I probably wouldn't even know what the final score of this game was if I didn't have to write this recap for you good readers. All I cared about coming into Thursday's game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens was this: football is back, and hopefully we get through the day with no significant 49ers injuries.
Other than Chuck Jacobs leaving the game in the fourth quarter (we don't know what his deal is just yet), and Lawrence Okoye leaving with an injury, the 49ers seemed to escape with minimal damage done. They lost, if you didn't know, falling to the Ravens by a score of 23-3 and it was VERY obvious this was a preseason game.
Colin Kaepernick threw just two passes, though he officially has just the one due to a penalty. Blaine Gabbert was in midseason form, with three completions on 11 attempts with an interception. McLeod Bethel-Thompson also had an interception, while Josh Johnson impressed with seven of nine completions for 63 yards.
Carlos Hyde had five carries for 39 yards, a per-carry average of 7.8 yards. There's really not too much else to note stat-wise.
The Ravens dominated this game from start to finish. San Francisco looked slow, they looked unprepared and they looked hurt. And that's totally fine. This is the first preseason game, and while all of us want the 49ers to win every game and look amazing every time we see them, that's just not realistic. The positive spin on this game is the fact that it's preseason, and nothing more.
Here's some random observations:
- Carlos Hyde sure does look a lot like Frank Gore, doesn't he? Obviously, he's a long way from Gore's talent level and is still pretty raw, but his cuts look a lot like Gore. I only wish they'd given him those short-yardage carries on that opening drive. Jewel Hampton is nice and all, but I think we've moved beyond rooting for those guys since the Kory Sheets and Thomas Clayton days.
- Hampton, it should be noted, did not play well at all. He carried the ball eight times for 18 yards, a per-carry average of just 2.3 yards.
- Tony Jerod-Eddie, Mike Purcell, DeMarcus Dobbs, Dan Skuta, Chris Borland, Michael Wilhoite and Perrish Cox started on defense. That's about as preseason as one team can preseason.
- Jimmie Ward gave up a first-down reception on his first NFL play. What. A. Bust.
- The patchwork starting defense offered very little resistance to the Baltimore starting offense, which is not the least bit surprising. Ward and Chris Borland both got burned pretty good.
- Look, it's the preseason. We're not going to draw some profound conclusions about this team. But I told you before this game and I can now use it as partial evidence: Blaine Gabbert is a bad quarterback. He doesn't do anything particularly well, and I'm legitimately questioning whether or not he has the ability to turn his head.
- Colin Kaepernick, technically, was flawless on the day. He completed all one of his one passes for 17 yards, but somehow the Ravens managed to keep him out of the endzone. Joe Flacco fell asleep and completed four of his five against San Francisco's reserve squad.
- Chris Cook got an interception. That's not really a thing that happens a lot, you know.
- Lawrence Okoye looked like he was playing something not entirely unlike American football. Isn't that crazy? The guy knew nothing about the game not so long ago. He's stopped playing rugby, he's stopped throwing the discus and now he actually looks like an NFL player. He's got a long way to go but that's awesome.
- I thought Corey Lemonier looked pretty solid. I hope he gets the bulk of the playing time while Aldon Smith is gone -- provided Smith misses any time.
- Colton Schmidt looked very good punting the ball. Obviously, there's not going to be a punter controversy in San Francisco, but Schmidt looked starting-caliber out there.
- Kenneth Acker, a seventh-round pick, got burned on the late touchdown. Obviously, he's got some work to do.
- It should be noted that defensive lineman Quinton Dial looked fantastic. He was all over the field from his defensive line position, he made several big tackles and generally handled himself well. Tank Carradine made it to the quarterback once and looked good rushing the passer on top of that.