49ers vs. Broncos preseason live blog

SANTA CLARA — This is the live blog for the 49ers’ preseason game against the Broncos. I will update this with information and analysis from the press box.

1:01 Michael Crabtree and Patrick Willis are in uniform.

1:06 The 49ers will receive the opening kickoff.

1:08 Bruce Miller returns it 30 yards to the 49ers’ 35.

1:09 Crabtree starts and drops a short pass on first down.

1:10 Frank Gore gains nine yards up the middle on second down. On third-and-1 he bounces to the left and gains three yards. First-and-ten at the 47.

1:13 On third-and-four from the Broncos’ 37 the 49ers call their first timeout to avoid a Delay of Game penalty. Some things never change.

3:31 The Broncos go for it on fourth-and-1 from the 49ers’ one. Dysert hands off to Kapri Bibbs and Chase Thomas tackles him in the backfield for a one-yard loss.

2:05 Tank Carradine beats Ben Garland on third-and-11 and forces Brock Osweiler to check it down. The Broncos punt. 49ers’ ball at their 16.

1:18 Jimmie Ward gives up a 15-yard completion to Wes Wekler on third-and-eight.

1:15 Kaepernick overthrows Brandon Lloyd deep. Incomplete. Phil Dawson will attempt at 55-yard field goal.

1:16 Short and wide right. Broncos’ ball at their 45.

1:22 Peyton Manning misses Bubba Caldwell in the end zone on third-and-seven from the nine. Caldwell broke to the left and had Chris Culliver beat. The Broncos make the field goal. 3-0 Denver. The 49ers’ run defense did a good job stopping Ronnie Hillman on that drive, but the cornerbacks did not play well. Perrish Cox gave up a 20-yard catch to Demaryius Thomas on third-and-three.

1:26 Bruce Ellington returns the kickoff 24 yards to the 49ers’ 23.

1:26 Kaepernick still is in the game. Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd are the wideouts.

1:33 Kaepernick’s pass bounces off of Stevie Johnson’s hands on third-and-nine from the Broncos’ 42. Andy Lee punts it into the end zone. Vance McDonald made a nice nine-yard catch on the drive.

1:39 The first quarter ends as the Broncos face second-and-seven from their 48. Ronnie Hillman has gained 14 yards on two carries this drive.

1:43 Antoine Bethea is down on the field. Jim Harbaugh and the trainers are crouching over Bethea.

1:44 Bethea walks off the field holding his helmet.

1:47 Manning throws a 17-yard TD pass to Julius Thomas who easily beat Craig Dahl down the middle of the field. 10-0 Broncos. The 49ers’ coverage and pass rush has been poor so far.

1:49 Bethea is walking to the locker room. It seems like he had a concussion.

1:50 Ellington breaks a tackle at the 20 and returns the punt to the 49ers’ 33.

1:51 Blaine Gabbert is now the QB.

1:56 Bethea has a concussion and will not return today.

2:00 Gabbert flips a short pass way high to Jewel Hampton on third-and-ten. The pass tips off Hampton’s hands and almost is intercepted. Phil Dawson misses the 44-yard field goal attempt wide right. He’s 0-for-2 in this game. Still 10-0 Broncos. Gabbert completed three passes for seven yards on that drive.

2:09 Gabbert’s first pass attempt on Drive No.2 gets batted at the line of scrimmage and almost picked off. The Broncos believe they did pick it off and are challenging the play. The defender may have made a one-handed catch.

2:11 The refs confirm their original ruling — incomplete pass. Second-and-10.

2:12 The 49ers go three-and-out. Gabbert throws a four-yard pass to Derek Carrier on third-and-10. You’ve got to be kidding me. Norwood returns the punt to the Broncos’ 37.

2:15 It’s the two minute warning. C.J. Anderson just juked Michael Wilhoite and picked up four yards on third-and-two. First-and-10 at the Broncos’ 49.

2:19 Anderson gains 18 yards on back to back to back carries and then Osweiler completes a 20-yard pass to Jacob Tamme. First-and-10 at the 13.

2:22 Wilhoite is flagged for holding on second-and-10 making it first-and-goal from the eight.

2:23 The 49ers blitz up the middle on first down and Osweiler completes a quick pass to Tamme for seven yards. Anderson runs up the middle for a touchdown on the next play. 17-0 Broncos at halftime.

2:33 Kaepernick’s passer rating was 66.4. Manning’s rating was 120.8.

2:41 The opening kickoff of the second half is a touchback. Broncos start at their 20.

2:46 The Broncos’ drive ends at midfield. Darryl Morris gave up a 16-yard catch to Greg Wilson on third-and-nine a few plays earlier. The Broncos punt and Perrish Cox makes the fair catch at the 49ers’ 11.

2:49 More Gabbert.

2:56 Gabbert throws deep for Quinton Patton and gets picked off by Tony Carter. Gabbert gets himself into trouble when he throws more than three yards downfield.

2:58 Next play, Osweiler completes a 33-yard deep pass to Cody Latimer down the right sideline. Dontae Johnson got beat. He slowed down when he turned his head to find the ball. 24-0 Broncos. The 49ers have not played this poorly during the preseason under Harbaugh.

3:02 Patton returns the kickoff to the 49ers’ 39 and it’s Josh Johnson time.

3:06 Johnson trips and falls while dropping back. He gets up and fumbles, but he may have been down. It’s being reviewed. Good start for Johnson!

3:08 The ruling stands. Broncos’ ball at the 49ers’ 39. Zac Dysert is the QB.

3:12 About half of the crowd left at halftime. It looks like a Raiders game.

3:18 Kenneth Acker intercepts Zac Dysert at the goal line but Aaron Lynch was offside. First-and-goal for the Broncos at the 49ers’ 6. Good drive for Acker so far. He made a tackle, broke up a pass and drew an offensive pass interference penalty in the end zone.

3:21 The third quarter ends. The Broncos face third-and-goal from the two when the fourth quarter begins.

3:24 Cameron Morrah gets flagged for offensive pass interference on third-and-goal. Dysert scrambled for four yards on the next play. Mitch Ewald makes the 22-yard field goal. 27-0 Broncos.

3:28 David Reed fumbles the kickoff return at the 49ers’ 10 yard line and the Broncos recover.

3:41 Josh Johnson holds the ball for too long on third-and-three and he gets sacked. Johnson completed two passes for ten yards on that drive. After the punt, the Broncos have the ball at their 21.

3:46 Bibbs runs through an enormous hole and gains 11 yards before Dontae Johnson and Bubba Ventrone tackle him. D.J. Campbell is down on the field.

3:50 Heading down to the locker room, back at you later.

This article has 170 Comments

    1. Took me just 50 minutes to get here from the East Bay but I left at 9:10 and parked in the media lot.

  1. CK has no touch on his throws. They are all fast balls. No wonder we keep hearing about all the drops . Give your guys a chance, put some touch on those throws!

            1. That’s right, it’s a different game live vs. TV. Hahahha! You really do listen to the boo birds and form opinions. Awesome!

          1. Yeah okay…it’s also his job to put some touch on it and give his WR’s a chance. The slant to Crabtree was a rocket. The bomb to Llloyd had no air underneath it. The throw on the run to Llloyd was a wild guess,almost an INT. I guess it’s preseason but I don’t see much improvement.

    1. Prime, I was just thinking the same thing about Kaep firing the ball as hard and high as he sometimes does on short throws over the middle. Those can easily become INTs.

      1. Its preseason but c’mon, show some touch, show some command. You can’t run your way to a SB

  2. This is the 4th time I’ve seen wilhoite late to plays and missing tackles. If that’s how is year is going to go, we would be better off with a one legged Bowman.
    I know I know it’s pre season. But he’s not looking good at all vs basic offensive calls. And is get beaten man to man.

    1. Borland + Willis will most likely be the combo. Borland is looking very good in his second game.

  3. Looks like Bethea got his bell rung. Probably a concussion. Also looks like Fangio might have to get creative in the regular season to generate a pass rush. Sending the preferred 4 won’t hold up with Aldon out.

    1. Lou – Gabby throws a bullet pass from 4 yards away! A high school punk qb knows to take a little off on that one….Pathetic so far

    1. You think Dial gets much playing time in the regular season? He’s a run-stopping five-tech and the 49ers already one of those — Ray McDonald.

      1. I think the Niners should move to the 4-3. Might be better in keeping Smith and RayMac fresh as well as having a good rotation between Dial, Tank, Lemonier and Williams.
        Between there LB’s and dline men,their personnel seems better suited towards the 4-3

  4. Ummm. I think Dial and Caradine are the keys to future D. this year they will probably just be rotational players.

  5. Kap still misses open receivers too often. Missed Carrier on 2nd and 8 and he was right in front of him waving his arms and Kap threw incomplete over his head to someone else.
    Gabbert is just plain horrible. Harbaugh is going to gift him the backup job because of the 2 million guaranteed. If Josh Johnson can’t win this backup job, he should never touch another football in his life!!!!!

    1. Kilgore got pushed around quite a bit too. In a couple of pass plays he was shoved into right into CK.

    2. Jordo’s back & complaining about QBs;
      Prime & Bay too.
      Now we’re getting in the groove LOL.

  6. Grant – What’s your grade on the zebras so far? They look as nervous as a “Farmer John” pig to me.

  7. Gabbert still throwing passes too high. Gonna get someone hurt. Bring in Josh. I’ve seen enough of Gabbert for a season!!! He is what we thought he was? Harbaugh must be planning a Smith II resurrection. Gabbert is done!

  8. At this point Gabbert looks to be wasting a roster spot… Here’s hoping JJ is our #2 next week. He’s at least serviceable.

  9. Not that i’m a gabbert fan, but the niners have a decent reputation of rehabilitating high draft busts. And its probably too early to say that they can’t fix gabber. but in the meantime, i think they should keep J Johnson as the #2

    1. They fixed Alex smith.
      From choker to mediocre.
      Anything’ possible. But if like to see JJ getting second team reps.

        1. He didn’t do so well with Colt McCoy did he. Why do people think that Harbaugh can turn straw into Gold?

  10. Wilhoite is comedy. He’s lost out there. Borland will start for us this year easily.

  11. Waiting for someone to step-up. Ellington has shown a little flash on ST’s and Gore had a nice 9 yd scamper through the defense, but other than that it’s been non eventful at the new digs.

    Gabbert has not looked good and if J.Johnson moves he team when he comes in Harbaugh will need to revisit the Backup position.

    Our defensive secondary is getting violated as well.
    I know its preseason and the score doesn’t matter, but I would still like to see someone show something out there.

  12. I’m at Yardhouse in Temecula and there’s a few dudes with Bronco Jersey’s on and they are cheering like they just beat Seattle in SB. I feel like thumping someone now and it’s only a practice game lol.

        1. Crabs, I’m good. Just not posting much because I hate this new format. I’ll be here more as it gets closer to the season starting. Hope everyone here is well.

  13. Kilgore is soft at center. He got Kap hit a couple of times. I noticed that Kilgore couldn’t move anyone in the running game last year when he came in as an extra tight end. He’s just not big enough, not strong enough. Not good.

  14. I don’t expect osgood or hampton being able to crack the roster, no matter how well they play today

    1. Ya josh Johnson is awesome! What a joke of back ups we have. Neither one if these scrubs will be the back up. Why they cut Daniels is beyond me..

  15. Jack is this the Gabbert you expect to lead us to the playoffs or are there two NFL QB’s with that name because I’m having a hard time seeing what you see?

      1. Careful and make sure you turn your head as you backpedal there, I don’t want you to hurt yourself.

          1. So then you still believe this “And yes, I think Gabbert is a talented QB who was stuck on a horrible Jaguars team” because you wrote that also.

              1. Ok, well pertinacity is an admirable thing. I think you’ll be proven wrong on this one but we’ve all got our Achilles; Grant has Tyler Wilson and you get Blaine Gabbert.

              2. As long as Gabbert can get away from center to hand the ball off to Gore/Hyde and hit a few short passes here and there the 49ers will be fine if he needs to play. The 5 game win streak from week 4 on last year when they threw the ball on less than 40% of their offensive plays is a perfect example.

              3. You and Harbaugh seem to think that Blaine Gabbert=Alex Smith but Alex at least has some accuracy on his short to intermediate passes, Gabbert not so much.

              4. As long as Gabbert can get away from center to hand the ball off to Gore/Hyde and hit a few short passes here and there the 49ers will be fine if he needs to play.
                That’s Alex Smith.

              5. As long as Gabbert can get away from center to hand the ball off to Gore/Hyde and hit a few short passes here and there the 49ers will be fine if he needs to play. The 5 game win streak from week 4 on last year when they threw the ball on less than 40% of their offensive plays is a perfect example.

                I don’t think it’s that simple Jack. That worked at times but Kap puts added stress on a defense that Gabbert wouldn’t. With the wild inaccuracy that Gabbert is showing, opposing defenses would take the run away and force him to beat them through the air which I doubt he could at this point. As I said in an earlier post, he could be better playing with the starters, but he needs to throw the ball a lot better than he’s shown so far.

              6. Rocket,

                I see what you’re saying, but I think they could make it work. I didn’t see the Gabbert as wildly inaccurate yesterday. He made a bad decision and throw on the interception, but other than that he was fairly accurate. From a throwing standpoint he wasn’t much worse than Kaepernick yesterday.

                The only pass of 10+ yards completed by a 49ers QB yesterday was one that should have been intercepted in the 4th quarter.

              7. True, he wasn’t as inaccurate yesterday and was much better to start the 2nd half, but most of his throws were in the 10 yards from the LOS area. When he tries to go downfield it’s a wing and prayer right now. I’d love to see him step up and fulfill some of the promise he had coming out of College, but he looks damaged to me right now. Very little confidence in what he’s doing.

              8. I once thought the way you do about Gabbert. If the archives on this site went past 8 months you could easily find at least a few posts of me defending him. Good QB’s still look like good QB’s even on bad teams, they might not win a lot of games but you can still tell that they have real talent. It’s akin to a good pitcher on a team with no hitters. Gabbert has never looked like a good QB, I put my faith in him mostly because I respect Pat Kirwan so much and he believed in him as well but the eyes don’t lie. He’s never looked the part and it had far more to do with his lack of ability then the lack of ability around him.

                Now that he’s on a talented team and he continues to struggle it only backs up what the eyes have been showing us all along.

              9. “Now that he’s on a talented team…”

                We haven’t seen him play with a talented team yet. So far he’s only played with guys who for the most part won’t be around come September.

    1. All the QB’s on the Niner’s last year that are no longer with the team seem to be doing much better with other teams. I think some of the assumptions that have been thrown around need to be revisited. Pass protection is horrible. The Bronc’s QB have time in the pocket, but the Niner’s don’t. QB whisperer moniker for Harbaugh is a myth.

  16. Well, through what we’ve seen in the first pre-season game and so far today, I don’t imagine we’ll have too much trouble getting anyone through waivers this year…

  17. What a way to open Levi stadium… smh horrible and Kap better learn some touch stevie is a top ten receiver

    1. He won’t last a day in the PS. Another team will take him in and give him a roster spot.

  18. I guess one bright spot has been we haven’t given up much on the ground. The play of the DL has been better than the first pre-season game.

  19. Maybe we can trade a #1 or #2 to GB for that Scott Tolzien guy. He was pretty great last night…

    1. It appears that it is the system in GB as QB’s who leave that system aren’t as productive. I did like Tolzien in SD and here. But he never translated what he was learning into anything that would move him out of the number 3 spot.

      1. McCoy actually looks better as well. As I stated before I think Harbaugh as the QB whisperer is a myth. The Niner offensive line has never been great at pass protection. The protection was horrible last year. Watch the Denver pass protection and see how clean their pocket stays. Which is why all their QB’s looked good. When Mannings protection broke down against Seattle last year he looked like crap as well. There is always someone on the 49er offensive line that breaks down in protection. All it takes is just one. Everyone just assumed that the situation was better here than what either McCoy or Gabbert had with their last teams. That’s only based on the one good year Smith had. The line went into decline last year. Goodwin was horrible and Davis was playing injured. The rest of the linemen also had somewhat down years. Pass protection is different than blocking for the run because in pass protection it only requires one lineman to mess up to kill a play.

  20. Grant, you may want to revise yesterday’s column and rename it : “49ers’ [starters] and fill-ins can’t come up blank “….

  21. Even with the ref’s helping us out we still can’t get anything going.
    Right now, the competition between Gabb’s and J.Johnson is pretty much even – they both look lost.

    The team will need to scour the waver list in the next 3 weeks for a possible Backup.

    1. Matt Barkley, who never really fit Philly’s scheme, might be a real choice for SF. His style is closer to Gabbert’s if that is what the coaching staff is interested in.

      Secondary looks rough. Scouting report against sf, All Go Routes.

      1. Barkley is terrible, I need shoulder surgery and can still throw harder then he can.

  22. What did the Bengals do to Josh Johnson? I mean he was never great and it was laughable when people thought he would start over Smith and Kaepernick in 2012 but man he was better than this. I want B.J. Daniels back.

    1. I am beginning to think that this team/system makes QB look worse than they actually are. Tolzien and McCoy actually have done better with other teams.

  23. “…I’m not worried, it’s only our first preseason game…”….member that?

    1. Only thing to worry about is our backup QB situation, because we have nothing behind Kaepernick. Not worried about anything else, even if we lose the next two games.

        1. Couple drops in there and again its preseason, stats mean very litle. The way Kaepernick was going through reads was very encouraging. I think he lights it up this year.

          1. Any QB who plays for this team is going to have to run for his life. This line has not shown it can protect anyone. That’s why there is such a drop off when the back ups are in. And also why Danials was the only other QB to look good last year.

  24. Dial is going to be hard to keep out of the lineup. His motor and mobility at that size…really impressive.

    1. True sully..he might take McDonalds spot by years end hes one bright spot on this mess of a team

  25. Who in the hell is this QB guru the 9ers hired this off season cause he has got to go. The QB play has been terrible . Now CK may not be terrible but he was off today. Leave the QB’s to Harbaugh\Roman\Chryst we don’t need no stinking Guru!!!!

    1. Old Coach,
      Yup. right now he’ looking like the master of disaster. He may have actually done more harm than good.

    2. It was almost as if the plays were designed to get the WRs hurt. Lucky we didn’t lose Ellington fr the season. The QBs were not only inaccurate, but they looked terrified.

  26. I take back what I said yesterday that if Gabbert loses the game he would likely be booed.
    The entire team earned it today.

  27. Jack Del Rio is a good defensive coordinator. Are there any backup quarterbacks we can snag?

  28. If anyone was grading this game it would be very easy. F’s across the board, except where you might want an F-.

  29. They were saying just before the game that some 50 yard line seats were being offered on the exchange at $5,000 per.
    Can you imagine if you paid $5k for that hot mess?

    1. Levi’s corporation must be feelin good today……Meaningless practice game but still a grotesque performance.

  30. Last year’s 2nd string preseason defense was so good, many coined the term “super subs.” This year they look like their dosed on Valium.

    1. That might be a fitting analogy. Tim Ryan was noting that the Niners seemed tired in both games and suggested the smaller number of healthy guys for practice seemed to wearing on them. Something.
      But, uh, how tired is the kicker?
      I imagine this coming week will be full of caustic commentary.

  31. Hey, these new guys have only been playing football for 10-12 years. Cut ’em some slack. The 49ers offense appears to be designed for Stanford physics majors. If it takes that long to get the play in, imagine how long it takes the players to process it. Almost all look like they are thinking about each movement they make as they make them. The new guys (and too many vets) look like they took up the game at the same time as Okoye.

  32. According this this Bleacher Report article, winning preseason games in not predictive:


    But they do say individual performances do matter:

    What preseason games are good for is predicting individual performance. You can see which starters look sharp and which ones look like they might struggle. You get to see which backups are ready to contribute if necessary and also the ones that would be a liability. And you can see those guys who are trying to hang on but just don’t have it anymore.

    Winning preseason games is never a bad thing, but it probably won’t tell you much about where those teams are going. Watching the games for how individual players perform is a much better way of trying to make that determination

    I didn’t see very many solid individual performances. I saw a lot of guys losing head to head match-ups.

    1. Did they say anything about scoring 3 points in 8 quarters? None will disagree with the fact that losing in preseason is no big deal. Playing like you are new to the game is not the same thing.

  33. 34 to WHAT…???!!! (zero; you read it correctly).
    Grant, no longer will you be deleting my posts.
    Please see above for a game summary:
    ” hot mess ” . . . “grotesque” … strong language.
    Go ahead and use little words, big words, any words:
    Coach Harbaw needs to understanding something:
    The Niner fans expect better. So here is your short list:
    1. Go home and sober up (no more “happy juice”).
    2. Burn every pair of khaki pants you own.
    3. Reinvent the bleeping wheel this week, fella.

    If “Kapurnicus” cannot score at least two TDs next week
    against the San Diego Chargers, then you need to
    invest in a real-deal backup quarterback, hokay?

  34. I can remember posters raking Grant over the coals not to long ago for his less than stellar report on the Niner’s. He was just being too negative in his evaluation of the status of the team.

  35. Preseason games are a joke. Nothing new here. I can remember when Niners were winning SB’s and looked awful in preseason (most don’t remember that, of course). That said, here are some concerns:.

    Secondary – We don’t know what we have and won’t until the real bullets fly. Could be ugly early.

    OL – Boone is a huge loss when you consider Kilgore is new and has looked overwhelmed at times. Combined with Looney, a previous strength becomes weakness. QB’s biggest problem is pressure up middle. Saw it yesterday, forced bad throws.

    DL – Lack of experience or talent behind Smith, McDonald. Carradine and Dial are talented, but clueless. Dobbs and Eddie aren’t very talented, but experienced. Not ideal. Expected much more.

    ILB – You don’t replace Bowman. Period.

    Niners are team that will improve as the season progresses. First 8 games could be rough. I can see 3 losses. After that, maybe 1 loss. This will be a team that no one will wants to face in playoffs.

  36. Yes, I know Kilgore is C and Looney G…pointing out that combined they are a significant step backward for us.

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