SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The 49ers rested most of their starters as they finished their preseason slate with a 14-12 win over the San Diego Chargers.
Undrafted rookie quarterback Dylan Thompson got the start for the 49ers, and completed a 70-yard touchdown pass to second-year receiver Bruce Ellington on the third play of the game. San Francisco went for two and Thompson found receiver Quinton Patton on back-shoulder throw to the left for the early 8-0 lead. Thursday was Ellington's second preseason appearance after missing the first two weeks with a muscle strain.
Thompson in the fourth quarter ended a six-play, 75-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to former South Carolina teammate Rory 'Busta' Anderson. For the night, he completed 17 of 25 for 225 yards with a quarterback rating of 106.2.
If the 49ers elect to keep former Australian Rugby League start Jarryd Hayne, Hunter might be on the roster bubble. After playing in the final two preseason games, Hunter finished with 36 yards on 17 carries, averaging 2.1 yards.
Hayne had three punt returns for 43 yards. He also spent time working as a gunner in punt coverage, and made a tackle for a one-yard loss on Javontee Herndon after beating a double team.
Hayne received the majority of carries in the second half, and laid a mean right shoulder on Chargers cornerback Lowell Rose at the end of a 12-yard screen pass, knocking the former 49er on his back, getting a rise out of his teammates on the sideline.
Hayne finished with 58 yards rushing on 10 carries, adding two catches for 17 yards. He was also tackled short in the right flat on a two-point conversion attempt following Anderson's touchdown.
Chargers cornerback Richard Crawford intercepted Thompson and took it 29 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter. San Diego went for two, but Kellen Clemens’ pass to Herndon fell incomplete, making it a 8-6 game. Tyrell Williams scored a scored on a 63-yard catch and run in the fourth quarter from third-string quarterback Brad Sorensen.
Chargers starting quarterback Philip Rivers didn’t play. The 49ers elected to keep starter Colin Kaepernick and backup Blaine Gabbert on the sideline. Kaepernick finished the preseason 5 of 13 for 40 yards with no touchdowns in eight series and a 47.0 passer rating.
After naming his starting offensive line earlier in the week, head coach Jim Tomsula elected to keep that starting unit sidelined. Reserves Patrick Miller started at left tackle, Andrew Tiller at left guard, Joe Looney at center, Brandon Thomas at right guard and Trenton Brown at right tackle.
Undrafted rookie receiver DeAndrew White caught a 36-yard pass from Thompson down the left sideline and added a 34-yard punt return late in the first half. And after a three-and-out from the Chargers' offense to open the second half, White returned another punt for 36 yards. White finished with 77 yards on three catches and has a good chance at making the final roster.
San Francisco rested most of its starting defense, keeping NaVorro Bowman, Michael Wilhoite, Eric Reid and Antoine Bethea off the field. Second-year players Kenneth Acker and Keith Reaser started at cornerback.
The team's top option, Tramaine Brock, remained out with a hamstring injury. Acker and Reaser appear to be the favorites in the competition to start opposite Brock once he's healthy. Cornerback Marcus Cromartie sealed the game with a late interception of Sorensen in the final minute. San Francisco finished the preseason 2-2, with both wins coming at Levi's Stadium.
The 49ers must cut the roster from 75 to 53 by Saturday at 1 p.m.
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