The Broncos blew out the 49ers, Saturday night, taking advantage of five San Francisco turnovers en route to a 33-14 victory at Levi’s Stadium.
Trevor Siemian, the incumbent in Denver’s quarterback battle, may find his name in ink atop the depth chart Monday morning. Following a pedestrian performance from Paxton Lynch, who finished with eight completions in 11 attempts and 39 passing yards, Siemian led the second-string offense to consecutive, long scoring drives. His passes were sharp and on-target, and the third-year quarterback seemed confident in new offensive coordinator Mike McCoy’s offense. Siemian averaged 8.5 yards per pass attempt.
The Lynch-led starting offense was inefficient, but took advantage of repeatedly beginning drives in San Francisco territory. The starters’ three scoring drives totaled 13 points and only 49 yards, with the lone touchdown coming on a one-yard run by C.J. Anderson.
Training camp standout De’Angelo Henderson appeared to solidify his spot on the 53-man roster with 30 rushing yards on six attempts and two catches for 20 yards. He also had a touchdown grab called back because of a holding penalty on Garett Bolles. The rookie left tackle was called for holding three times.
Denver’s defense remained dominant even with seven starters sidelined. Over 19 attempts, San Francisco mustered just 37 yards on the ground. Domata Peko and Tyrique Jarrett held down the middle of the defense, filling multiple running lanes and pushing the 49ers’ backs outside. Corey Nelson impressed at inside linebacker, and safety Will Parks was always near the ball.
San Francisco found mild, streaky success through the air. Over half of the team’s 209 passing yards came in 20+ yards bursts, including a 29-yard touchdown on a catch and run by George Kittle. The pass was thrown by Kittle’s teammate at Iowa, C.J. Beathard.
Denver’s pass rush was disappointing, as expected. With nearly all of the starting front seven taking the night off, nobody consistently pressured the 49ers’ quarterbacks, and the Broncos recorded zero sacks.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
De’Angelo Henderson—Not only did Henderson total 50 offensive yards on just eight touches and dance around defenders on his way to a penalty-nullified touchdown, the sixth-round pick also contributed on special teams. On a Denver punt early in the fourth quarter, Henderson deked blockers and ran well ahead of any other Bronco before tackling the returner, Trent Taylor. Henderson likely earned a roster spot with his performance in training camp and in Chicago last weekend, but he certainly solidified it, Saturday night.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Trevor Siemian capped off his first series of the night with a beautiful back-shoulder touchdown pass to Jordan Taylor, just outside the end zone. For many watching the game, the play felt like the final nail in the coffin of the quarterback competition.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“Obviously disappointed with—whatever it was—the bajillion penalties we had.”
BY THE NUMBERS
5 – Five 49ers’ turnovers on the night.
4 – Four penalties on rookie left tackle Garett Bolles, including three holds.
37 – Only 37 rushing yards allowed by the Broncos.
While the quarterback battle deserves most of the spotlight, Saturday night saw some separation for another starting job. Allen Barbre held his own against a deep 49ers front seven seemingly outplaying opposing guard Max Garcia.
The Broncos play their first home game of the 2017 season on Thursday night. The Green Bay Packers will visit Denver, in a matchup that should showcase significant playing time for both teams’ starters. Notably, Von Miller and Jamaal Charles are slated for their first preseason action.