SANTA CLARA — This is the live blog for the third quarter of the 49ers’ Week 16 game against the Chargers. I will update this frequently with information and analysis from the press box.
7:15 The Chargers go three-and-out on their first drive.
7:16 The Niners go for it on fourth-and-2 from the Chargers’ 39. Greg Roman calls a sprint-right pass for Kaepernick. He tucks the ball and tries to run but Manti Te’o tackles him for a loss of two. Turnover on downs.
7:21 Leon McFadden has a head injury and his return is questionable.
7:21 The Chargers go three-and-out again. The Niners defense just fell apart without Reid.
7:26 Kaepernick throws over Patton’s head on third-and-8 and the Niners go three-and-out. Patton was running a zero-yard crossing route. Andy Lee punts from the end zone. Eddie Royal calls for a fair catch with no one remotely close to him.
7:30 Chris Culliver gives up a 25-yard catch to Malcom Floyd. News flash: Culliver still can’t defend the deep pass.
7:33 On fourth-and-6 from the 25, the Niners bring an all-out blitz and Craig Dahl gives up a 20-yard catch to Eddie Royal. Reid hardly moves the needle. Dahl really stinks.
7:35 Culliver takes one false step to his left and gives up a touchdown catch to Antonio Gates on third-and-goal from the 1. 28-14 Niners.
7:41 Greg Roman is calling a lot of weak-side leads and strong-side leads in this game. Haven’t seen much of that this season.
7:43 Marcus Martin is hurt again. Good draft pick.
7:46 Kaepernick completes a 63-yard TD pass to Vernon Davis, who runs over a defender on his way to the end zone. He looks healthy and motivated. But the play doesn’t count. Anthony Davis was flagged for illegal formation and Gore was flagged for a chop block.
7:48 Kaepernick scrambles in the pocket, holds the ball away from his body, gets hit, fumbles at the 5-yard line and the Chargers recover in the end zone. Touchdown. But there’s a flag, and Iupati is injured. Staley is flagged for illegal formation. Declined. 28-21 Niners with 3:26 left in the third quarter. After the play, Staley is flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. That’s a 15-yard penalty that will be enforced on the kickoff.
7:51 For the record, Trent Baalke drafted the brittle Marcus Martin over Tre Mason. Which player do YOU think will have a better career?????
7:52 Perrish Cox runs out of bounds at the Niners’ 6-yard line on the kick return.
7:53 Kaepernick sprints 90 yards for a touchdown. He shook Eric Weddle near midfield and dusted him on the way to the end zone. What a beautiful stride. What a beautiful knee lift. 35-21 Niners.
7:58 Cox gives up a 19-yard catch to someone named Inman.
7:59 Rivers throws pass No.3 right to a Niners’ defensive back. This time it’s Culliver. Interception. Credit the Niners’ defensive backs for catching passes thrown right to them.
8:01 Gore gains 8 yards on a counter run to the left and the third quarter ends.