With all eyes on the 49ers ongoing wide receiver competition in a nationally televised game, Quinton Patton did his best to impress in his preseason debut.
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The fourth-round draft pick was hampered with a finger injury prior to the start of training camp and was held out of San Francisco's first two preseason contests.
Week 3, however, was a different story.
Patton got in the action early and left his mark in a 34-14 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Patton, the former All-WAC wideout out of Louisiana Tech, caught a 5-yard touchdown pass to give San Francisco's first-team offense its first touchdown of the preseason.
Patton finished the game with a team-high four receptions for 35 yards (8.8 yards per catch.)
"I was very excited about him tonight," head coach Jim Harbaugh said of Patton.
"He's a good physical player. I don't think the big stage bothers him. He's a competitor. I admire that."
After Colin Kaepernick and the first unit went three-and-out on back-to-back drives to open the game, Patton saw action as the team's third receiver.
"It felt great to get back out there with everybody," Patton said. "It didn't matter if I was with the first team, the second team or the third team. I just wanted to get out there."
The rookie wideout, lined up in the left slot, was able to make a key third-down reception for 19 yards on a 3rd-and-10 from San Francisco's 34-yard line.
Kaepernick quickly got things rolling after his pass to the rookie midway through the first quarter. The 49ers quarterback followed up his dart to Patton with back-to-back first down passes to tight end Vernon Davis.
"He just knows football," Kaepernick said of Patton. "I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do for us."
Kaepernick completed six passes in a row on the drive, finishing off his final series of the night with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Patton, giving San Francisco's starting signal-caller his first preseason touchdown pass of the year.
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The 11-play, 84-yard scoring drive lasted 5:38 and was finished with a solid grab in the back of the end zone from the rookie receiver.
Kaepernick went 6-for-8 on the drive for 68 yards. As a result, San Francisco took an early 10-0 lead over Minnesota. The second-team offense supplied 17 points and Lavelle Hawkins also scored on a 105-yard kick return for a touchdown to give the 49ers all the points they needed.
Patton felt good about his first game action in a 49ers uniform, but stressed he remains a work in progress.
"I still have a long way to go," he said.