After murmurs of struggles in meaningless games surfaced, the San Francisco 49ers finally tasted victory in the preseason against the San Diego Chargers. Similar to last year, the 49ers didn’t score a touchdown in either of the first two preseason games. The 49ers responded to their critics by scoring two touchdowns and beating the Chargers by a score of 21-7.
Unfortunately, the first team offense were not the ones that scored a touchdown. Colin Kaepernick and the offense struggled to get anything going at first, but then finished off their day with a nice drive down the field. With almost half of the starting offensive line not playing, Kaepernick had trouble getting the ball out quickly.
One bright spot that was evident on the first team offense was Carlos Hyde. Hyde got 38 yards on six carries which is good for 6.3 yards per carry. Hyde is playing well enough to justify taking touches from Frank Gore.
Blaine Gabbert responded to his criticisms in spectacular fashion. After struggling to even complete a pass, he led the offense down the field and threw the first off touchdown pass in Levi’s Stadium. He ended with 66 yards on 7/11 passing and an 110.4 quarterback rating.
Vance McDonald was on the receiving end of Gabbert’s touchdown pass, and seemed to be his favorite target as well. He finished the game with three catches for 29 yards and one touchdown.
Fifth round pick Aaron Lynch was a force on the line today. He ended with two pass deflections and a sack. Him and Corey Lemonier looked great coming off the edges today. If Aldon Smith is suspended for a long period of time, the 49ers appear to have great depth behind him.
Jimmie Ward came down with the first interception of is career. The first round pick made a diving grab after the ball was tipped twice by fellow rookies Dontae Johnson and Aaron Lynch. Second year player Darryl Morris also recorded an interception that stopped the driving Chargers’ offense in its tracks and ended the game.
Chris Borland had another good game and is making a strong case for himself to get some playing time on defense. He finished with a team high seven tackles and one sack.
Glenn Winston, who doesn’t even have a profile on Pro-Football Reference, had a game that no one saw coming. The rookie rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
LaMichael James had a disappointing game both on offense and on the return game. He only rushed for nine yards on seven carries and seemed to either get the ball stolen from, or was slipping on returns. With Bruce Ellington gunning for his spot on returns and with rookies like Winston having games like he did, James could find himself on someone else’s roster at the start of the season.
The only negative about this game was the offensive line. They allowed multiple pressures on Kaepernick including a strip sack. Rookie Marcus Martin left the game with an apparent knee injury as well.