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8 Takeaways: 49ers 23 - Chargers 13

View photos from the 49ers final preseason game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The San Francisco 49ers closed out the preseason with a 23-13 win against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi's® Stadium. The 49ers sat 29 players, including nearly all of the team's starters.

That gave San Francisco's rookies and bubble players a final chance to make their case for a roster spot. Here are all of the top takeaways from Thursday night.

1. C.J. Beathard started at quarterback for the 49ers with Pierre Garçon sitting out. The rookie was quiet from a passing standpoint, but he provided the highlight of the night as a runner. In the second quarter, Beathard took off downfield, made a defender miss and sprinted to the goal line for a 62-yard touchdown run. At Iowa, the quarterback only had two full games with at least 62 yards rushing. Let's just say it surprised just about everyone in the building.

Beathard played the entire first half and finished with just 30 yards passing on five completions. His three carries went for 80 yards and the score. Beathard may very well enter the season as the 49ers No. 2 quarterback.

2. Victor Bolden Jr. provided San Francisco's second highlight-reel play. The rookie wide receiver returned a punt 92 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter. Bolden Jr. now has two special teams scores during the preseason. He also posted a 104-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Denver Broncos.

The standout performance will make for a difficult decision during cuts. Is he the best return man on the team (punts, kicks or both)? Would he make it through waivers unclaimed if the 49ers were to release him in the hopes of getting him back on the practice squad? Those are all questions to consider before making any final decisions.

3. Tim Hightower started for the 49ers at running back after not playing last week against the Minnesota Vikings. He carried the ball eight times for 21 yards and scored on a 1-yard run. He also caught the ball twice for four yards. The veteran running back is very much on the bubble.

Joe Williams also saw plenty of playing time with a team-high 10 carries for 53 yards. He returned a kick as well for 29 yards.

4. The defense allowed just three points in the first half and forced three turnovers. Asa Jackson picked off Cardale Jones on the game's opening possession. Adrian Colbert's big hit forced a fumble of Kenjon Barner which the 49ers recovered. Finally, Dekoda Watson sacked Jones, forced a fumble and recovered the loose ball himself.

The 49ers forced two more turnovers in the second half. Jackson got his second interception of the day in the third quarter against Mike Bercovici. Will Davis then intercepted Bercovici in the end zone.

5. Nick Mullens played the entire second half for his first action of the preseason. The rookie quarterback out of Southern Mississippi completed 7-of-10 passes for 58 yards. Mullens also threw a pick-six. He is a prime candidate to be on the team's practice squad this season.

6. Matt Barkley did not play. That means Kyle Shanahan has seen all he needs to of the veteran quarterback. Whether that indicates Barkley will be on the roster or not is a different story. We will find out the answer to that question soon enough.

7. Matt Breida did not play either. I'd guess he's locked up the No. 2 job behind Pierre Garçon. He's been excellent since arriving to the Bay Area and impressed during the preeason.

8. Trent Taylor impressed on special teams with his second long punt return of the preseason. He returned a punt 40 yards down the right sideline in the first half. We know Taylor will be on the team, but will he be the starting punt returner?


Bring on the regular season.

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