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San Francisco 49ers 17 - Denver Broncos 16: Backfield bowls over Broncos

The first preseason game of the season is in the books, and as much as it doesn't matter, it's still nice to see a 49ers W.  San Francisco's backfield was the bright spot of the offense, although Shaun Hill's action was very limited.  While the first team defense didn't put up the numbers (0 sacks), they created enough pressure to force 3 first half interceptions (although one could argue that was all Kyle Orton).  Overall, the first preseason game doesn't say a lot, but we do have some things to reflect upon.

The Backfield

Glenn Coffee ran for 67 yards on 14 carries in the first half and showed a nice ability as a "one-cut and go" style runner.  Coffee didn't look very decisive at the start of the game, but improved as the first half went on finding holes and making gains.  Brit Miller did a semi-Leonard Weaver impression, by catching two passes for 2 TDs.  Miller's 40 yard TD in the 4th quarter put the 49ers ahead for good, but the most impressive aspect of the catch was Miller's burst to the end zone.  Kory Sheets cleaned up the duty, running for 51 yards in "garbage" time.  Sheets looked springy, and bounced a couple of nice runs outside for big gains (his inside running looks like it could use improving).  Thomas Clayton left the game with a knee injury, finishing the game with 9 yards on 4 carries.  A nice job overall for the RBs, but again, it's only 1 preseason game. 

The O-Line   

The big guys allowed 4 sacks, but looked fairly solid most of the evening.  One of the sacks Shaun Hill definitely held on the ball too long during, and he admitted so during an in-game interview.  Another sack came on a missed pick-up by Zak Keasey (who also left the game with injury - elbow contusion).  The team moved the ball well, and the O-Line didn't stall any drives with penalties.  I didn't notice anyone getting beat consistently on the O-Line, and the QBs really weren't in much danger most of the night. 

The QBs

Shaun Hill looked good in his lone drive, leading the team to a FG while completing 2 of 2 passes for 41 yards.  Vernon Davis was Hill's only target, and Hill made a nice completion to Davis in triple coverage.  We didn't get to see a lot of Hill, but what we did see was fine (Hill also had a nice 9-yard scramble).  Alex Smith played the rest of the second half, and completed 5 of 7 passes for 33 yards and 1 TD.  Smith forced a completion to Josh Morgan, who was blanketed by Champ Bailey.  A great catch by Morgan, and a nice tight pass from Smith.  Damon Huard led the team in passing, going 7 of 9 for 98 yards and 1 TD.  Nate Davis took some snaps, but never attempted a pass. 

Other Stand Outs

Reggie Smith looked pretty darn good in his action, intercepting a pass in the first half, and another on a two-point conversion in the fourth quarter.  Smith looks a bit more comfortable at his natural position, and should provide nice depth at the position.  Michael Spurlock looked very shifty after the catch, also displaying a nice burst catching 2 passes for 24 yards.  He didn't look as impressive in the return game, and his stats don't pop out, but when he had the ball, he looked quick.   

The Sore Thumbs

Jahi Word-Daniels looked awful at times, and got torched by the Broncos.  The second team defense was helpless against Denver in the second half, and were simply pushed around.  Scott McKillop made 7 tackles, but credit that to the defense allowing Denver to stay on the field (4/6 on Third Down in second half).  The unit didn't produce any pressure, and Ricky Jean-Francois was getting pushed around quite noticably in the redzone during the third quarter.  Overall, the Broncos totalled 210 yards in the second half as the second team defense allowed Chris Simms to complete 11 of 17 passes for 142 yards and 2 TDs.  I don't have the stat line, but Word-Daniels allowed a big chunk of those yards. 

Play of the Game

Brit Miller's 40-yard TD catch was very cool, as he showed an impressive burst to the endzone.  As he approached the goal line, he dodged a couple Bronco defenders to put the team up for good.  A very nice catch and run, and a nice quick pass from Huard made the play possible. 

The Final Score: San Francisco 17 Denver 16

Post your thoughts or comments on who you thought stood out, and how much we can really take from this first preseason contest.