It was a rocky start for San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo. He started 0-4, and a Denver Bronco got their hands on each pass. The first drive ended in an interception, after some miscommunication upfront. Joe Staley thought that he had help inside, but he didn’t. Von Miller was able to force an errant pass that forced an interception.
The offense stalled in their first three drives with Garoppolo. It wasn’t pretty. With backups playing upfront, that’s to be expected. There’s no way to sugarcoat it, Garoppolo didn’t play well, and he knows that.
On the other hand, the Broncos offense took over with a short field, and the defense held them to three points. The next two drives, Denver totaled one first down. We saw a few tackles for loss from Solomon Thomas and a couple of defensive backs. I thought the defensive speed showed up for the first-team.
The offense didn’t do much in the first half, save for a 38-yard catch and run by Raheem Mostert. A Robbie Gould 42-yard field goal by Robbie Gould made it 6-3. The Broncos scored once more before the half, after a couple of penalties gave them a first down, to make it 9-3 at the half.
Richie James had two long kickoff returns in the first half. The Broncos reporters have talked about how they need a returner. Trade? He makes it look easy. The 49ers had the worst starting field position in the NFL last year, so that was good to see.
The defense picked up where they left off to start the second half, forcing Denver to a three-and-out. The offense drove 70 yards in seven plays for a touchdown. Kaden Smith got open on a 3rd & 14. Then Raheem Mostert ran for 13, followed by a Richie James 14-yard screen, capped off by a 30-yard scamper by Mostert.
The next score was set up by a beautiful end-around where Deebo Samuel showed off his wheels.
Jeff Wilson punched it in from the one-yard line to put the 49ers up 17-9.
Mitch Wishnowsky was not about to be the only rookie to make a name for himself. On the ensuing kickoff, he put a hit stick on Denver’s returner.
The 49ers could have scored on three possessions in a row, but Kendrick Bourne couldn’t haul in a deep pass after getting behind the defense. The ball went right through his hands. He did have a nice catch and run later on in the drive.
After Dontae Johnson got a gift of an interception, Nick Mullens threw a perfect pass to Bourne in the end zone for a touchdown to put the 49ers up 24-9. Who knew that turnovers would lead to easy red zone opportunities?
Before a Kevin Hogan touchdown, Denver was averaging 3.1 yards per play on 63 plays. A dominant outing by the defense. The defensive line controlled the trenches all night. They finished with six sacks and ten QB hits.