The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their 2023 preseason slate with a 23-12 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
Here are five things that stood out.
The 49ers starting quarterback was crisp, hitting five of nine attempts and scoring on a five yard scramble. On the first possession he hit Jordan Mason for a gain of 13 and Brandon Aiyuk for a gain of 35 to move the chains on third down.
Purdy played three series this preseason, leading the offense deep into the redzone on each. He looks ready to pick up where he left off last season when the 49ers won eight straight before his injury in the NFC championship game.
The 49ers Sam Darnold as the backup quarterback Wednesday and traded Trey Lance to the Dallas Cowboys prior to the game. According to Kyle Shanahan, Lance had requested a trade following receiving the news.
Darnold and Brandon Allen combined to go 8-17 for 112 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
If something happens to Brock Purdy the 49ers are in trouble. Their quarterback room is worse this year than it was in 2022.
San Francisco’s run defense has struggled throughout the preseason. On the second play of the Chargers second possession, Joshua Kelly ran untouched straight through the heart of the 49ers defense for a 75-yard touchdown.
Making this more concerning is the 49ers were facing the Chargers backup offensive line. Still, Javon Kinlaw and Kevin Givens were blown off the ball time and time again. When they were replaced by T.Y. McGill and Kalia Davis that changed, and the linebackers were finally able to run and make plays.
The 49ers used a second-round pick on Jackson last year. He made his preseason debut tonight after missing the first two games. Playing against the Chargers backup offensive line he struggled to generate a pass rush. The lack of a pass rush helped Jackson when he batted a pass into the air and nearly came away with an interception. Although the play will make some highlight reels it wasn’t as good as it might seem.
An argument can be made that Austin Bryant is a better player at defensive end right now than Jackson. The veteran has been able to generate a consistent pass rush and set the edge in the run game.
San Francisco gave Oliver $2.91 million guaranteed during free agency to replace Jimmy Ward at nickelback.
After a strong start to the offseason, the veteran has fallen off. As a result, he played until the end of the game. Steve Wilks has also begun sliding Deommodore Lenoir inside in passing situations and bringing Ambry Thomas in to play outside.
In tonight’s game Oliver failed to set the edge on a run to the left side leading to a 20-yard run by Chargers quarterback Max Duggan down to the 49ers 11. A few plays later, Oliver slowed up instead of attacking Duggan who had rolled out of the pocket. This allowed Duggan to hit tight end Hunter Kampmoyer for a three-yard touchdown.