By Gabe Schapiro
In the final preseason tune up before the regular season gets underway next week, the San Francisco 49ers (3-1) took it to the San Diego Chargers (1-3) last night, running away with a 41-6 victory. Despite several starters not suiting up, and several others only making brief appearances, all three facets of this 49ers squad were on display. Their offense punched in four touchdowns, their defense racked up four sacks and three interceptions, and their special teams unit had multiple nice returns and a blocked punt in the Chargers own endzone that went for another score. The overmatched Chargers managed just two field goals on the night.
Colin Kaepernick played for just the first series of the game, but made it count marching the offense down the field, culminating with a quick pass to rookie wideout Quinton Patton, who deked his man and ran it in for a 43-yard touchdown. Patton, who made his 49ers debut last week against the Vikings, had another strong outing, finishing with two receptions, 52 yards, and the touchdown.
After the opening series backup Colt McCoy took over and played into the third quarter. He wasted little time getting in on the onslaught, contributing a five-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Dixon half way through the second quarter. On the night he completed eight of 15 passes for 56 yards, and the one touchdown.
Third string QB B.J. Daniels who has been opening eyes all preseason, took over late and did more of the same. He threw two touchdown passes five minutes apart to put a nail in the San Diego coffin, highlighted by a 45-yard touchdown grab by Lavelle Hawkins. Hawkins, who is still fighting for a roster spot on the teams muddled receiving corps, was the games leading receiver with four receptions for 62 yards and the touchdown. Daniels completed five of his nine passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns. He also flashed his running ability, with six carries for 54 yards.
On the defensive side of the ball linebacker Cam Johnson was the star, finishing with six tackles, two sacks, a blocked punt, and managed to recover the blocked punt in the endzone for a touchdown. FS Craig Dahl, LB Michael Wilhoite, and CB Tramaine Brock hauled in an interception each.
Maybe the only negative on the night for San Francisco was the injury of RB LeMichael James, who sustained a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. He is expected to miss three-to-four weeks. With James out Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter will get the bulk of the carries. At punt and kick returner, the duties will likely go to one of WR Kyle Williams, CB Perrish Cox, or WR Quinton Patton.
All in all, the 49ers end their preseason schedule on a very high note, and look raring to go for the regular season opener next Sunday, September 8 at 1:25 PM against the always-tough Green Bay Packers at the friendly confines of Candlestick Park.