To open the game, the 49ers ran the ball on the first five plays of the game. It worked as San Francisco gained 32 yards on the ground to start the game. This would become a theme in the game. The 49ers came out running, and run they did, all over the Chargers defense. To start the game, the 49ers marched 66 yards down the field in 11 plays to score a touchdown on the opening drive.
Philip Rivers was in the game for two series. He was getting decent protection from his makeshift offensive line, even getting time to look down the field. Chargers looked like they had some momentum starting to get going when Rivers connected with Gates across midfield. Shortly after catching the ball, Gates had the ball stripped by CJ Spillman. The 49ers recovered and took it back 20 yards where they quickly scored a touchdown on two plays.
There was an amusing play when Rivers was flushed out the the pocket and tried to throw the ball away, with his left arm. Yeah, you can tell how well that worked out. Two plays later, Rivers tried to squeeze the ball to Malcom Floyd into quadruple coverage. That didn't work well as the ball was intercepted at the 2-yard-line.
No score on this turnover thankfully as the 49ers went 3-and-out.
We had our first Eddie Royal sighting this preseason! 3-and-a-half minutes into the second quarter, Charlie Whitehurst connected to Royal for a 10-yard gain; that was neat. That brought up 4th-and-4 and the Chargers elected to go for it; it didn't work.
The 49ers took over on downs and marched down the field again and scored another touchdown (sensing a trend here?).
The Chargers Defense just looked ineffective against the 49ers second-stringers. Whether it's a scheme thing — Pagano doesn't want to give too much away — or the players just aren't really trying, the defense just looked flaccid. Kendall Reyes did look decent at the line, stuffing double-teams. But San Francisco was able to easily open running lanes and exploit blown coverage all over the field.
We all know this game means nothing really, but seeing the performance delivered tonight by Philip Rivers or the Chargers Defense, it's easy to feel pessimistic about the impending regular season. Let's hope the youngsters in the second half will give us all something to be optimistic about.
With the Chargers down 21-0 at the half, that's about the only thing we can look forward to at this point.