49ers vs. Chargers preseason live blog

This is the live blog for the 49ers’ preseason Week 4 game against the San Diego Chargers. I’ll update this frequently with information and analysis from the press box.

6:17 These players are injured and will not play: CB Tramaine Brock, DT Darnell Dockett, TE Vance McDonald and WR Torrey Smith.

6:32 Colin Kaepernick is participating during warmups. It seems he will play.

7:01. Scratch that. It seems third-string quarterback Dylan Thompson will start the game.

7:03 Blaine Gabbert is the captain. Controversy!

7:03 The Chargers win the toss and defer. Wise choice.

7:06 Bruce Ellington returns the opening kickoff to the 49ers’ 25.

7:07 On third-and-7, Thompson completes a short pass to Ellington on a slant pattern. Ellington turns upfield and runs 70 yards untouched for the score.

7:08 The Niners go for two, and Thompson completes a back-shoulder fade to Quinton Patton. 8-0 Niners.

7:13 Mike Purcell tackles running back Brandon Oliver for a three-yard loss on second down, and the Chargers go three and out. Jarryd Hayne fields the punt on a bounce and gains eight yards on the return.

7:17 Hunter gets crushed in the backfield on first down after right guard Brandon Thomas tries to block a defensive lineman and whiffs. Next play, Thompson completes a screen pass to Hunter who gains 12 yards. Next play Hunter gets hit in the backfield for no gain, and the Niners punt.

7:23 The Chargers punt after five plays, and Hayne gains seven yards on the return.

7:27 On third-and-8, Jerome Simpson cuts to the inside while Thompson throws to the outside, and the Niners go three-and-out.

7:32 Arik Armstead tackles running back Donald Brown after a one-yard gain on first down, and the Chargers go three-and-out. Ellington returns the punt 26 yards, and gets hit out of bounds after the play. First-and-10 at the Niners’ 43.

7:37 Thompson scrambles to his left on third-and-11 and throws behind Ellington, who twists and drops the pass. The Niners are going for it on fourth-and-11.

7:38 Silberman gives up a sack to a blitzing safety.

7:40 Aaron Lynch chases Kellen Clemons out of the pocket on third-and-8 and pushes him down after a gain of four.

7:42 Ellington this punt about 60 yards but Marcus Cromartie is flagged for holding, which nullifies the return. First-and-10 when the second quarter begins.

7:47 Thompson takes a hit as he throws a pick-six. He really stared down the gun barrel on that one.

7:48 Clemons throws the ball up to no one during the two-point conversion attempt. No good. 8-6 Niners.

7:56 Thompson completes a four-yard pass to Ellington on third-and-26. So close.

7:58 Earlier in the drive Thompson completed a 36-yard pass to DeAndrew White down the left sideline.

8:02 DeAndrew White fields a punt at his nine and gets tackled immediately.

8:06 Hunter carries the ball for two yards on first down, three yards on second down and catches a two-yard pass on third-down. This guy has noooo juice.

8:12 Tyrell Williams drops a first-down catch on fourth-and-10.

8:17 On third-and-16, Thompson hands the ball to Hayne, who gains six yards.

8:19 Craig Dahl breaks up Clemons’ pass on third-and-1.

8:20 White returns the punt 34 yards.

8:23 Phil Dawson kicks a 50-yard field goal off the left upright before halftime.

8:37 Bradley Pinion kicks the kickoff out of the back of the end zone.

8:41 Tyrell Williams drops his third pass of the game, and the Chargers punt.

8:41 White returns the punt 36 yards. Definitely making  the team.

8:45 Hayne goes nowhere on first down, then gains two on second down. The Niners go three-and-out.

8:56 After gaining 19 yards up the middle on a read-option run, and then 12 yards on a screen pass, Hayne carries the ball on third-and-22 and loses two yards.

9:13 Jermaine Whitehead is flagged for holding, which cancels out a long return by Hayne.

9:15 Thompson throws a back-shoulder fade to White, who twists and makes a 31-yard catch look easy.

9:18 Thompson throws it up for tight end Busta Anderson in the end zone. Anderson reaches up and makes a beautiful grab. Third-string tight end Garrett Celek wouldn’t have made that catch in a million years. Second-string tight end Vance McDonald probably wouldn’t have made it, either. 14-6 Niners.

9:26 Tyrell Williams beats Marcus Cromartie on a curl route, then turns upfield and runs 63 yards untouched for a touchdown. The two-point conversion is no good — Philip Wheeler blitzes and sacks Sorenson.

9:33 The Niners run Kendall Gaskins up the middle three times and go three-and-out. They’re done with this game.

9:37 Hayne calls for a fair catch when no one’s around him. Weak!

9:38 We are now witnessing the beginning and end of the Kendall Gaskins Era. Savor it.

9:54 Marcus Cromartie makes a game-saving interception, and the 49ers win. Theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee 49ers win! Final score: 14-12.

  1. I can not wait to see Kap in the first game. It will tell all. Either he is a franchise QB or we draft a new one.

    I believe our season comes down to the first two games. Win two in a row and there will believe in themselves. 6-10 or 10-6.

  2. “These players are injured and will not play: CB Tramaine Brock, DT Darnell Dockett, TE Vance McDonald”

    Are these three players ever not injured?

  3. Aerial view of Levi looked pretty empty, but they showed the sunny seats, so many may be in the concourse to beat the sunshine and grab a bite.

    1. That would be bad. I bet the niners don’t win 6 games and Kaep is why.
      He would have never made that throw.

      My bigger concern is that the offense has all these quick routes by design and that is not Kaep’s style

  4. With this starting roster I don’t know what we’ll learn about the Niners, but that was fun.
    Now, who is going to chair the D.Thompson Should Start Ahead of Kap Club?

    1. Actually I said Thompson should get Gabbert’s spot to save money. Gabbert could have been traded if Brady was suspended. Now, probably not.

      Thompson is not making the team.

  5. so I’m thinking they aren’t playing Hayne much because he’s making the 53 and they want to save him and see what anyone else can do as his backup.

  6. Wow Kaep is so bad they don’t even want to play him anymore.

    Settle down that was a joke! This game is lame. I’m going back to watching Narcos on Netflix.

      1. I think they did give him a clipboard, but he thought it was a lunch order. He asked for the tuna salad nicoise. That was not his first read, he wanted the buffalo wings, but they were covered in sirracha sauce. According to Grant it took him 7 seconds to find the tuna salad.

        He then handed the clipboard to Gabbert who immediately spotted that he clam chowder was New England style and took a bowl Gabbert is impressive.

    1. The problem is, that so close to what you normally say, it’s not the least bit funny. No hint of humor anywhere to be found. None. Zip. Just a ridiculous jab, in a joke’s clothcing.

      1. It just defines him. Any football fan with a scintilla of football knowledge knows that the Niners are resting their starters and third string QBs do not supplant the starter even with a good game against the 3rd string.
        It is just another way for him to denigrate Kaep. So predictable.

  7. Pretty amazing. Niners lost something like 10 starters over the off season and its still really hard to break into the 53 roster. Some of the guys we cut are going to start on other teams

  8. So i read that the niners have a female trainer. and i keep seeing a girl on the field with a water bottle so I was thinking that was her. but just now I saw two girls with water.

  9. From what I have seen Hunter is gone. They might have been giving him reps to showcase him for a trade, but no one might even claim him of waivers. He has lost his quickness and cutting ability. Little push either. Davis is so much better.

  10. “Hunter carries the ball for two yards on first down, three yards on second down and catches a two-yard pass on third-down. This guy has noooo juice.”
    Kinda makes your comments from the 25th exactly what I called them at the time, premature.

  11. It’s just a matter of time before teams will stop kicking to Hayne. He’s golden for this team at a time when the brass has tarnished….

    1. Yea, at some point the staff has to ask themselves, do you want to keep the higher upside TE over what you know you have in Celek. I’d like to see them go VD/VMac/Bell/Busta….

  12. 2nd week in a row that Hunter is given the bulk of the load and the 2nd week in a row that he averages 2 yards per carry. Not really seeing any scenario at this point where he makes the team.

    If there’s any question that Mike Davis is the #2 back on the team you just aren’t watching close enough. Bush will be a third down back and my guess is he finishes the season on IR and is a free agent next season. By the end of the season it’ll be a three headed monster of Hyde/Davis/Hayne. The passing game will still be arse but at least we’ll be running some folks over.

    1. If it came to a choice between Hunter and Gaskins I would even chose to cut Hunter. Seems like they might go with 4Rb’s. I think Gaskins goes to PS again.

  13. No ice cream for Ramsey! Ramsey has to carry everyone’s gear bags out to the bus, and then wash all the dirty ice cream dishes. Coach b furious.

  14. 24 to 17….
    Question for Coach Harbaw:
    was Alex Smith among the spectators?
    (count on it, fella)
    How’s the fit on those khakis?
    Lookin’ a little snug, fella.
    Oh, yeah; go ahead & take a little longer
    with the postgame handshake, willa?
    Kyle Whittingham (the winning coach)
    deserves more than a millisecond.
    It is gonna be a long first year. Very long.

  15. I’ve liked the hustle to the ball by the D. Often there are multiple players around the ball. They react to the play as a team in unison. You know, like they’ve got a clue.
    Sorry, you’ll keep hearing this from me, but I like old Jim Tomsula. I swear he reminds me of a younger John Madden. That’s an earned compliment coming from me.

  16. I am feeling good. Before the game, I said that Kaep should add the quick slant to his repertoire, and said I like Busta Anderson.
    I am not only verbose, I am prescient. ;p

        1. What are you talking about? I didn’t say anything about Buster or about slants but int he previous thread I did mention Kaep and quick throws and your response was he needed to swivel his head, hold the ball longer, pump fake and throw the ball 50yds rather than quick throws. My point was you make silly suggestions about what Kaep needs to do and they are already in the play book. Its not like after playing QB all his life and realizes oh I should throw slants. They practice this stuff everyday. And he’s throw plenty of quick slants to Boldin and Crabtree already in his career.

          1. I am just pointing out that less than 24 hours before the game I mentioned quick slants, and lo and behold, the third play is a short slant for a TD. You can dismiss it as an amazing coincidence, but I am claiming I called it, and have blog archives to prove it.

        2. Seb here’s quote from another 49ers reporter that you should read as you stick to your thoughts on the 49ers going deep.

          Don’t be shocked if the team makes a move after the cuts to bring in a guard or tackle. I’m assuming the team will go to a short passing game that relies on Kaepernick to get rid of the ball quick and reserve deep shots to a few times a game. This line simply not ready for the vertical passing game being the centerpiece of the passing game. Hopefully Kaepernick is ready to run this season and would be well served to study some tape of Jeff Garcia circa 2000-2001 where Garcia was a very advantageous runner when forced to be.

          1. Actually, I hope the Niners can just run the ball, and pass as little as possible. Once they establish the run, the Play action bombs will be so much more effective.
            I will concede that wildly passing deep all the time is not in the cards. However, Logan wants more explosion plays.

    1. Good article- Yes Ellington looks better and more decisive returning punts than he did last year. However I would still have Hayne as the punt returner. While Ellington and White are a greater threat to take it to the house ( because of their speed ), Hayne is by far the most consistent. On the play that Ellington had the big return he muffed the ball. Sometimes that opens things up. He did have a big lane. When there is a big lane Ellington/White are very explosive. I doubt those types of situations will open up that often in the regular season with the vets playing special teams.

      Hayne unlike most returners is not looking for the big return, rather for the best available lane of the moment. It is unlikely that he would ever lose yardage. He gets yardage on punts that most receivers would call fair catches on. Those are also the type of punts that most returners end up running east to west while Hayne quickly see’s any opening and takes it north. Those big returns by Ellington/White against the scrub special teamer’s in this last game were fools gold. As the announcer mentioned- I have also not seen Hayne make a mistake and run into a defender. He always seems to recognize and take the best option available.

    1. Also generally spot on. I would like comment in respect to the length of time that Kaep held the ball in the preseason. Now you stated the average was 3.34 seconds. I would remind people of the two plays when he held the ball far in excess to that time. The initial 10 yard overthrow of Smith ( lol ) and the one where he ran too his left and held it until he was practically out of bounds. Those two plays averaged out with the few attempts he had would most certainly skew the numbers to give the impression that he held the ball longer than putting them into actual context would imply. The seven step and five step drops would also add to the average.

      It appears they were trying to work on his seven and five step drops in these games. Considering the small sample to even bring up the 3.34 seconds per play makes no sense other than to imply that he actually had more time than the eye test implied. Therefore imploring us not to believe our lying eyes.

      1. I want to see a couple games before making any definitive statements about the passing game.
        Nobody can predict what will happen by relying on such few plays in the preseason.

    2. Great article. Spot on.

      Love your points about Kaepernick. No combination could be worse than a porous interior line and a QB who holds ball too long. Being objective,with those two elements, just not clear how HE becomes successful (running a lot, maybe). In 2012 he had the best line in the NFL, so holding the ball did not matter. Now he doesn’t. Worst on paper. Is he capable of making quick decisions? Kaepernick will be given four games. If ineffective, Gabbert will be given an opportunity. Regardless of Gabbert’s results, not sure Kaep see’s field again. Harsh view, but I am not sure Kaep’s situation is that far different than RGIII’s. The 49ers could be one of the most interesting stories in sports history. Seriously.

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