The San Francisco 49ers improved their preseason record to 2-0 following a rocky start against the Denver Broncos on Monday night. Unlike the exhibition opener, several 49ers starters made their preseason debut in the 24-15 victory over the Broncos. Here are 10 takeaways from the game.
1. It was not an ideal start for Jimmy Garoppolo, who took his first live snap since Week 3 of the 2018 season. The quarterback played the first three drives of the evening and went 1-of-6 passing, including two tipped passes and an interception during the 49ers first series.
“The whole offense couldn’t really get going. We didn’t get anyone into a rhythm. I wish we could’ve gotten (Garoppolo) into a rhythm," Kyle Shanahan said postgame. "You need to be in there a lot of snaps where you can feel the rush and you have the timing and speed of the game with the coverages (and) with the receivers. You can simulate that only in practices but you’re still never going to allow anyone to hit you. It’s just getting back there and getting comfortable. Some guys don’t come back from it as well. Jimmy’s been great. He’s come back and he hasn’t had any setbacks and he’s good to go. But Jimmy hasn’t played a lot of football this last year so it’s about getting him reps and putting him in different situations and letting him play as much as possible but you can’t keep all your other guys out there as much as possible too so we’re having to deal with that as we go and have him ready for week one.”
2. C.J. Beathard was the second quarterback to take snaps behind Garoppolo. Beathard finished 5-of-11 for 81 yards. Nick Mullens was the next quarterback off of the bench, completing 2-of-3 passes for 27 yards and a touchdown to Kendrick Bourne. Mullens found Bourne on a corner fade in the back of the end zone for the score. The 49ers totaled 278 yards of total offense and averaged 5.3 yards a play.
3. Despite missing several key starters, the 49ers first team defense was one of the highlights of Monday night’s contest. The defense managed to keep Denver out of the end zone until the final two and a half minutes of the game and limited the Broncos to just 3.0 yards per play. The 49ers finished the game with six sacks and several quarterback hits. Jeremiah Valoaga, Kentavius Street, Mark Nzeocha and Marcell Harris all recorded a sack. Defensive lineman Jay Bromley, who was acquired at the start of training camp, added two more on the night. Dontae Johnson intercepted a pass from Kevin Hogan intended for David Williams that set the 49ers up for Bourne’s touchdown.
4. Raheem Mostert made the most of his extended snaps with Jerick McKinnon out and Tevin Coleman playing only the first three 49ers drives. Mostert led the 49ers running backs with six carries for 58 yards and a touchdown. His most impressive run came on second down at the Broncos 30 yard line. The running back took the handoff and turned on the jets past the secondary for the 49ers first score of the game.
5. Deebo Samuel continues to prove why the 49ers selected him No. 36 overall. The rookie receiver took an end around for the second straight game, this time, for 45 yards before being pushed out of bounds at the 1-yard line. Samuel’s carry set the 49ers up for a 1-yard touchdown run by Jeff Wilson Jr.
6. Richie James Jr. had two sizeable returns on special teams. The first was a 48-yard kickoff return and the second was a 32-yarder. James also hauled in a reception for 14 yards. He is apart of a competitive battle at receiver for a roster spot.
7. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky left Twitter buzzing following his daunting hit on a kick returner. Wishnowsky leveled Broncos running back Devontae Jackson on a kick return that drew a reaction from just about everyone who witnessed the play. Wishnowsky went on to punt a total of six times for an average of 48.0 yards.
8. Still troubled by penalties, the 49ers totaled 13 for 101 yards. Although not a vast improvement, it’s progress from last week’s 18 penalties for 216 yards.
9. On the injury front, here are updates from Shanahan post game:
- DB Adrian Colbert (hamstring)
- DL Damontre Moore (dislocated thumb)
- CB Tim Harris (groin)
- DB D.J. Reed Jr. (shoulder)
- LB Demetrius Flanning-Fowles (wind knocked out)
- S Jaquiski Tartt (concussion evaluation - was cleared)
- WR Shawn Poindexter (knee)
10. Of note, Shanahan anticipates linebacker Kwon Alexander to make his preseason debut on Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs.