Well, then. After a pair of shaky outings the last two weeks, the 49ers have gotten off to a strong start in their preseason finale against the San Diego Chargers. Aside from a strip of Antonio Gates the defense has been a bit shaky, but it is worth noting that the entire starting defense got the day off. Chris Culliver was the closest to a starter in the lineup, starting opposite Perrish Cox at cornerback.
The story of the first quarter however was the run game, Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers backup defensive backs. On the first drive, the 49ers ran the ball down the Chargers throat. Aside from a nine yard pass to Bruce Miller, Kendall Hunter and Anthony Dixon dominated the drive. Hunter rushed four times for 23 yards, while Dixon added three carries for 20 yards and a touchdown.
The 49ers defense followed that up with C.J. Spillman stripping Antonio Gates for a fumble recovered by Trenton Robinson. Colin Kaepernick came back on the field, and after an incomplete pass to Brett Swain, Kaepernick connected with Delanie Walker on a 32-yard catch and run. Kaepernick maneuvered in the pocket, over to his left and then fired to Walker, who spun a bit and tip toed the line before getting in for the score. It was one of the best plays I think we've seen from Kaepernick in his year-plus with the 49ers.
The defense has been composed entirely of backups as the starters all got the night off. It has been a lot of bend, but don't break, with some struggles in coverage. However, the defense has stepped up when needed to keep the Chargers off the scoreboard and grab a pair of turnovers, including the Spillman strip and a Darcel McBath interception.