Sports Out West

49ers vs. Chargers, preseason Week 4 game thread

Photo Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers are hosting the defending NFC West champion San Francisco 49ers in a game that literally means nothing.

That is, unless you’re among the players trying to secure a spot on the roster on either side as cuts down to the final 53 players loom. Sports Out West is on hand, and has all of the action live.  

1st Quarter — 49ers 7, Chargers 3

The 49ers started with the ball, and it didn’t take long for them to find the end zone as Quinton Patton took a screen pass from Colin Kaepernick 43 yards for the score. What stuck out most on the Bolts’ side was the fact that none of their starters on defense were in the game. That manifested itself in the Niners dissecting the Bolts second-stringers for an easy seven-play, 77-yard drive. 

The Chargers answered back with a nine-play, 53-yard drive of their own that concluded with Nick Novak‘s 41-yard field goal. 

Analysis: 

The Chargers’ offense looked relatively balanced in the first 15 minutes. They had some miscues in the passing game, but Charlie Whitehurst looked serviceable, hitting 7-of-9 passes for 70 yards. 

One surprise was the fact that Kaepernick started at all, but it turned out to be a one-series tune-up before Week 1 begins. 

2nd Quarter — 49ers 17, Chargers 6

It took eight plays for the 49ers to go just 28 yards in 3:48. Phil Dawson finished off the drive with a 47-yard field goal, making the score 10-3. 

Whitehursts interception inside of the nine-minute mark put the 49ers in good field position. After that, it only took one minute for them to put together four plays that culminated in an 5-yard swing pass to Anthony Dixon for the touchdown to put the Niners up 17-3. 

The Chargers decided to punt on fourth and short to the dismay of the crowd.

Good field position didn’t make a difference, as the Chargers went four yards in four plays in 1:28 near the two-minute mark to close out the half with Nick Novak‘s 48-yard field goal.  

Analysis

Robert Meachem is getting a healthy share of looks, and he is one player who most needs to capitalize on his opportunity. It’ll be interesting to see how often his number is called in the second half. 

Neither team’s offense looked sharp, and penalties are starting to mount as the inexperience is beginning to show. This is preseason football, Week 4, and it’s clear that players are pressing a bit — it’s starting to look like it on every snap. 

Everything about the second quarter is pedestrian, and it will be interesting to see if the third-stringers, particularly Brad Sorensen, inject any life into the contest. Fozzy Whittaker is running hard, and that’s an encouraging sign. 

3rd Quarter — 49ers 27, Chargers 6

The first pass attempt from Sorensen in the second half is a completion to none other than Meachem, who’s already matched his season-high from a season ago with four receptions for 23 yards.

McCoy surprisingly remained in the game to start the second half, playing one series before B.J. Daniels took over at signal-caller for the 49ers. 

On the Bolts’ side of the ball, Sorensen started off slowly before they took a turn for the worse. Craig Dahl picked off a pass that was tipped and ended the Chargers’ third drive of the second half. 

Phil Dawson extended the lead, 20-6 with a 40-yard field goal that looked good from 65. 

After a quick three-and-out, 49ers linebacker Cam Johnson blocked Mike Scifres‘ punt into the end zone and recovered it for a touchdown to put the Niners up 27-6 inside the one-minute mark. On the next play, Sorensen threw his second interception of the game to close out a dismal quarter for the rookie out of Southern Utah. 

Analysis:

Sorensen, like everyone else is playing for his career at this point. The early interception appeared to bother him, as he was off on his next pass attempt, throwing short and left on a pass intended for tight end Ben Cotton. 

He went from bad to worse and was clearly pressing after throwing his second interception of the quarter. After looking strong in the first three games, he looks like he may be in danger of being a roster cut casualty. 

4th Quarter Final Score, 49ers, 41, Chargers 6

B.J. Daniels hit wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins on a quick slant down the middle, and Hawkins absorbed a big hit and scurried to the end zone for a 45-yard score to give the Nienrs a 34-6 lead at the 9:36 mark.

Punter Mike Scifres returned to the game after an injury scare made his return seem in doubt, and it was the only positive development of the final frame for the Bolts.  

The Niners piled on with 4:42 left in the game when Daniels connected on a 15-yard pass that fell right into the arms of wide receiver Chuck Jacobs. 

Analysis: 

The story of the evening continued to be the lackluster play of Sorensen on offense. San Diego committed three turnovers, and for a young team, that’s a difficult way to end the preseason. The 49ers looked dominant in every facet, from execution to focus. They were mentally sharp, while the Chargers played timidly. 

On defense, the Bolts gambled and paid for it with several big plays, while on offense, they were pressing so much, that it carried over onto the field. 

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Michael C. Jones is the managing editor and founder of Sports Out West and a Southern California-based sports journalist. His work is also regularly featured on Yahoo! Sports and SB Nation. You can catch up with him on Twitter: @MikeJonesTweets.