NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - INSIDE SLANT


Sunday's first win of the preseason for the San Francisco 49ers answered some questions, and created some more.

While 10 of 11 members of the starting defense performed well in its first game action together of the year, the starting offense has yet to put together a touchdown drive through three games. And in the 21-7 win, quarterback Colin Kaepernick got hit far more than head coach Jim Harbaugh would have liked.

Chargers defensive lineman Corey Liuget created a number of problems for the 49ers and left guard Mike Iupati, who had a forgettable performance, admitted as much in the aftermath Monday.

"Learn from it and move on," Iupati said. "I'm not worried about it. Easy fix."

Liuget caused one fumble from Kaepernick Sunday and was in on a tackle for another. The 49ers under Kaepernick have scored just twice on field goals to this point, however, the reserve offense broke through and scored two touchdowns Sunday.

Blaine Gabbert entered Sunday with a 17.9 passer rating, but led a scoring touchdown drive where he completed six of seven throws, before finishing the day seven of 11. And for the first time in three exhibition games, Gabbert did not throw an interception.

Underscoring the team's poor play along the offensive line is the continued holdout of right guard Alex Boone, who has been away from the team for the entire preseason while he negotiates a new contract. Boone has two years remaining on his four year $6.54 million deal. He became a starter a year later and turned into a key figure on one of the league's best offensive lines helping the team reach the Super Bowl in 2012.

Boone has outperformed his deal, but the 49ers remain staunch in their stance. Boone's representatives, Neil Schwartz and Jonathan Feinsod, have been known for their holdout tactics. Their client list includes Darrelle Revis, Roddy White White and Vincent Jackson, who have all received contracts after holding out.

Having Boone back with the team would help transition new center Daniel Kilgore to the starting lineup after backing up Jonathan Goodwin. Right tackle Anthony Davis has yet to play this preseason after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery and is unlikely to play until the team plays its first regular-season game Sept. 7 in Dallas. Rookie third-round pick Marcus Martin, a center with experience at guard, will reportedly be out for eight weeks after suffering an injury to his kneecap in Sunday's win over the Chargers.

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NFL Team Report - San Francisco 49ers - NOTES, QUOTES


-"Just productive plays, execution. Had some plays that were cleanly blocked. We had some passes thrown and caught and the runners were seeing the holes. Just all 11 playing together in a more precise way. Thought it was better today. Good week of practice. Was confident that it was going to be better this week because of the way our guys worked during this past week."

Those were the words of head coach Jim Harbaugh following his first win of the season, and the first preseason game in which they scored more than three points. In the team's previous two weeks, the 49ers were outscored 57-3 while the starters struggled to find any offensive rhythm.

--The 49ers fielded their starting front seven and 10 of their 11 starters on defense for the first time this preseason. Inside linebacker Patrick Willis, defensive ends Justin Smith and DE Ray McDonald, nose tackle Ian Williams and cornerback Tramaine Brock had all been held out of the first two preseason games while dealing with a myriad of injuries.

"We finally had a chance to have our guys back out there and really just showcase a little bit of our defense. Granted, as I said, it wasn't perfect, but it was a lot better than it has been," Willis said.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was predictably able to move the ball on the team's defense, completing nine of 10 throws for 85 yards and a touchdown. San Francisco ran a vanilla scheme, while defensive coordinator Vic Fangio went into the game wanting his players to focus on fundamentals, and not getting hurt.

--Kicker Phil Dawson had a stretch of 27 straight field goals made during the regular season in 2013, so it came as a surprise to see him miss his first two attempts inside Levi's Stadium from 55 and 44 yards. He was 2-for-2 in Sunday's win, despite playing on a makeshift grass field inside the team's new $1.3 billion venue.

Dawson said he did not have any trepidation about playing on the new sod that had been installed just two days before the game, and appeared loose during warmups and during the game.