ backups played well against the pass, but allowed far too much in the run game.
Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh chose to play more talented linebackers than you would normally see in a final exhibition game, so the linebacker corps generally dominated their opponents. However, one area of focus — for the second consecutive week — should be limiting quarterback scrambles on third down. With the recent exit of SAM linebacker Eli Harold, it was good to see Pita Taumoepenu‘s high motor, although the second-year player needs to display more discipline when rushing the passer.
The Chargers passed for just 54 yards over the course of the game, so there’s little to complain about from the 49ers’ secondary. However, the lack of veteran leadership was apparent on Los Angeles’ lone touchdown pass, as multiple members of the secondary appeared confused by the play call, but no one took action by directing fellow defenders or calling a timeout. Safety Antone Exum made a case for a roster spot with a game-high seven solo tackles, including one tackle for loss.