The Chargers won the toss and elected to receive for some reason. Things immediately got off to a terrible start as Philip Rivers looking for Keenan Allen instead found the 49ers’ Exum who returned the pick for a touchdown. The Chargers predictably started their following drive by handing the ball off to Melvin Gordon before throwing two incomplete passes and punting the ball away. Six offensive snaps equaled three yards and a touchdown that went the wrong way.
C.J. Beathard and the 49ers finally took over on offense following the punt. Brandon Mebane showed up big on the first play blowing up a run play in the backfield. A badly off-target pass from Beathard and a subsequent false start put San Francisco in a deep hole on their first 3rd down of the game. Despite no pressure, Beathard still had to check down to his big tight end, George Kittle, who was stopped well short of the sticks to force a punt.
The Chargers looked ready to go three-and-out on their next drive, but Lynn elected to go for it on 4th and short. Rivers was able to sneak the ball across the line to gain. From there, a nice catch and run by Gordon got the Chargers into 49ers territory. On 4th & 6, Lynn this time elected to try a long field goal and Caleb Sturgis missed from 54 yards out.
Taking over at their own 44, the 49ers opened things up with a 12-yard run by Matt Breida. A chunk play to Marquise Goodwin was extended farther by a roughing the passer penalty on Philon. Finally, Beathard finished off the drive by finding Bourne for a 2-yard touchdown pass.
Keenan Allen got the offense moving with a deep reception for 18 yards. Antonio Gates chipped in with a 22-yarder. And on 3rd down from the 5, Gates got as open as anyone has ever been open in the history of competitive football and Rivers hit him for the incredibly easy score.
The 49ers took over just before the end of the 1st quarter and began a very long drive that eventually ended in a 21-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
With the ball back in the hands of the good guys, Rivers found Allen again for a 16-yard gain. Gordon added 16 of his own. Ekeler then came on and ran for 7 yards. A few less meaningful plays later, Austin Ekeler lined up out wide, ran a sluggo, beat his man, and Rivers hit him with a perfect strike for a 22-yard touchdown.
The defense held the 49ers to a three-and-out, then Desmond King returned the punt for 56 yards to give the Chargers a chance to score before the half. Ken Whisenhunt called a hilariously stupid run play that Gordon made worse by bouncing it outside to run even more time off the clock. An incomplete pass later, Caleb Sturgis actually made a field goal as time expired.
Because the Chargers elected to receive to start off the game, San Francisco got the ball to start the second half. A three-and-out punctuate by a 10-yard sack from rookie Derwin James resulted in another punt and another nice return (this time, 21 yards) by King.
Tyrell Williams made a beauty of a catch high-pointing the ball over a defender to pick up 24 yards. Gordon then added a very physical run up the middle for 13 yards. They capped off the drive with Rivers hitting Gordon on a simple pass play for 6 yards and a score.
Beathard appeared to be cooking on the next drive completing passes of 12, 23, 15, and 10 yards (with roughing the passer penalties on top of that). However, as they got into the red zone, Trevor Williams jumped a route and took it back 86 yards.
Melvin Gordon caught a short pass and had a terrible fumble, but the Chargers got lucky as the 49ers screwed up the recovery by going out of bounds and Los Angeles held onto the ball. After trying to go right back to Gordon following the fumble, the Chargers elected to attempt a field goal on 4th & 5 from the 49ers’ 7-yard line. Shockingly, he converted.
Beathard and co. came back on the field, but they were unable to do anything with it after Trevor Williams made a nice tackle on 3rd down just short of the sticks. The Chargers got the ball back and despite starting the drive with a truly great throw to Mike Williams, they were unable to get anything going afterward.
On the second play of the next drive, Jahleel Addae took an embarrassingly bad angle in the open field and allowed George Kittle to rumble 82 yards for a touchdown.
On the following drive, pressure had Rivers out of sorts as he failed to complete three consecutive passes after a nice 13-yard gain by Gordon.
The 49ers took over and ran three plays while picking up a 1st down before the end of the 3rd quarter. Breida then made another nice run up the middle to move the sticks again. Beathard then hit Bourne for a 17-yard gain across the middle. Beathard avoided a sack and scrambled for a short gain on the next snap, but the real story was that Breida appeared to be injured. Two plays later on 3rd & 5, Beathard scrambled for the 1st down, but got annihilated by Casey Hayward at the end of the run. It was close, but Beathard was marked short and Kyle Shanahan challenged the spot. On further review, he was clearly short. Robbie Gould then came on to try a 33-yard field goal which he converted to give the 49ers the lead.
After a touchback, the Chargers took over at their own 25. The drive got started with consecutive passes to Keenan Allen for 8 and 11 yards respectively. Ekeler ran through a would-be tackle in the backfield and cut upfield for 11 yards on the play. Gordon caught a pass for an easy 7 yards. Then Gordon broke off a long run for a 34-yard gain. Then, the Chargers ran a toss to the short side of the field for some reason and Ekeler had nowhere to go. Gordon came back on and caught a short pass for 5 yards to set up 3rd & 3 from the 3. Then they dialed up a bubble screen to Gates for some reason and it inevitably did not work, so Sturgis came on to try another field goal. He converted from 21 yards away.
On the kick return, Michael Davis punched the ball out of the returner’s hands and Nick Dzubnar scooped it up before going out of bounds, but he didn’t seem to have full control and the call was overturned. The “home” crowd roared its approval. Breida started things off strong for the 9ers picking up 7 on 1st down, but the next two plays were incomplete pass attempts that had no real chance. The first of the two was broken up by a very nice play by Derwin James.
Behind a very solid lead block by Keenan Allen, Gordon picked up 15 yards going over 100 yards on the day. Three straight plays to Ekeler got them withing half a yard of a 1st down. They lined up to go for it on 4th down, but they didn’t mean it and called a timeout. After that, Kaser came on to punt from the San Francisco 37. It was a truly cowardly decision.
With the ball back, the 49ers went to their running game. Breida picked up 20 yards. Then Alfred Morris picked up another 4. On the next play, Isaac Rochell “intercepted” Beathard’s pass and returned it to the 19-yard line. The ball was knocked out by Derwin James, but technically the play was an interception as Beathard’s hand was moving forward.
Ekeler got the ball on 1st down and picked up 5. On 2nd & 5, the Chargers didn’t get overly conservative and threw the ball on a designed rollout as Rivers found Virgil Green for a 1st down that brought us to the 2-minute warning. Three kneel downs later and the game was over.