The final preseason game is always introduced by who is not playing rather than who is playing. Philip Rivers, Ryan Mathews, Darren Sproles, Malcom Floyd, Antonio Gates, Brandyn Dombrowski, Luis Castillo and Quentin Jammer did not take a snap in this game. Billy Volek started at QB, Mike Tolbert started at RB and a host of other backups were thrust into starting roles.
The 1st quarter started with a Chargers possession and was the Mike Tolbert Show as he got the ball on the first 7 plays (5 runs and 2 passes). The strategy only worked for a bit and a punt gave it to the 49ers who began their take over of the first After a so-so drive by the San Francisco team a long run by rookie RB Anthony Dixon put the Chargers down 7-0. The Chargers tried to go to the air later in the quarter, but Billy Volek looked shaky. Some of it was his own trouble throwing, but a lot of it was an inordinate amount of pressure from Mike Singletary's defense. Volek would be under attack the entire 1st half.
Billy Volek threw an interception shortly after the 2nd quarter started. It was a ridiculous play where LB Manny Lawson came through basically untouched, tipped the pass from Volek and caught it himself. Curtis Brinkley made his first effort to make the team by chasing down and tackling Lawson who didn't have much between him and the end zone. Soon after, the 49ers got a supposed touchdown as David Carr threw to the sideline on a pass intended for Dominique Zeigler. The WR only got one foot down in play and so Norv had to challenge the call. The drive ended in a field goal. That was the end of the scoring for the first half. After that, Volek threw another interception on a weird deep pass intended for no one and the defense had some issues getting of the field, but did so without giving up points. Buster Davis had some really nice catches in the half. One on a slant route where he took some punishment. One leaping catch near the sideline. The last was a deep pass that was almost overthrown but he reeled it in.
For the second half recap and some thoughts on who makes this team please click the link to continue.
In the 3rd quarter Nate Davis took over at QB for the 49ers and didn't do much. Ogemdi Nwagbuo got the first sack of the game on the first drive. Jonathan Crompton took over at QB for Volek. Brinkley got some nice runs to get the offense going for the Chargers in the second half. Shawnbrey McNeal got some handoffs as well, but didn't impress as much. The Chargers wouldn't score on that drive, but the 49ers wouldn't on their next one either. Instead, San Francisco punted to Jeremy Williams who methodically took back the punt for a TD. He weaved and juked in what seemed like slow motion, but eventually got through by shaking off some near tackles on the way to the end zone. On the 49ers next drive the newest Charger, CB Fred Bennett, got an interception on the first play. Brinkley helped move the ball on the next drive, Seyi Ajirotutu picked up a Pass Interference call on a deep ball and Jeremy Williams had a nice catch en route to a Curtis Brinkley short touchdown run to give the Chargers a 14-10 lead.
The 4th quarter put the nail in the coffin for the Chargers loss. The first 49ers drive of the quarter was long and resulted in a touchdown. The drive looked to stall at points, but it was more because of the 49ers' mistakes than the Chargers scrubbies making plays. Brandon Lang got a sack that was called back by an illegal contact penalty on Jyles Tucker and then Lang got called for roughing the passer later in the drive. The Chargers would go on to have a fumble by Jeremy Williams end one drive. The next was a 3 and out followed by a 49ers 3 and out. The final Chargers drive was a chance for Crompton to lead them to victory. Crompton used Dedrick Epps, Seyi Ajirotutu and his legs to get down the field, but got sacked for the second time where he could have thrown the ball away and then threw a bad interception to put the game to bed.
Who did enough in this game to make the Chargers think about giving them a spot?
Curtis Brinkley - The man hustled and made some nice runs. Still a tough call with Tolbert lined up as the 3rd RB.
Craig "Buster" Davis - Great catches. He's the real deal. No injuries. Loved his play in this game.
Seyi Ajirotutu - Worked well with Crompton on that last drive. Nothing too flashy though.
Kion Wilson - He made some nice plays including a forced fumble and had a good hit. I'm thinking PS, not 53 man roster though.
Fred Bennett - Interception enough to get that 4th CB job? Maybe.
Who wowed and then made people scratch their heads?
Jeremy Williams - He started strong with great catches and the punt return. He then fumbled and didn't look as good later.
Brandon Lang - He got a sack and some good pressure, but then had the dumb roughing the passer penalty.
Jonathan Crompton - He had his moments where it looked like he was ahead of the curve, but the interception at the end let the air out.
Who didn't do enough to guarantee anything?
Jyles Tucker - His attempts at pass rush were really ugly and he had an illegal contact penalty.
Shawnbrey McNeal - His runs were quite mediocre and he didn't get a chance to shine in the kicking game. He also failed to keep a punt out of the end zone on punt coverage.
Billy Latsko - He probably had no shot anyway, but he almost got Volek killed on one pass protection play.
Brandon Hughes - Showed up a couple times on TV making some bad coverage mistakes.
C.J. Spillman - He just didn't make the plays that you saw from him last year in preseason.
Pretty much any offensive lineman - Pass protection sucked in this game, but the 49ers were playing more aggressive than they probably expected.