For the first time, the San Francisco 49ers played a game at Levi’s Stadium in front of 70,000 fans Sunday afternoon. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they played Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos who ruined the party by thrashing the 49ers defense for 17 first half points and eventually put up 34 unanswered points for the victory.
Vernon Davis tried to inject some levity into a sullen, reporter-filled, post-game locker room. “No one call the cops. We’ll be fine. It’s only preseason and we know that. So don’t panic,” Davis said.
But it is a little daunting knowing the 49ers have not yet scored a touchdown and been outscored 57-3 so far this year in only two preseason games.
Former All-Pro center Jeremy Newberry said, “I’m not sure the backup quarterback is on the roster.” An astonishing statement since the 49ers are spending 2.1 million on Blaine Gabbert's base salary. Gabbert today was ineffective and looked like he wasn’t ready for prime time again after a poor outing in the first preseason game.
In two quarters of work, mainly against second stringers, Gabbert was 8 for 14 for 40 yards and had an under-thrown ball intercepted. “They’re all turning the ball over. Whoever doesn’t turn the ball over will be the backup quarterback,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said.
49ers' quarterback Colin Kaepernick was 5 for 9 for 39 yards but was limited to only two series in the first quarter.
Meanwhile the defense got shredded by both Denver quarterbacks who threw to two handful’s of different receivers and made the 49ers secondary look like they were playing catch-me-if-you-can with crossing routes and short dump passes.
Manning, and backup Brock Osweiler, completed passes to eight different receivers in the first half.
It is only preseason and the 49ers do play the Broncos in the regular season so they weren’t showing the full playlist but it was tough to watch knowing they’re NFL caliber athletes.
Peyton Manning was 12 for 14 for 102 yards and threw a touchdown. Backup Brock Osweiler was 10 for 13 and 105 yards with a perfectly thrown touchdown pass. In the fourth quarter, Zac Dysert went 8 for 11 for 63 yards and a touchdown
“We just need to come out and compete and play better,” Corey Lemonier said. “The coaches aren’t too happy, that’s for sure. It always sucks to lose, whether it’s regular season or preseason.”
Adding insult to the anemic offense, 49ers’ kicker Phil Dawson missed two first half field goal attempts from 55 and 44 yards.
“It was great to be out there for first time in new stadium. It was a great atmosphere a lot more noise than at Candlestick,” Colin Kaepernick said.
Not helping the 49ers were 4 turnovers. Denver didn’t commit one.
But, it’s only preseason.