The San Francisco 49ers fell to the Baltimore Ravens in their first preseason game by the final score of 23-3. Both Carlos Hyde and Quinton Dial stood out on their respective sides of the ball, but there were a few underwhelming performances as well.
The last time the Harbaugh brothers faced each other there was a little bit more on the line than there was today (something called the Super Bowl?). Still, it was nice to FINALLY see some football even though it was just the first game of the preseason.
Offensively the San Francisco 49ers looked decent with their first team out there and Colin Kaepernick leading the way although he only threw one pass this evening. That drive, which featured runs by Carlos Hyde of seven, 19, and eight yards stalled at the goal line. At that point Jewel Hampton came into the game and could not get the ball into the end zone with two consecutive runs. Phil Dawson closed out their only scoring drive of the night with a short 25-yard field goal.
Once the second team got out there, led by Blaine Gabbert, things went a bit south. Here’s a short bit from CSN’s Matt Maiocco about how his night went:
#49ers QB Blaine Gabbert was 3 of 10 for 20 yards with an INT. His passer rating was 0. Then, he threw an incompletion and it rose to 1.7.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoCSN) August 8, 2014
His night ended there completing just three passes out of 11 attempts. He did have some bad luck with a dropped ball or two, but still overall underwhelming. On his one thrown interception he stared down his receiver the whole time and made it way to easy to be picked off.
Josh Johnson came in during the third quarter and proceeded to look pretty good aside from a fumble on a bad exchange during a snap. He finished with six completions on eight attempts including one to rookie Bruce Ellington. Ellington, who showed flashes of explosiveness this evening, was another offensive player who looked good tonight and was San Francisco’s leading receiver with three catches for 35 yards. He also had a 32 yard return off the opening kickoff.
Defensively Quinton Dial stole the show for the San Francisco 49ers with five tackles and two forced fumbles. With the nose tackle position already thin, Dial is quickly making a case for himself to be the started on week one.
Fellow second-year player Tank Carradine also looked very solid with four tackles and a sack of his own. In fact, the entire defensive line looked pretty solid despite a few guys leaving early due to minor injuries. Even former Olympian Lawrence Okoye got some early action tonight.
Defensive back Chris Cook also had a good game with an interception as well as a few decent plays down the field to deny catches. His interception came when he was playing a short zone and just read the quarterback’s eyes for the easy pick. Rookie safety/corner Jimmie Ward also got in at nickel, though there was not too much from him tonight.
All in all a so-so first game for the San Francisco 49ers, but at this point it’s more about starting to get into game shape as well as honing in on those guys who are going to add depth. There were plenty of positives, but also lots of negatives, so hopefully some of those issues get cleaned up in the next couple of games.