After a pair of ineffective plays, the opening drive looked like a lost cause on 3rd & 8 until Geno Smith scrambled for a 1st down. A roughing the passer penalty and a 20-yard scramble moved the Chargers into 49ers territory. A 10-yard Newsome run kept the drive moving, but it eventually stalled out and Roberto Aguayo came on to kick a 36-yard field goal making him 2 for 2 during the preseason.
Derwin James showed up immediately on the 49ers first snap with a run stop against Alfred Morris after 2 yards. Kyzir White got a top on the next play. And on 3rd down, Uchenna Nwosu collected his third sack of the preseason. J.J. Jones fielded the punt after a bounced and managed to fight for a few yards before being tackled.
Detrez Newsome broke a big run on 1st down, but a holding penalty against Cole Toner brought it back. Still, it was an impressive play by Newsome. Ruben Foster quickly recognized and blew up a screen pass on the repeat down. Andre Patton hauled in a pass from Geno Smith and picked up a few yards after catch to bring up 3rd & 15. Smith tried to scramble on 3rd down, but he was tackled well short of the line to gain. Adrian Phillips made an excellent tackle after a long punt.
Steven Richardson and Chris Landrum stuffed Raheem Mostert for a loss on 1st down. Nick Mullens underthrew Aldrick Robinson for an incomplete pass on 2nd. On 3rd & 10, Mullens threw too high and the ball hit the ground, but Phillips was flagged for a personal foul for his hit on the defenseless receiver to keep the drive alive. On the first play of the new set of downs, Chris Landrum beat his man inside to sack Mullens. Quick pressure flushed Mullens who scrambled for a few yards before giving himself up. Mullens looked for and missed Robinson on 3rd down to force a punt.
Jackson saw a carry for no gain to start the drive. Smith found Anthony Manzo-Lewis on a short pass to pick up 5 yards on the next play. Smith’s pass fell incomplete on 3rd down and Drew Kaser boomed a 42-yard punt out of bounds.
The first play of the drive was a 5-yard run by Mostert. On 2nd down, Landrum blew up Mullens and forced a fumble which the Chargers recovered.
Three plays later including a sack, the Chargers settled for a field goal attempt that Caleb Sturgis nailed from 36 yards out.
Mullens kept the ball on 1st down and rushed around right end for 11 yards and a new set of downs. Pressure of Landrum on the next play forced a quick and inaccurate pass that hit the turf. On 2nd down, Mostert caught a quick pass and came within a yard of a 1st down. Mostert got the call on 3rd & 1 and he forced his way up the middle past the line to gain. Nwosu made a nice tackle on Mostert on 1st down to hold him to a 2-yard gain. Malcolm Johnson beat Craig Mager and easily picked up another 1st down. Dwelley found an opening in coverage between Jatavis Brown and Adrian Phillips to pick up 21 yards across the middle. Jeremy McNichols came on for the next play and was topped for no gain. Mostert made a juggling catch to pick up 4 yards on 2nd down. Then on 3rd down, Steven Dunbar caught a 9-yard pass for yet another 1st down. The defense stood strong on 1st an goal from the 5 stopping Mostert for no gain. However, on 2nd down, Mullens rushed for the score after faking a handoff.
Jones received the kickoff 3 yards deep in the end zone and managed to return it out to the 27-yard line. Artavis Scott appeared to injure his right leg on the play. Cardale Jones replaced Smith at quarterback to start the drive. Newsome broke through the line and rushed for 14 yards on 1st down. He added 7 on the next play and 4 more after that to keep the chains moving. Jones showed up in a non-special teams capacity on the next play picking up 4 yards on an endaround. Jones was sacked for a big loss on the following snap, but a facemask penalty wiped that out and instead gave another 1st down. Geremy Davis collected his first reception of the night as he hauled in a pass along the left sideline for 9 yards. Following the two-minute warning, Watson took a carry up the gut for only a yard. His next carry was more effective as he rushed 14 yards to the San Francisco 3. Jones tried to keep the ball himself on 1st & goal, but was easily stopped behind the line. Watson was able to run behind the right side for 4 yards and a touchdown as time expired in the half. Aguayo converted on the point after attempt. The Chargers went into the locker room up 13-7.
On 1st & 20 following a holding call, McNichols broke a run back to the left and lost possession of the ball while being tackled by D’Juan Hines. The Chargers’ Tony Brown recovered and the play had to be reviewed, but the ruling on the field stood as the ball clearly came loose before he was down.
Watson got the first touch of the drive and picked up 2 yards. He got the call again on 2nd down and picked up 3 more. On 3rd down, Jones was patient and waited for Andre Patton to come open in the end zone. From there it was an easy pitch and catch for 6 points. Sturgis converted the point after attempt. The 3-play drive made it 20-7 Chargers.
On 1st down, pressure forced an errant pass from Mullens. On 2nd down, Mullens hit his man but Victor Bolden couldn’t secure the pass. On 3rd & 10, Brandon Facyson made a very nice play on the ball to break up the pass. Jones was back deep to return the punt and he caught it with room to work, but after a bobble he ran laterally and actually lost yardage.
Watson opened the drive running for 12 yards behind a solid lead block from Manzo-Lewis. A holding penalty by Johnson brought the play back. A pass intended for Russell Hansbrough fell incomplete and an illegal hands to the face penalty made matters worse. On 1st & 20, Geremy Davis picked up 7 yards on a pass from Jones. On the next play, Jones had Patton open, but he skipped the ball to him. Following a less than stellar punt, Hines made a great open field tackle while being blocked in the back by Dunbar.
Running back Jeffrey Wilson got the first two carries of the drive picking up 6 yards and setting up a 3rd & manageable that Mullens was able to convert through the air. On the next play, Mullens threw in the vicinity of Dwelley to avoid an intentional grounding penalty. Richardson made a nice tackle from behind to stop Wilson on 2nd & 10. On 3rd down, Richie James easily beat the coverage and made a very nice catch along the sideline. Wilson ran laterally on the next play before finally turning upfield and getting back to the line of scrimmage. A quick hitter to James on the next down picked up 9 yards. Wilson then rushed for 5 yards and moved the chains on 3rd & 1. Mullens completed a pair of short passes to set up 3rd & 3 from the Chargers 4. McNichols was stopped after 2 yards and the 49ers lined up again to try on 4th down. McNichols was stopped for a loss. He never had a chance.
In the shadow of their own end zone, the Chargers started their drive with a handoff to Watson that went nowhere. On the next play, Jones missed his intended target. Finally, on 3rd down, Jones barely avoided a safety before throwing an incomplete pass. Tripucka’s 49-yard punt was returned by James for 23 yards to give the 49ers a short field.
Patrick Afriyie blew up the first play of the drive stopping Wilson for no gain. A false start moved them back 5 yards. Then a Richie James reception got them back to the original line of scrimmage. Jeff Richards was flagged for defensive pass interference on 3rd down and the 49ers needed just a 2-yard run from Wilson following it to put up 6 points.
Nic Shimonek’s first pass went to Hansbrough behind the line of scrimmage and he ran through a defender to pick up 3 yards and end the 3rd quarter. Shimonek looked to Hansbrough again and he took the pass for 12 yards. Hansbrough then got a carry that he turned into 3 more yards. Shimonek was sacked on the next play thanks to a missed blitz pickup by Hansbrough. And on 3rd & 16, Hansbrough took a screen 12 yards but still 4 short of the 1st. Tripucka’s 48-yard punt netted 44 yards thanks to solid punt coverage.
McNichols got the call on the first 2 plays of the drive picking up 9 and 8 yards respectively. On the third straight handoff McNicholls was swallowed up in the backfield by three defenders. Dwelley caught a short pass to the left and was immediately met by Edmond. Richie James continued to terrorize the defense on 3rd down taking a quick pass for 18 yards most of it after the catch. Heneghan’s next pass fell incomplete and following that he rushed for 7 yards. The next play was a bad snap that Heneghan picked up and ran up the middle for 10 yards. Two Heneghan passes moved the sticks again and got the 49ers into the redzone. A 5-yard pass and a run for no gain set up a 3rd & 5 from the 15. Heneghan passed to Bolden for a loss of 1 yard. On 4th & 6, the 49ers decided to go for it and once again the Chargers could not stop James as he picked up 9 yards across the middle. McNichols rushed up the middle for 6 yards and 6 points on the next snap. Robbie Gould’s extra point put the 49ers up 21-20.
Detrez Newsome continued to show why he belongs on the 53-man roster by returning the kickoff 63 yards. He ran through multiple tackles on his way. Justin Jackson got another carry and gained another yard. Je’Ron Hamm caught a 6-yard pass before the two-minute warning. Justice Liggins made his first catch of the night and picked up the 1st down. Jackson got another carry and picked up 2 yards. On his next carry, Jackson broke one and picked up 18 yards on his way to the 49ers’ 8-yard line. Roberto Aguayo then attempted and made the game-winning field goal.