The 49ers Remain a Work In Progress; Final Score Den 33 SF 14

The San Francisco 49ers played their second preseason game, first at home, last Saturday night at Levi’s Stadium against the Denver Broncos. The 49ers left much to be desired, especially with the first-string offense/defense, and quite frankly: The San Francisco 49ers remain a work in progress as they got dominated by the Broncos 33 to 14. Niners Live provides an in-depth post-game summary of last night’s events.



Defense, the Highlights

  • Eric Reid was emulating his version of Seattle Seahawk’s enforcer strong safety Kam Chancellor’s role with “Extreme Violence.” by accounting for six total tackles, five of which were solo while filling running lanes (in the box) and making open tackles at will.
  • Leger Douzable, the newly signed veteran, didn’t disappoint. He led all D-linemen on the team with five tackles, four being solo and one tackle for loss where he diagnoses the play in the backfield and had great penetration stopping the ball carrier dead in his tracks.
  • Jaquiski Tartt saw his action of the preseason for the first time and didn’t disappoint. He led both teams in tackles with seven, six being solo, one sack, one tackle for loss and one QB hit.
  • Ray-Ray Armstrong makes the list this week because his production was light-years beyond last week’s and he was more active, but still not perfect. He accounted for five tackles (which led all Linebackers on the team), four being solo and one tackle for a loss.
  • Dekoda Watson set the tone early with a violent tackle on special teams and ended with a total of three tackles while being active and applying a burst of pressure at times during the game, once again making you notice his #97 jersey.
  • Don Jones wasn’t perfect, but he did account for five solo tackles combined (which was third on the team), and filled in nicely for an (in the box) run stuff, as well as being a presence on special teams.
  • Quinton Dial had three tackles (second leading on the team for D-linemen) and one QB hit. He competed like a man trying to win a spot on the 53-man roster.
  • Lorenzo Jerome had two solo tackles total and one pass defense. His intimidating style and his ability to play with extreme violence lands him on this list yet again this week (he’s undrafted) and although not perfect, he has filled in well in the absence of Jimmie Ward.
  • Pita Taumoepenu – Take notes, the late round pick is starting to come on (flashes of disruptiveness). He accounted for two tackles, one being solo, one sack, one tackle for loss and one QB hit.
  • Earl Mitchell had one tackle total and a QB hit. However, that’s not the whole story. He was active, relentless, physical at the point of attack, playing strong against the run, and what can’t be denied is the Bronco’s featured running back C.J. Anderson only had 24 yards on 7 carries for a (3.4-yard average) with one rushing touchdown.
  • Reuben Foster recorded one impressive tackle, which he made on the sideline, showing his closing speed to hold C.J. Anderson for a four-yard gain (flashing moment).
  • NaVorro Bowman had two tackles, one being solo, but the highlight came as he had a pass break up in coverage which (coming off an Achilles heel injury is a big deal).
  • Adrian Colbert makes the list for production purposes and for his first preseason game he did record three tackles with two being solo. 

 Defense, the Lowlights

  • Rashard Robinson had three total tackles, all solo, several missed tackles and one that extended a drive on third down. He was picked on yet again and called for pass interference, which placed the ball on the one-yard line. Denver shortly capitalized on the position and turned the play into seven points. Robinson is a work in progress.
  • D.J. Jones had one solo tackle total, and both running backs (Denver) in the second half averaged over 5.0 yards a carry and chipped in roughly 60 yards on the ground. He might have been solid at times, but didn’t flash or have enough of an impact for a 6th rounder trying to make the roster.
  • Shayne Skov, the newly signed linebacker, accounted for three tackles, one being solo, but missed tackles and got overpowered on more than one occasion when it came to plugging the hole on running lanes and allowed running back Juwan Thompson to shed his tackle for a 20-yard running TD.
  • Tank Carradine had two total tackles. However, as a pass-rusher and impact player that got the start again this week, Denver’s young QB’s weren’t uncomfortable or rattled on his watch.
  • Solomon Thomas, the prize #3 overall pick in the draft, didn’t record a single tackle or sack or QB hit and wasn’t as active as last week versus the Kansas City Chiefs.
  • Asa Jackson, #31, recorded one tackle but gave up a touchdown with little resistance.
  • Keith Reaser had two tackles, one being solo. Simply put, Denver didn’t play some of their top offensive skill players outside of a three target cameo of WR. Demaryius ThomasReaser did nothing to assert himself in the mix for the #2 corner position.
  • Eli Harold got the start at Sam over Ahmad Brooks and showed flashes of relentless pursuit and applied pressure. However, he didn’t record one sack, tackle/for loss or QB hit in the game.
  • Ahmad Brooks, fighting for a starting spot and a spot on the team ( #97Watson lurking), recorded just a QB hit on the night in which he was given ample playing time.
  • Elvis Dumervil–  the veteran pass-rusher showed some flashes of pressure. However, didn’t record a single stat on the night and was a non-factor in the game.
  • Jaquiski Tartt makes both lists his touching of the football (his fault or not) on special teams caused a turnover and led to seven points for Denver.
  • Arik Armstead had just one tackle and wasn’t a factor in the game (impact wise) for his talent level (stats courtesy of

Defensive Summary Breakdown

The 49ers didn’t force any turnovers, losing that battle 5-0 in favor of Denver. The 49ers allowed the Broncos to go 6-14 on third down and rush 146 yards for 4.3 yards per rush while notching 22 first downs. There were some missed tackles and a lack of pass-rush against the offensive starting unit of Denver, and in general. The 49ers defense only mustered up two sacks on the night; one that came via Tartt on a safety blitz, the other (pressure) from Taumoepenu.

Note: The starting defensive unit had zero sacks.

The 49ers allowed 315 yards of total offense and Denver to stay on the field to control the time of possession 38:35 to 21:25. This defense allowed Broncos’ quarterback Paxton Lynch to average nine yards a carry rushing. The secondary is still cause for some concern. Why? The talk has been who’s the #2 cornerback? Is there really a #1 cornerback on the roster? Could that be the new question? Who knows, only time will tell. Where was Dontae Johnson? The sad part is, teams would rather take advantage of Robinson right now over Johnson, or whoever the #2 corner is. And yes, we know it’s preseason. But still, there’s some concern. Paging the eraser Jimmie Ward. Hurry back, please.

Offense, the Highlights

  • Pierre Garcon  caught one pass for 11 yards on one target (last week he had no catches).
  • C.J. Beathard completed 7 out of 12 passes for 110 yards at 9.2 yards per pass play, with one touchdown and no interceptions, while generating a quarterback rating of 116.7. (Hoyer watch your back).
  • George Kittle had three catches for 33 yards and an average of 11 yards per catch on five targets and an impressive 29-yard catch and touchdown run (Iowa connection from Beathard).
  • Kyle Juszczyk had one catch for 22 yards on two targets (impressive run and rumble over defenders while fighting for every yard).
  • Louis Murphy had one catch for 15 yards on two targets and is still a long shot to make the roster (with young talent in the mix).
  • Kendrick Bourne caught one ball for 17 yards on one target.
  • Aldrick Robinson caught one ball for 39 yards on one target and showed off his speed yet again.
  • Marquise Goodwin caught three balls for 44 yards on four targets while averaging 14.7 yards a catch.
  • Blake Bell had one catch for 10 yards on one target (needs a great showing over the next two games to have a chance at a roster spot/does have special teams value).
  • Vance McDonald caught two out of three balls for 14 yards and a first down (he makes both lists).
  • Victor Bolden Jr. had five returns for 184 yards with a 36.8-yard average and his longest coming from a 104-yard kickoff return for a touchdown (he makes the final roster).
  • The entire offensive line makes this list: The 49ers gave up only one sack on the night and the pass protection was good.

 Offense, the Lowlights

  • Brian Hoyer completed eight out of 11 passes for 89 yards at 8.1 yards per pass play with no touchdowns, one interception, and two fumbles/only one lost while generating a quarterback rating of 58.5 (he was only sacked once for a three-yard loss).
  • Matt Barkley completed one of two passes for 10 yards at 5.0 yards per pass play, and had no touchdowns, no interceptions, and one fumble while generating a quarterback rating of 64.6.
  • Carlos Hyde had eight carries for 26 yards for a 3.3 yard a carry average (the offensive line has to take some blame here).
  • Jeremy Kerley had one punt return for one yard and no catches.
  • DeAndre Smelter didn’t get a pass thrown his way and now is surely on the outside looking in to make this 53-man roster.
  • Trent Taylor returned one punt for eight yards and no catches or attempts (not on the bubble).
  • Garrett Celek had no catches, or balls thrown his way (on the bubble).
  • Vance McDonald had one drop pass that could have sustained a drive with a first down.
  • Kapri Bibbs had four carries for six yards and a 1.5-yard a carry average while adding one catch for four yards (see Hyde).
  • Joe Williams had one carry for one yard (see Hyde).
  • Tim Hightower three carries for negative one yard and a fumble (see Hyde). Note: Raheem Mostert is coming.
  • Matt Brieda didn’t get any game action (although that could have been to give the vet Hightower his shot) and he might have blown it as aforementioned.
  • Marquise Goodwin he makes both lists for not securing the ball that led to another turnover via interception strip by the defender.
  • The entire offensive line makes this list: The 49ers rush for 37 yards at 1.9 yards a carry and had one rushing first down for the entire game, enough said.
  • The entire tight end group makes this list: For not doing their part in the running game (blocking wise) see above rushing stats.

Offensive Summary Breakdown

The 49ers had 12 first downs (1) rushing, (10) passing and (1) from first down penalties. The 49ers left much to be desired on third down going 3 for 8. The 49ers only ran 45 plays for 243 total yards, a far cry from last week’s numbers of 71 plays for 434 total yards against the Chiefs. The 49ers only managed to hold the ball for 21:25 therefore, putting their defense back on the field longer, sound familiar? As aforementioned on the offensive lines’ highlights and low lights. Denver scored off four first half turnovers three coming from the offense. The team had 11 penalties for 86 yards, again undisciplined. The short lived rhythm the offense got into never led to points in the first half (smoke and mirrors). Denver was without seven starters on defense (per Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee).

The pressure is now on Hoyer and head coach Kyle Shanahan, believe it or not, at least a little bit, going into the third preseason game. You now have to at least consider going into the game against the Minnesota Vikings and giving C.J. Beathard an opportunity to get some run with the offensive first-string unit at least a quarter or so. If Hoyer doesn’t play well it could be a bad momentum carryover heading into week one against the Carolina Panthers (summary stats courtesy of

The 49ers Remain a Work In Progress

If you thought last week had a mixed bag of reviews, then try this week on for size. The San Francisco 49ers remain a work in progress. They need to: add points to the scoreboard, rush the passer, develop a consistent running game, bring in or develop a quality starting NFL caliber cornerback at both spots, reduce penalties, create cohesiveness along the offensive line (particular in the running game), implement consistent quarterback play from their leading man, and most importantly, eliminate self-inflicted wounds (five turnovers, one from special teams Tartt), just to name a few.

It is preseason and game two is in the books, the 49ers can’t go anywhere but up, right? Right. Next week the 49ers play the Vikings in Minnesota with a quality defense, a slightly above-average quarterback in Sam Bradford when healthy, some threats in a wide receiver and a good runner in Dalvin Cook. This could be the 49ers greatest challenge so far of the preseason and it will be the dress rehearsal game (the final prep game for the regular season). Everyone will have their eyes wide open, indeed.

49er updates, interviews and news:

Post game quotes,  Hoyer recaps his play, full highlights, top photos from the game, and here’s what head coach Kyle Shanahan had to say about last night’s loss (via the team’s website).

On a Niners Live side note:

Team captains for last nights game were (all former #Broncos): LB Elvis Dumervil, G Zane Beadles, LD Dekoda Watson, RB Kapri Bibbs (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).

Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course.

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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.comPro Football unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, EditorSequoia Sims .