49ers vs. Chargers preseason live blog


This is the live blog for the 49ers preseason game against the Chargers. I will update this frequently with information and analysis from the press box.

6:56 Here is the list of 49ers who will not play tonight, in alphabetical order:

  • DE Arik Armstead
  • OL Zane Beadles
  • DE Ronald Blair
  • LB NaVorro Bowman
  • OT Trent Brown
  • DT DeForest Buckner
  • WR Aaron Burbridge
  • DE Tank Carradine
  • DE Elvis Dumervil
  • LB Reuben Foster
  • OL Brandon Fusco
  • WR Pierre Garcon
  • OL Joshua Garnett
  • WR Marquise Goodwin
  • QB Brian Hoyer
  • RB Carlos Hyde
  • CB Dontae Johnson
  • FB Kyle Juszczyk
  • OL Daniel Kilgore
  • TE George Kittle
  • NT Earl Mitchell
  • CB Will Redmond
  • S Eric Reid
  • CB Rashard Robinson
  • OT Joe Staley
  • S Jaquiski Tartt
  • DE Solomon Thomas
  • S Jimmie Ward
  • CB K’Waun Williams

7:00 C.J. Beathard is the starting quarterback tonight.

7:03 The Chargers will receive the opening kickoff.

7:09 Asa Jackson intercepts a pass that flies through the hands of TE Sean Culkin. 49ers ball at midfield.

7:10 Adrian Colbert started at free safety. Vinnie Sunseri started at strong safety. Chris Jones started at defensive tackle and D.J. Jones started at nose tackle. Quinton Dial was not a starter.

7:14 First play is a play-action bootleg pass to Logan Paulsen for an 11-yard gain. Three plays later on third-and-14, C.J. Beathard doesn’t throw to an open Trent Taylor over the middle and scrambles for seven yards. Beathard needs to throw that pass.

7:16 Quinton Dial, Sen’Derrick Marks and Pita Taumoepenu have replaced D.J. Jones, Chris Jones and Aaron Lynch on the defensive line for the second defensive series.

7:18 On first and 10, Brock Coyle and Ray Ray Armstrong run past Kenjon Barner in the hole, then Adrian Colbert runs up and forces a fumble. Niners recover at thee Chargers 16-yard line.

7:20 On third and 9, Beathard drops back and doesn’t see safety Desmond King blitzing around the left tackle. King sacks Beathard for a loss of eight yards. Robbie Gould makes a 41-yard field goal. 3-0 Niners.

7:25 On third-and-9, the Chargers run a four-verticals concept, and quarterback Cardale Jones tackles for eight yards before Ray Ray Armstrong tackles him. Chargers go three and out.

7:26 Trent Taylor returns the punt 40 yards. First and 10 at the Chargers 43.

7:31 First play of the drive, Joe Williams runs an outside zone play to the right and gains six yards. Five plays later on third and 12, Eric Magnuson fails to pick up a blitzer and C.J. Beathard gets sacked. Niners punt.

7:36 On the final play of the first quarter, Cardale Jones completes a short pass to wide open tight end Matt Weiser, who turns upfield and gains 21 yards. There’s that soft zone coverage. First and 10 at the 49ers 45-yard line when the second quarter starts.

7:43 The Chargers drive from their 11 to the 49ers 4, but on second-and-4 Leger Douzable tackles running back Andre Williams for a five-yard loss. And on third-and-goal from the 9, Jones throws a pass over the head of his check-down receiver in the flat. The Chargers kick a field goal and tie the game at three.

7:50 On second-and-8 from the 49ers 38, Beathard scrambles, jukes Chargers starting free safety Dwight Lowery, then outruns the entire Chargers defense for a 62-yard touchdown run. I didn’t know Beathard could run that fast. Did you? 10-3 Niners.

7:56 On third and 2, Don Jones blitzes around the right tackle and pressure Cardale Jones, who misses his check down receiver again. Chargers go three and out.

7:57 Victor Bolden Jr. returns the punt 92 yards for the touchdown. Made the return look easy. He now has a punt return for a touchdown and a kick return for a touchdown in the preseason. He also has two targets tonight. Seems like the Niners are seriously considering keeping him on the team.

7:58 Nick Rose misses the extra point. 16-3 Niners.

8:02 On second-and-8, Dekoda Watson strips Cardale Jones and Ray Ray Armstrong recovers at the Chargers 8.

8:05 Bethard hands off to Hightower on three straight plays, and on the third play Hightower scores from one yard out. 23-3 Niners. Their defense has forced three turnovers in the first half.

8:05 On the first two plays in the red zone, the Niners ran outside zone toward Logan Paulsen. He’s a good blocker. But it’s interesting that he’s playing in this game and Garrett Celek isn’t.

8:10 On third-and-5, both Pita Taumoepenu and Dekoda Watson bring pressure from the edge and force Jones to step up and get sacked by Sen’Derrick Marks. Chargers punt. Niners will start from their 14 after the two-minute warning.

8:16 On third-and-3, Beathard’s pass gets batted down at the line of scrimmage.

8:17 On the punt, gunner Don Jones strips the punt returner, but the Chargers recover. Jones is the best gunner on the team. But he injured himself during the play.

8:24 The 49ers lead 23-3 at halftime. Some thoughts: Interesting that Garrett Celek and Raheem Mostert didn’t play in the first half. Have they already made the team? Also interesting that the Niners gave Tim Hightower eight carries. are they trying to feature him for a trade? The old pump-and-dump?

8:38 49ers receive the ball to start the second half.

8:38 Nick Mullens is the starting quarterback.

8:42 On first and 10 from the 32, Joe Williams fumbles a handoff and recovers the ball himself. I thought the handoff from Mullens was bad — he didn’t place the ball all the way in Williams’ stomach. Not a good play. Niners punt a few plays later.

8:56 The Chargers drive from their 18 to the 49ers 19, but on third-and-11 Austin Calitro hits Cardale Jones as Jones throws the ball wildly out of bounds. The Chargers kick a field goal and now trail the 49ers 23-6.

9:05 First play of the drive, Joe Williams takes the handoff, makes a quick cutback in the backfield and gains nine yards. But the play doesn’t count because DeAndre Smelter was penalized for an illegal block in the back. Next play, Cole Hikutini makes a beautiful, twisting 20-yard catch on a pass thrown behind him.

9:07 The Niners drive to the Chargers 35 yard line. Nick Rose attempts a 53-yard field goal and misses wide right by about 10 yards. Chargers ball at their 43.

9:09 First play, Asa Jackson jumps a curl route and picks off his second pass of the game.

9:10 First play of the Niners drive, Joe Williams takes the handoff on an outside zone run to his right, makes a hard cut in the backfield and runs for a nine-yard gain. He has so much talent. Niners will face second and 1 from the Chargers 34 when the fourth quarter begins.

9:13 Williams starts the fourth quarter with a nine-yard gain on an outside zone run to his left. He has 27 yards on five carries.

9:15 Next play, Williams fumbles and the Chargers recover. Not good.

9:20 Chargers go three and out.

9:20 Williams comes back on the next drive with 21 yards on four carries. But Nick Mullens commits his second fumble of the game with another poor handoff, this time to Kapri Bibbs.

9:31 On third and goal from the 7, Will Davis intercepts a pass in the end zone. Five takeaways for the home team. Niners ball at their 20.

9:36 On third and three, Nick Mullens throws a pick-six. Niners lead 23-13.

9:46 On third and 2, Bibbs runs up the middle for one yard, and the Niners punt.

9:48 Game over. 49ers win 23-13. Stay tuned for my post-game locker room report, which will start in roughly one hour.

This article has 156 Comments

  1. This won’t even be NFL caliber football being played tonight. More then half of the players dressed up will be tending bar in their home town when the season kicks off.

  2. I’m guessing that’s a partial list of keepers. Burbridge and Blair are the only two that are really surprising. Burbridge because I keep hearing ‘5 WRs’ and Blair because I keep hearing ‘plays well but numbers game.’

    1. I tell ‘ya, the field is still in poor condition. Looks like an old rug. No large divots (yet), but plenty of smaller ones.

  3. For all you Bay Area folks – Sunshine has always been athletic…his legs carried Iowa in his Junior year, and as an underclassman he was better known for his legs than his arms. He played with injuries his senior year, and we had 0 receivers with 2 1000 yard backs – so there was no use for him to run…even if he could. Hopefully he’s the Niners future!

  4. 40 times mean very little…especially for QBs…pretty sure Tom Brady didn’t run under 5.0 nor did Peyton. Players play with pads – game speed is all that matters. Look at Desmond King. He’s a 5th round steal

  5. Any chance Logan Paulsen gets cut? Kittle as a move tight end, Celek as a blocking tight end, juszchyk in a pinch, makes him redundant? Maybe even sneak Hikutini onto the roster.

  6. Are they playing Hightower to showcase him so that he can get picked up by a team when he is cut. Or is he still in the running for a spot?

  7. Dakota Watson is the epitome of how a player can develop his game (and body). He’s not anything like the player he was when he came into the league.

    1. anybody notice the chargers dominating the LOS on both sides of ball in 1st qtr.?
      they have some bulk on their 2nd/3rd Oline, and good pressure and “gap integrity” on Dline….

      1. or perhaps our 2/3rd Oline is really not getting any leverage/push on them…chicken or egg…anyway, it wasn’t looking good till the turnovers started coming our way.

            1. Cardale has been carving us up for the most part– tonight he’s definitely the beneficiary of the lack of short/mid route coverage . He’s finding good yardage underneath — 10 to 20 yds. deep.

  8. I am wondering if the Niners are excelling or the Chargers sucking. I guess a little of both.
    This game is going to make the cuts painful…..

    1. Looks like the “Lynch-skips-his-practice-reps” campaign may be having sone effect…why else would they need to see what he does against 2’s and 3’s?

      Maybe having him in on a lot of snaps to see if he starts taking plays off? Motivation test?

  9. I’m just not impressed by Joe Williams, but he’ll probably make the 53 because he’s Shanahan’s pet. Hopefully, he’ll prove me wrong next year. There’s no way he is ready for the NFL at this point in time, imo.

      1. Thats what I saw as well. The ball did a little jump. the replay showed that the defender looked like he might have hit it. And the defenders reaction sort of implied that he did.

  10. Well the big question is has anyone helped them selves on to the roster , or practice squad. Anyone standing out .

    1. It’ll be really interesting to see if KS cuts him. That would be admitting he made a mistake and moving on from it, which I think is the right thing to do.

    2. After Shanahan personally fought for his selection and then lost sleep about whether they would get him the next day I have a strong feeling that Williams gets a pass at least for this first season. Coaches don’t cut their draft crush before the first week of the regular season.

      1. I would usually agree, but fumbles change everything and we have Hyde, Breida, and Mostert ahead of him. It’s possible.

        1. I’m with Coffee on this. I would think Williams gets a longer look just on that alone. Our pre-conceptions can be very strong. I have to believe Shanahan is no different.

            1. I liked how KS put him back in and let him run, so the fumble was not his last play to think about. It showed KS still has faith in him.

      2. You’re probably right, but there’s something to be said about admitting you made a mistake and moving on from it. As #80 implied, there’s probably a good chance he might make the PS due to problems in college causing him to be off of most team’s draftboards and his lackluster preseason performance.

          1. Sarcasm, Grant. BTW: I think you missed my point about soda vis-à-vis beer. It’s the sweetness that leads to the aversion to “bitter” beer. You were drinking a pina colada seltzer during that periscope session. How sweet was that (check the ingredients for HFCS, aspartame, etc.).

          2. you can see his speed burst/accel. and body contortion control to fit thru the creases/lanes– they open and close quick!

        1. What? Come on Prime. He’s got to stop fumbling, but he’s an absolutely gifted runner, and excellent fit for this system. He’s not going anywhere this season other than on the final roster. If he doesn’t fix his ball security issues this year, he’ll be gone at the end of the season, but right now he’s shown enough to be the #4. Unfortunately for Hightower, who’s likely not going to make the team.

          1) Hyde
          2) Breida
          3a) Mostert
          3b) Williams

            1. 10 carries for 53 yards, 5.3 Average? How is that awful? He’s got some work to do on ball security, and pass protect, but geeze, if you can’t see the running talent, I don’t know what to tell you. Incredible burst, balance, and pretty good vision considering it’s a new scheme.

              I do agree that fumblitis in unacceptable at some point, but not enough of an issue to give up on him this early in his career.

              I’ve seen this movie of rookie’s a million times. Some guys, like Williams, when they are rookies and learning a complex system, you can see that their thinking too much. Once he settles in and gets comfortable, gets his confidence, he’ll be fine.

              1. It’s hard for me to get past guys who put the ball on the ground.
                I hope he gets that sorted out cause he does look very talented

      1. Nothing written in stone that he has to make the 49ers PS. They could readily pick up another QB for the PS, depending upon who gets cut from other teams.

        1. We used to have another RB who fumbled a lot…Joe ‘the jet’ Perry….and that was before the “grip…rip…and strip” method of tackling….Williams will be just fine….

          1. I was remembering Wendell Tyler too. His seemed to come at such inopportune times. I liked Wendell, but he drove me a bit batty with his littering.

  11. Can’t be a good sign for Lynch that he’s basically played the entire game. They must consider him a scrub.

    1. Scrub. Needs to make up lost practice work. Pump-N-Dump with extra snaps hoping a team will offer late pick for him.

      1. Not really, if he had any legitimate trade value he’d likely already be gone. If the team was fielding offers they wouldn’t have played him tonight. The fact that he’s a free agent after this season is likely making it pretty hard to find someone willing to give up a draft pick for him, among other reasons.

    1. It was mentioned that sometimes they do not play vets they are cutting out of fear they will get hurt, then they would be stuck with the injury settlement.

  12. My favorite thing about the 4th pre-season game is that it means the next time I watch football it’ll be the regular season.

  13. Niners did well. The defense took the ball away 5 times. Offense marched down the field with sustained drives, but could improve with the red zone offense.
    Niners reduced the amount of unforced errors, especially penalties. Special teams were special. Couple fumbles, but they were due to the QB who will soon be waived. Williams lost another fumble, and that pick six was a Mullens gaff.
    Glad there were no major injuries, and players like Jackson and Bolden may have played themselves onto the team. These new cuts will be painful.

  14. So each team’s Pro Scouting department has to prepare a 2800 player ‘draft board’ (31 teams x 90+ players) to measure against each guy on their own team. As cuts are announced they then can decide if to make a move for a guy who must be noticeably better to bring into a system cold.
    I suspect Ms Lynch and Ms Shanahan won’t be seeing much of their spouses this weekend!

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