This is the live blog for the San Francisco 49ers preseason game against the San Diego Chargers. I will update this frequently with information and analysis from my living room.
5:10 Colin Kaepernick will be the 49ers’ starting quarterback tonight. Two questions about him:
- Do you expect he will play well? He’ll be facing backups.
- What would he prove by playing well? He’ll be facing backups.
5:35 Here is the official list of 49ers who will not play tonight:
- QB Blaine Gabbert
- RB Carlos Hyde
- LT Joe Staley
- RT John Theus
- DT Arik Armstead
- DT Glenn Dorsey
- ILB Nick Bellore
- CB Keith Reaser
- WR Bryce Treggs
5:43 With Staley on the bench, who will protect Kaepernick’s blindside? Colin Kelly??
6:33 Jimmie Ward also is not active.
6:34 DeAndre Smelter will make his preseason debut. I predict he will make the 53-man roster, but not the active 46-man roster on game days.
6:37 More players who are out:
- RT Trent Brown
- C Daniel Kilgore
- RG Anthony Davis
- WR Torrey Smith
- WR Quinton Patton
- TE Vance McDonald
- TE Garrett Celek
- DT DeForest Buckner
- OLB Ahmad Brooks
- OLB Eli Harold
- ILB NaVorro Bowman
- CB Tramaine Brock
- S Antoine Bethea
- S Eric Reid
6:43 Bruce Miller is in uniform. Have to imagine the Niners will showcase him for a trade.
6:45 Players who seem to be active:
- WR Jeremy Kerley
- WR DeAndrew White
- RB Shaun Draughn
- LG Zane Beadles
- LG Joshua Garnett
- ILB Ray Ray Armstrong
- ILB Gerald Hodges
- CB Chris Davis
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) September 2, 2016
7:00 NFL Network is broadcasting the National Anthem live. What a circus.
7:02 Kaepernick and Eric Reid did not stand during the National Anthem.
7:06 49ers get the ball first and start from the 15-yard line.
7:17 Kaepernick completes 6-of-8 passes for 58 yards, runs twice for 30 and leads a touchdown drive capped by a one-yard rush by DuJuan Harris. 6-0 Niners. Harris’ two-point attempt is stopped. Good drive for Kaepernick, who made accurate short-range passes. He also forced a couple of passes into coverage, including a 14-yard pass which Dres Anderson caught in front of a safety.
7:29 On fourth-and-1, Kellen Clemens overthrows a wide-open Deandre Reaves deep down the middle of the field. Reaves had a step or two or slot corner Will Redmond. Niners take over on downs at their 30-yard line.
7:30 Michael Wilhoite gave up two catches for 19 yards and one first down on that drive. He’s not good.
7:34 Kaepernick takes a hit as he throws a one-hopper to Devon Cajuste on third-and-8. His previous pass was late, behind and knocked away from tight end Blake Bell.
7:38 Nickel back Marcus Cromartie gets picked by Michael Wilhoite and gives up an 18-yard catch to Isaiah Burse just before the end of the first quarter.
7:58 Chris Swain runs into the end zone from two yards out. 7-6 Chargers. Will Redmond gave up three catches for 27 yards during that drive. He seems shaky in coverage.
8:01 Shayne Skov covered tight ends well twice during that drive. He is a better player than veteran Michael Wilhoite.
8:06 49ers color commentator Tim Ryan is criticizing Kaepernick almost every play on the telecast. Ryan typically is extremely complementary of 49ers players.
8:09 DuJuan Harris bounces a run outside on fourth-and-1 and gains 15 yards. He may lead the team in rushing this season if Carlos Hyde can’t stay healthy.
8:22 Kaepernick telegraphs a pass to TE Je’Ron Hamm on 3rd-and-10 from the Chargers’ 14 and almost gets intercepted by S Dexter McCoil. Phil Dawson makes a field goal before halftime. 9-7 Niners.
8:24 Kaepernick threw short passes to his first read during the first half. He also forced a few passes into coverage and probably would gotten picked off twice if he had been facing starters.
8:35 Kaepernick’s passer rating in the 1st half was 76.9. Averaged just 5.7 yards per pass attempt. Maybe his strategy to beat Gabbert is to play like Gabbert.
8:41 Four-play, 79-yard touchdown drive for the Chargers to start the second half. Niners gave up a 44-yard run followed by a six-yard touchdown run.
8:44 Jeff Driskel in at quarterback.
8:46 And his first pass is intercepted. Short pass intended for Blake Bell. Driskel telegraphed it.
8:48 The 49ers’ backup quarterback may not currently be on their roster. Might be someone who gets cut this weekend.
8:49 Now Mike Bercovici gets picked by Rashard Robinson, who reaches up to catch the ball away from his body. Good hands.
8:53 Driskel’s second pass gets picked. Is that bad?
9:00 L.J. McCray misses a tackle and gives up a 17-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Burse. 21-9 Chargers.
9:06 Driskel misses his next two throws and the Niners go three-and-out. The way he’s playing, he’ll be on the 49ers’ practice squad this season.
9:16 Christian Ponder is in at QB. He scrambles up the middle for two yards on third-and-3 just before the end of the third quarter.
9:21 Christian Ponder throws a long touchdown pass to Blake Bell, but Bell is flagged for pushing off. Phil Dawson misses a 47-yard field goal a few plays later.
9:23 Christian Ponder is averaging 8.5 yards per pass attempt and his QB rating is 93.1 after two series.
9:31 Garrison Smith sacks Bercovici for a six-yard loss and the Chargers punt a couple plays later. Smith may be this year’s Demarcus Dobbs — an undrafted defensive lineman who makes the team.
9:38 Ponder completes a 21-yard pass to Je’Ron Hamm on third-and-15, then scores a touchdown on a one-yard run two plays later. 21-16 Chargers.
9:46 Marcus Rush just stripped Bercovici. Niners recovers. Rush has to make this team.
9:48 Ponder runs for a five-yard touchdown. His second touchdown run of the night. Kelvin Taylor runs up the middle for the two-point conversion.
9:51 If the Niners cut Ponder, will the Vikings sign him?
9:51 Marcus Rush just picked off a pass. He’s a lock to make the team. Say goodbye to Corey Lemonier.
9:59 Kelvin Taylor runs eight yards into the end zone for a touchdown on second-and-goal. Can the Niners still sneak him onto the practice squad? He’s been effective in the fourth quarter.
10:04 Game over. Niners win 31-21. Stay tuned for grades.