49ers takeaways: What we learned in 24-15 preseason win vs. Broncos

49ers takeaways: What we learned in 24-15 preseason win vs. Broncos


DENVER – There was no triumphant return for 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo had a forgettable preseason debut in his first game since sustaining a season-ending knee injury last season in Week 3. In short, Garoppolo looked like a quarterback who has not played in nearly 11 months.

Garoppolo's shaky outing is the top takeaway from the 49ers’ 24-15 win over the Denver Broncos on Monday night:

1. Rough preseason debut for Jimmy G

Things could not have gone much worse for Garoppolo and the first-team offense – aside from running back Tevin Coleman, who gained 21 yards on three carries.

Garoppolo was constantly under pressure –- left tackle Joe Staley struggled against Broncos defensive end Bradley Chubb –- and completed just one of his six pass attempts with one interception. His only completion was a short dump off to Matt Breida that went for no gain.

Two of Garoppolo’s passes were tipped at the line of scrimmage. Broncos cornerback Isaac Yiadom intercepted a pass intended for Marquise Goodwin. Denver defensive back De’Vante Bausby dropped another would-be interception that could have gone for a touchdown.

Garoppolo was having a solid camp before throwing interceptions on five consecutive pass attempts Wednesday against the 49ers’ defense in Santa Clara. He was picked off once in two days of practices against the Broncos.

Now, Garoppolo has a quick turnaround to return to the site of his season-ending torn ACL from last year. The 49ers will play next Saturday night against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.

2. Keeping an eye on the safeties

Jaquiski Tartt and Tarvarius Moore started at the safety positions for the 49ers. Tartt looked ready for the regular season, while Moore showed he still has some work to do.

Tartt registered three tackles -- including two behind the line of scrimmage -- and a pass break up as the defense forced Denver to settle for a field goal after Garoppolo’s interception.

Moore took a bad angle on one play, missing a tackle, and he did not close fast enough to prevent Courtland Sutton from catching a 21-yard pass over the middle on a third-and-seven play. But Moore showed his tremendous gifts in the third quarter when he ranged up in run support to drop running back Devontae Jackson for a 1-yard gain.

Moore took over as the 49ers’ top healthy free safety early in training camp, supplanting Adrian Colbert, who opened last season as the starter. Colbert left the game Monday night with a left hamstring injury while running down the field on punt coverage.

Jimmie Ward is expected to get back on the practice field this week as he returns from a fractured collarbone sustained during the offseason program in June. Ward and Moore will compete to open the season as the 49ers’ starting free safety.

3. Competition continues for backup QB job

C.J. Beathard did not have a difficult act to follow, as he stepped in at quarterback after Garoppolo. But he got off to a rough start himself, as Bradley Chubb dropped him for a 6-yard sack.

Nick Mullens started the 49ers’ preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys. This time, Beathard got the call ahead of him as Shanahan tries to sort out the backup quarterback situation.

The 49ers had minus-6 yards net passing before Beathard dumped off a short pass to Raheem Mostert, who turned it into a 38-yard gain with four minutes left in the first half.

The 49ers were 0-for-5 on third downs before Beathard hit tight end Kaden Smith for a 17-yard pass on a third-and-14 play early in the third quarter.

Most of the big plays for the 49ers came in the run game, as Mostert scored on a 30-yard touchdown run and Deebo Samuel gained 45 yards on an end-around. Jeff Wilson scored on a 1-yard run on the next play to give the 49ers a 17-9 lead.

The 49ers missed two opportunities for big plays late in the third quarter when Beathard overthrew Richie James on a deep corner route. Then, Kendrick Bourne failed to haul in a deep ball along the left sideline.

[RELATED: Watch 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky unleash big hit on Broncos' returner]

Mullens entered the game with 10:43 remaining in the fourth quarter after Beathard completed five of 11 pass attempts for 81 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

The 24-year-old finished by completing two of his three pass attempts for 27 yards, including a one-yard touchdown on a fade to Kendrick Bourne late in the fourth quarter.

How Jimmy Garoppolo's impact on 49ers' offense goes beyond numbers

How Jimmy Garoppolo's impact on 49ers' offense goes beyond numbers

Despite the 49ers finishing with a 13-3 record and advancing to Super Bowl LIV, few NFL pundits seem willing to give Jimmy Garoppolo any credit for the team’s success.

The quarterback needed just eight pass attempts to defeat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game, as San Francisco rode a dominant run game and suffocating defensive performance to a 37-20 victory.

Fox Sports 1’s Colin Cowherd isn’t among the detractors and voiced his support for Jimmy G ahead of a Super Bowl showdown with reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes.

“He carried this team in the middle of the season when they fell apart physically,” Cowherd said on "The Herd" this week. “I’m not a stat guy, I’m an eye guy. Watch the games.”

The success of the run game for the Niners this season didn’t necessitate a lot of pass-heavy games, but Garoppolo still finished eighth among qualified NFL quarterbacks in passer rating.

[RELATED: 49ers taking entire staff to Super Bowl]

When the 49ers have ended up in a shootout this year, Garoppolo has stepped up.

When they’ve needed him to just manage the game and make the occasional throw downfield, Garoppolo has stepped up.

No matter what the scenario, Garoppolo has delivered and this 49ers team wouldn't be anywhere near the Super Bowl without his steady leadership guiding the offense.

Jimmy G now has the chance to solidify himself among the upper echelon of NFL quarterbacks when he and the Niners take the field against the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami for Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium.

49ers taking entire staff to Miami for Super Bowl 54, Jed York reveals

49ers taking entire staff to Miami for Super Bowl 54, Jed York reveals

The 49ers will fly to Miami on Sunday to play in the NFL franchise’s seventh Super Bowl. Despite this being a semi-regular thing, CEO Jed York isn’t treating it that way.

York said Friday that he’s bringing all full-time staff to Miami for Super Bowl week and treating them to the game. He even mentioned bringing interns.

That’s, you know, a lot of people on the 49ers’ dime.

“We're taking a lot of people. We wanted to make sure that our entire staff had the opportunity to go,” York said in a meeting with local reporters. “Everybody from [head coach Kyle Shanahan to general manager John Lynch] all the way down to interns, everyone's been a part of this, and we wanted to make sure they're there to help and also celebrate the moment that hopefully gets us over the hump."

That’s an unusual benefit for support staff outside football operations, one that will allow everyone involved with the 49ers to enjoy a week basking in the team’s achievements leading up to Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs at Hard Rock Stadium.

[RELATED: Jed York felt 49ers could reach Super Bowl when they drafted Nick Bosa]

The 49ers are trying to win their sixth Super Bowl title, which would tie them with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots for the most in NFL history. The Chiefs are currently 1.5-point favorites in this clash of Titans.