Well, there you have it folks. The Chargers took the lead on the opening drive after recovering a surprise onside kick and from there it was... well, not domination, but the 49ers never quite found their rhythm. The team simply looked tired, though I recall reading a comment in the game thread that made sense, which went something along the lines of the Chargers having more roster spots up for grabs and therefore had more to play for. Still, a loss is a loss. A few observations, though...
EDIT: I do not honestly believe that we lost the game due to the officiating at the game. I was looking for a catchy title and a good portion of the posts in the game thread were outrage toward the refs. I realize that our run defense sucked, our pass defense sucked, and we couldn't call a play if our life depended on it. Still, I'd like to look at the good parts first.
QB Nate Davis looked great on his first drive out, but couldn't find any momentum after the scoring drive. Still, he didn't make too many mistakes and made some very mature throws out there. QB Shaun Hill did... just OK, completing 3 of 4 passes, but holding onto the ball and taking two sacks. Still, solid play from the rookie spells good things for the 49ers.
There were several young guys who played well including rookies Scott McKillop and Curtis Taylor who seemed to always be near the ball, especially McKillop. As far as roster decisions based on the game, guys like Curtis Taylor, Justin Roland, Ricky Jean-Francois and Micheal Spurlock likely made the fight for 53 a little closer than it was before the game. We also had a solid game out of our running backs and WR Jason Hill.
How about them refs? I can't honestly claim that they were favoring the Chargers, but I can claim there was at least one or two calls that wouldn't have been called 9 times out of 10. The 49ers committed seven penalties, surrendering a total 113 yards. It would seem we either need new referees, or maybe a little more discipline.
Got a bit more to say after the jump...
More on Nate Davis, watching him in the 4th quarter, I feel he is a much better decision-maker already than both Shaun Hill and Alex Smith. Of course, this probably isn't a huge accomplishment, but if you threw Shaun Hill into that situation he would have either taken the sack or thrown a pick. Now, he DID have an interception in the game but it was a one-in-a-million bounce off the defensive back's foot and the receiver made it pretty obvious when the ball was coming in.
CB Eric Green was looking for a strong showing tonight, and may have just lost himself a chance at the roster due to penalties and lack of discipline. He was in on some good tackles but was otherwise invisible. Still, even more invisible was Marcus Hudson, so who knows what will happen?
Micheal Spurlock looked decent returning kicks, at least on par with Allen Rossum--but the big surprise here was Kory Sheets. I'd like to see him take a few more kicks and see what happens.
Nate Clements once again looked bad, but I wont even get into that. I'm looking at giving him the benefit of the doubt but it's just hard when I see him torched again and again.
Dominique Zeigler suffered an ankle strain, it looks like if there was a sixth spot and it was between him and Spurlock, the latter would get the nod.
Last but not least I think the team needs to consider hanging onto LB Diyral Briggs, he looked great coming off the edge and could be the pass-rusher we're looking for. Or at least, a minor improvement if Manny Lawson doesn't learn how to get around a cut block.
Well, there you have it, folks. No undefeated preseason for us, but we saw some good things (younger guys) and some bad things (secondary, discipline.) Let's hope with some "gameplanning" Nate Clements can handle Larry Fitz in the opener at Arizona.