Ravens run over 49ers in preseason opener

The Ravens had no problem running all over the 49ers defense as San Francisco elected to rest a number of starters to open the preseason.

The undermanned 49ers got run over by the Ravens 23-3 to open their preseason slate Thursday night.

Baltimore out-gained the road team 386 to 187 and got 237 of its yards on the ground.

"That’s probably the biggest concern right now, that we got pushed around a little bit," Jim Harbaugh said.

Without a number of starters on both sides of the ball, it wasn’t a pretty first half for the 49ers. They fell behind 13-3, but showed a few encouraging signs. The defensive line, in particular, showed some promise after a disparaging first drive from the Ravens in which they went 80-yards on 10 in plays for the game’s first touchdown.

The 49ers coaches didn’t allow much physicality in their training camp practices. It showed, particularly in that first defensive drive. Baltimore gained at least five yards on each play before Bernard Pierce scored from two yards out on a run to the right to take the 7-3 lead.

Second-year defensive lineman Quinton Dial had the most impressive performance of the half on the defensive side, making six tackles and forcing two fumbles, one of which was recovered by San Francisco. Two plays later, second-string QB Blaine Gabbert fired an interception to the Ravens Asa Jackson on a pass to reserve tight Derek Carrier.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker hit field goals of 42, 22 and 55 yards. Their second touchdown came in the fourth quarter when Tyrod Taylor hit Jeremy Butler for a seven yard score.

Gabbert finished the night 3 of 11 for 20 and a 1.7 passer rating. In Colin Kaepernick’s one drive, he completed one pass for 17 yards. His lone incompletion was wiped out by a roughing the passer flag from Pernell McPhee.

Josh Johnson completed 7 of 9 passes and was put in motion on a number of roll out plays, where he typically does his best work. But Johnson fumbled a snap at the Ravens’ 23-yard line ending San Francisco’s most promising drive of the night for the reserves. McLeod Bethel-Thompson received mop-up duty late in the game and threw an interception to Dominique Franks. Bethel-Thompson completed 3 of 7 throws for 26 yards.

Tank Carradine had a sack in his first action as a pro after missing all of 2013 recovering from an ACL tear suffered in college.

Carradine and Dial were forced to play the entire game after Demarcus Dobbs and Lawrence Okoye suffered injuries leaving the team with four healthy defensive linemen to end the game. Dial finished with a game-high 10 tackles (five solo) to add to his forced fumbles in his impressive 2014 debut.

Fullback Will Tukuafu was forced to return to his natural position of defensive line in the second half of the game following Okoye’s injury. Second-year pass rusher Corey Lemonier registered his first sack of the preseason, as did inside linebacker Michael Wilhoite.

Harbaugh said x-rays revealed no structural damage to Okoye's lower leg following the game. Dobbs was seen walking in the locker room without a limp.

Free agent cornerback Chris Cook intercepted Taylor in the third quarter. Signed on a one-year deal, Cook has yet to make an interception in a regular season game after appearing in 34 with the Vikings.

The 49ers’ starters on offense drove down to deep in Ravens’ territory behind Carlos Hyde’s three carries for 34 yards. But on 3rd-and-short, it was Jewel Hampton, and not Hyde, who was unable to get the first down leading to Phil Dawson's 25-yard field goal. Hyde had runs of 7, 19, and 8 yards on the drive, which is a promising sign for San Francisco’s injury-riddled running backs. Hyde finished with an impressive 39 yards on five carries.

With Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James out, 49ers running backs struggled outside of the second-round pick. Hampton and Alfonso Smith combined to make 10 carries for 17 yards.

In the first half the Ravens out-gained the 49ers 222-73, and held a 20:16 to 9:44 advantage in time of possession.

On a positive note, rookie receiver Bruce Ellington made three receptions on as many targets for 35 yards to lead the team. Vance McDonald also caught both balls thrown his way for 24 yards.

San Francisco continued to rest starting defensive linemen Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, corner Tramaine Brock, right tackle Anthony Davis and wideouts Michael Crabtree and Brandon Lloyd. Aldon Smith and Patrick Willis were healthy scratches.

"We've got some work to do," Harbaugh said.


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