The 49ers massacred the San Diego Chargers 41-6 in the final preseason game of 2013. This win vaulted the team to a 3-1 record to finish the preseason.
One of the game’s biggest moments happened in the third on special teams. Cam Johnson came in from the left side blocking a punt and scoring a touchdown on the play. He already had two sacks and pressured the quarterback two other times throughout the game.
“Cam Johnson played his heart out,” Jim Harbaugh said of Johnson. “He was competing and it was great to see. He's coming right along.”
For Johnson, it was his first big moment as he was seen for a limited time last preseason with an injury. He spent majority of the 2012 season on the practice squad until a promotion came in December. Johnson said he was excited to be playing after the game.
“I've been working hard all offseason,” Johnson said. “It's been good to see some results out here. I’m happy to be here and play at this level. I’m excited to for [whatever] is to come.”
The 49ers started right out of the gate with a 77-yard, seven play drive which led to a touchdown on the first drive of the game. It was the only drive for the first-team offense and it ended with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Quinton Patton off a catch and run. This was Patton’s second touchdown in two preseason games.
“They called my number [on that play],” Patton said about the touchdown. “I just tried to make a play the best I can. I wanted to make [Colin Kaepernick] happy.”
Colin Kaepernick finished the preseason completing 15 out of 23 attempts with 171 passing yards and two touchdown passes.
After both teams traded field goals, the 49ers answered on defense when Michael Wilhoite intercepted Chargers backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Cam Johnson delivered pressure and forced the quarterback to throw the ball early, which was an easy interception for Wilhoite to put the 49ers inside the red zone. Three plays later, Anthony Dixon scored off a five-yard touchdown pass in the flat to make the score 17-3.
The Chargers added a field goal before halftime and the score was 17-6.
In the third quarter, the 49ers excelled defensively with two interceptions, one by Craig Dahl and the other by Tramaine Brock. Dahl was able to catch a tip drill when the ball went off Nate Stupar’s right hand. Both ensuing possessions resulted in field goal attempts by Phil Dawson, where he made the first attempt, but missed the second.
The fourth quarter had the highlight play of the game. Lavelle Hawkins initially had a ball go off his hands in the air, but he caught it off the rebound and ran for an electrifying 45-yard touchdown.
B.J. Daniels also had a great play when he took over in the fourth quarter. He ran 41-yards down the sideline which set up a 5-yard touchdown pass to Chuck Jacobs.
While the roster must be cut to 53 players by Saturday, he liked the improvements from some of the bubble players.
“Even [though] it’s time to make the cut to 53, you pick the best players for your football team,” Harbaugh said of the roster cutting process. “You choose what gives you the best chance of winning. It's not a time of sorrow or remorse because you feel these guys have improved as football players. They helped themselves and their families. They can take this and turn it into other opportunities.”
Harbaugh was satisfied from watching a 35-point rout of the Chargers. He saw improvement from all aspects of the game.
“I saw a lot of players getting better,” Harbaugh said. “Tonight it fires me up and I love that.”
-Seneca Wallace did not play and wasn't suited up for the game. Jim Harbaugh said after the game that Wallace told him that he wanted to retire.
-Ten out of the eleven defensive starters sat out for the preseason game. NT Ian Williams was the only one who was playing for this game. Anquan Boldin, Nnamdi Asomugha and Kyle Williams were also on the sidelines.
-LaMichael James left the game in the second quarter with a knee injury and it appears that it’s not serious. James lacked the vision in downhill running.
- Adam Snyder also left the game in the second quarter with an injured left hand. He had an X-ray and his condition is unknown.
-Jon Baldwin struggled in dropping two passes and caught a paltry two receptions for 11 yards.
-Kevin McDermott was the long snapper for the entire game as Brian Jennings sat out. He snapped the ball well each time, including one on his own two-yard line.
-Kendall Hunter started the game on the first possession and had three carries for 13 yards.
-Kenny Wiggins struggled throughout pass protection.
-Phil Dawson converted two out of three field goal attempts, converting from 40 and 47 yards, while missing a 52-yard attempt.