Broncos Recap and Notes for the Week
If you watched San Francisco’s 31-24 victory over the Denver Broncos this past Saturday, then you have to be encouraged a little about how things are progressing. While there were a few items of concern, Saturday was an overall positive. Here are Game Two’s “Good, Correctable, and Concerning” :
The quarterback competition got a little more interesting as Christian Ponder got into the mix. Blaine Gabbert was 6 for 9 and tallied 69 yards, but was replaced by Jeff Driskel and then Ponder, who scored on a 22 yard zone-read keeper and then later threw a 30 yard touchdown to receiver Dres Anderson.
Ponder looked very comfortable in the offense, going 7 for 8 for 86 yards and a touchdown. Colin Kaepernick will be back for Friday’s game against the Packers, but the competition doesn’t appear to be won by Gabbert at this point.
Vance McDonald continues to make strides as he again led the team in receptions and now has five for 92 yards and a score.
The offensive line looks like it will be a strength in 2016, rather than the liability it has been since 2014. Right Tackle Trent Brown may be ready to emerge as a starter and the surprise move of the week is Anthony Davis’ transition to right guard. The right side should be able to protect and run block better than it has since 2013 and that’s something 49ers fans have to be excited about.
And how about Trent Brown playing well against Von Miller??
Defensively, the 49ers look better at every position. According to Pro Football Focus, linebackers Marcus Rush and Tank Carradine are atop the NFL for quarterback pressures among 3-4 outside linebackers (7 and 6 respectively).
Rush had three sacks and a forced fumble (recovered by Gerald Hodges), while Carradine had a sack and a forced fumble (recovered by Nick Bellore). All in all the defense had six sacks, two fumbles, six tackles for loss and two interceptions.
Eric Reid’s second quarter pick-six was great to see as it set the tone for the rest of the game.
Unfortunately, the 49ers continued to put the ball on the ground, this time three times. Mike Davis, who had a real good game last week, was responsible for two of them. DuJuan Harris fumbled as he was about to score. While disappointing, this is correctable, but at the same time, nearing the “Concerning” department.
Jimmie Ward, who has been playing better since last year, committed a key holding penalty that extended a drive instead of forcing the Broncos to punt after a sack. Hopefully, this won’t be a trend. (See “Ahmad Brooks offsides”)
Kenneth Acker appeared to be a serviceable corner last season and the hope was that he would continue to improve. That appears to be out the window as he was beat again for a touchdown. With all the corners on the roster, Acker’s days in San Francisco are likely numbered.
While I’m intrigued with Colin Kaepernick returning and the possibilities of Ponder and Gabbert, it is unsettling that the 49ers don’t have a decided starter at this point.
Notes for the Week
Colin Kaepernick has returned to practice and is on track to play in Friday’s game against Green Bay.
Bruce Ellington also returned to practice and is poised to be the slot receiver for the 2016 season.
San Francisco signed wide receiver Ryan Whalen this week.
Coming tomorrow……San Francisco hosts the Green Bay Packers for the third Preseason game of 2016.