When Peyton Manning squares off with Colin Kaepernick, you expect offense. In Thursday’s game, there was no offense.
Instead, a defensive touchdown proved to be the difference.
Shaun Phillips returned a fumble for a touchdown, the Denver Broncos forced four turnovers and they bested the San Francisco 49ers 10-6 in the first preseason game for both teams. Field goals were somewhat plentiful, and good defensive plays were as well. Seven of the game’s 16 points were scored on defense.
Nate Irving blew up D.J. Harper on Phillips’ touchdown, which caused the pivotal fumble. Receiver hopeful A.J. Jenkins also fumbled, as Broncos breakout star Duke Ihenacho forced a fumble.
Scott Tolzien was intercepted twice, as he threw gift-wrapped passes to Kayvon Webster and Mike Adams. He led the 49ers on a solid drive that resulted in a field goal, but that was it.
Tolzien didn’t do well, but San Francisco’s defense did. Michael Wilhoite led the way with 10 tackles, and the 49ers picked up four sacks. Dan Skuta came through with two.
Kaepernick efficiently led the 49ers downfield in his only drive, and his drive resulted in a field goal. Manning went 2-for-4, and he threw for 13 yards.
Phil Dawson made two of three field goals, and Matt Prater nailed his only field goal of the day.
Perrish Cox impressed for the 49ers, and San Francisco’s cornerbacks did a great job. For the Broncos, Irving, Phillips and Ihenacho shined.
San Francisco’s defense shined, and the starting offense did well. The 49ers came up short today, but with this team, they won’t do so many more times.