Nonetheless, the 49ers have “work to do” in order to get back to their status as a Super Bowl contender.
Jim Harbaugh stressed that sentiment in his postgame remarks. The 49ers coach was not pleased with his offense committing four turnovers (two interceptions, two fumbles) and allowing a fumble to be returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.
[PHOTOS - 49ERS VS. BRONCOS]
“When you turn the ball over four times offensively, you have work to do,” Harbaugh said. “It’s pretty hard to win a game when you do that, especially when you’re in your own end of the field and a scoop and score for a touchdown.”
The Broncos returned a 49ers fumble by rookie running back
“The defense played outstanding, really just the last two drives of the game where I think that you can point to get better,” Harbaugh said of his own defense, alluding to the late Denver drive that produced a field goal. “Not pleased about that, turning the ball over.”
The 10th game left on Candlestick Park’s schedule was a low-scoring matchup between two teams expected to be in playoff contention.
Both sides used the game to evaluate depth behind their respective starters.
Kaepernick, too, touched on the same points as his head coach. Although his first preseason action was positive, it could have been better in his mind.
“We did pretty well,” Kaepernick began. “I think we have a few things we need to improve on though. Have to keep working… We need to get better at everything on offense so we can be more efficient.”
A false-start penalty put the first-team offense in a 3rd-and-15 and ultimately was tough to overcome.
The rest of the game afforded the 49ers an opportunity to learn more about young players on the roster, plus further evaluate some of the key position battles at wide receiver and free safety.
Although the game result was not in Harbaugh’s favor, the 49ers coach is looking forward to using the next three preseason games in a similar fashion. He wants to truly know his best 53 players.
“All of this is, it all really adds up,” Harbaugh said. “When guys can get reps and get on the field and get playing, I think there’s a good turnout no matter what happens. If it’s good, then you add to that and get better.
“If it’s not then you know where your improvement needs to be made and you know who to keep. I’d rather find that out now than in the fall.”