While the 49ers lost to the Chargers on a last-second field goal off the right foot of kicker Roberto Aguayo, it was nothing short of an entertaining fourth quarter. Defenders Reuben Foster, Solomon Thomas, and Ronald Blair III stood out early in the game, while wideout Richie James Jr. shined late, and quarterback Jack Heneghan earned fans’ respect with his tough-minded play.
In case you missed the game, we’ve got you covered with some of the best highlights from Thursday’s preseason finale.
On the very first snap of the game, Blair is in full pursuit of quarterback Geno Smith and caps off the 49ers’ first sack of the night. The 2017 draft pick is already one of the best linemen on the roster and his performance in the first quarter confirms that.
Later in the same drive, Thomas came flying off the edge, beating the Chargers’ OL and tackling the running back behind the line of scrimmage. This was the perfect game for Thomas’ confidence, as he was able to use his athleticism against backups and make a visible impact.
The former first-round pick didn’t stop there, as he impressed again off the other edge. This time he beat the Chargers’ right guard and stopped the tailback dead in his tracks.
Later in the first half, Foster showed off his impeccable tackling ability and nose for the ball. This kind of tackle is what 49ers’ fans were waiting for all preseason — only took four games. What till the defense do with their best defender for the first two weeks?
With all the defensive highlights, you should be able to tell that the 49ers’ offense wasn’t particularly great in quarterback C.J. Beathard’s opening drive. Backup Nick Mullens was able to dive into the end zone for the first 49ers’ touchdown of the night later in the half.
Seventh-round pick James continues to show why he deserves to be on the 53-man roster and a focal point of the 49ers’ offense. He adjusts to this Mullens’ pass and has a 27-yard gain. The ex-Middle Tennessee State wideout finished the night with seven catches for 80 yards.
The other seventh-round pick that John Lynch should be excited about is defensive end Jullian Taylor. The ex-Temple lineman has shown a lot of promise in the preseason and this play demonstrates the energy he plays with every snap.
While Thursday’s matchup ended in a loss, it highlighted the skills of the younger players on the roster and allowed for everyone to come away healthy. Onto Week 1 in Minnesota!