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Chargers Fall to 49ers in Preseason Finale
With San Diego resting the vast majority of their normal starters, the Chargers fell 41-6 to the San Francisco 49ers in the team's final game before the regular season. The loss dropped their record to 1-3 in the preseason.
The 49ers won the toss and opted to receive. Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers first-team offense drove 77-yards on seven plays, finishing the series off with a 43-yard catch-and-run touchdown by Quinton Patton. Down 7-0, Charlie Whitehurst and the offense responded with a nice drive of their own. Unfortunately the drive stalled at the San Francisco 22-yard line, and Nick Novak trotted out to boot a 41-yard field goal. Colt McCoy took over for Kaepernick, and the Chargers clamped down forcing a three-and-out. The Bolts went three-and-out as well, however, Mike Scifres boomed a 54-yard punt back to the visiting team. San Diego’s defense held strong again and the Chargers took over at the 17-yard line as the first quarter ticked away.
Two plays into the second quarter, the Chargers were forced to punt. The defense surrendered a couple first downs, but they came up big when it counted on third down, forcing the 49ers to settle for a 47-yard field goal and a 10-3 lead. On the ensuing drive, Whitehurst was hit as he threw the ball and San Francisco’s Michael Wilhoite picked him off. McCoy took control of his offense at the San Diego 11-yard line, and three players later the visitors hit pay dirt as Anthony Dixon caught a five-yard touchdown pass for a 17-3 lead. Fozzy Whittaker had a couple of hard runs on the Chargers ensuing drive, but it stalled at the home team’s 47 yard line. Scrifres came out and blasted a 51-yard punt that Josh Johnson downed at the three-yard line. John Pagano’s defense stuffed a trio of rushing attempts and the Niners punted to Luke Tasker, who returned it 15 yards to the 33-yard line. Unfortunately the Chargers went three-and-out, and the team settled for a long 48-yard field goal by Novak to trim the lead to 17-6 heading into halftime.
The third quarter saw significantly less excitement, with each team punting on their first two possessions of the frame. On the Bolts third series, Brad Sorensen didn’t see Craig Dahl in the middle of the field and the safety picked him off. The defense limited the damage to a field goal as Dawson hit a 40-yarder for a 20-6 lead. After San Diego went three-and-out, Scifres’ punt was blocked by Cam Johnson, who fell on the ball in the end zone for a 27-6 lead. On the Chargers first play after getting the ball back, Sorensen threw his second pick of the game as Tramaine Brock stepped in front of the pass for the interception to end the quarter.
San Diego forced a field goal attempt by Dawson, and the veteran punter missed the 52-yard attempt wide right. Sorensen marched the team across midfield, but the team failed to convert on fourth down and turned the ball over on downs. The 49ers extended their lead when Lavelle Hawkins tipped the ball to himself and bounced off defenders on his way to a 45-yard touchdown catch. The score pushed the 49ers lead to 34-6 with 9:36 remaining in the game. Following a three-and-out, Scifres booted a 54-yard punt to Perrish Cox and San Francisco took over. Spearheaded by a 36-yard scamper by quarterback B.J. Daniels, the 49ers padded their lead on a Chuck Jacobs 14-yard touchdown catch. With that, the visitors took a 41-6 advantage. The Chargers offense came back on the field but were unsuccessful in converting a first down as the clock ticked under the two minute warning. The 49ers kneeled on downs to end the game.
Midway through the second Quarter, the Bolts trailed 10-3. Charlie Whitehurst dropped back to pass but was hit as he released the ball. The pass drifted in the air to the 49ers’ Michael Wilhoite, who returned the ball to the San Diego 11-yard line. San Francisco made the Chargers pay for the mistake with a five-yard touchdown pass from Colt McCoy to Anthony Dixon. The score made it a 17-3 game and the 49ers never looked back.
It was Over When…
With 30 seconds to go in the third quarter, Mike Scifres’ punt was blocked by San Francisco’s Cam Johnson. The ball spiraled backward into the end zone, where Johnson fell on it for the touchdown. The score made it 27-6 and put the game out of reach for good.
Play of the Game
With 3:26 to go in the second quarter, a perfect Mike Scifres punt backed the 49ers up at their own three yard line. On first down, Jewel Hampton was fed the ball and he was met immediately by Jahleel Addae who delivered a thunderous hit for a two-yard loss.
Stat of the Game
The San Francisco 49ers recorded five touchdowns while the Chargers had to settle for a pair of field goals.
“This is a tough way to finish to be honest with you. This is a bad taste. Obviously you never want to lose. You never feel good after a loss regardless of what kind of game it is. We didn’t play very well today.” – Head Coach Mike McCoy
“We’ll be ready. We’re looking forward to (the opener) and getting started. Obviously we’ve got a couple day break before we get geared up for game week. So, we’ve got to pace ourselves over these next 11 days.” – Quarterback Philip Rivers
“We’re just trying to come together as a unit. That’s what the preseason is all about; coming together and seeing what you got.” – Linebacker Dwight Freeney
“Just like our head coach said, now the games start to count for real. So our mindset is focusing on that next step which is the season. We learned a lot as a team. The main thing is how we came out as a group and worked hard to get better every day. The things we want to harp on are technique, fundamentals and effort. Those things were obviously emphasized and accomplished during camp.” – Cornerback Derek Cox
Odds and Ends
Charlie Whitehurst played the entire first half and completed 9-of-12 passes for a 75% completion percentage.
Fozzy Whittaker led the ground assault with 10 carries for 59 yards (5.9 ypc).
All together, the Chargers ran for 114 yards on the ground, surpassing the 100-yard plateau for the fourth time this preseason.
Ladarius Green led the team with five catches for 49 yards.
D.J. Smith paced the defense with six tackles.
Brandon Moore recorded 1.5 sacks on the night.