Friday, September 2, 2011
Three things revisited: 49ers-Chargers
By Mike Sando
Looking back on three things discussed here before the San Francisco 49ers' preseason game against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night:
1. Manusky's intentions: Greg Manusky, the 49ers' former defensive coordinator, was on the other sideline for this one. Would he unleash Chargers blitzes similar to the ones New Orleans used to overwhelm the 49ers a few weeks ago? Would San Diego's defensive front dominate the way Houston's did against San Francisco last week? Not in this game. The 49ers' offensive line established a strong running game early, leading to 14- and seven-play touchdown drives on the team's first two possessions. Both teams had their starters in the game during that time.
2. Backup running backs: Kendall Hunter carried nine times for 51 yards in the first half. Anthony Dixon finished the two early touchdown drives with 1-yard runs. Hunter had a 21-yard run. Dixon did his job around the goal line.
3. Overall vibe: The first-team offense finished a mostly rough exhibition season on a positive note. Alex Smith completed 8 of 10 passes for 45 yards. He was not sacked or intercepted. Backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick threw two first-half interceptions, continuing a rough preseason for him. It's never a shock when a rookie struggles making the transition to the NFL, however. The 49ers were more interested in seeing Smith and their first-team offense function decently. Mission accomplished. The Chargers did not play their starters on offense, so it was tougher to evaluate the 49ers' defense. First-round pick Aldon Smith and free-agent Demarcus Dobbs, both rookies, caused problems for the Chargers' backup offensive front.
Note: I filed this late in the third quarter, figuring the first and third items were covered, and running plays late in the game wouldn't be all that critical.