Those who helped and hurt themselves
THOSE WHO HELPED THEMSELVES RB Michael Robinson: Bounced off several tacklers and displayed good surge to get the tough yards inside. Ran hard to pick up a first down on third-and-1 in the second quarter, extending a drive that he culminated with a 1-yard touchdown plunge. Showed excellent straight-line running, ploughing through the entire San Diego defense on a 13-yard touchdown run later in the second quarter. Led the 49ers with 59 yards on 12 carries and also had three receptions coming out of the backfield. LB T.J. Slaughter: Played like a veteran fighting for a roster berth, plugging holes with ferocity on defense. Also made a hit in coverage that resulted in a Manny Lawson interception. CB Marcus Hudson: Showed some good technique and quick closing skills in coverage. Reached high to make a leaping interception early in the third quarter. Picked up another interception on a tipped ball in the end zone to stop another San Diego drive midway through the fourth quarter. Finished the game with three passes defensed. WR Taylor Jacobs: Displayed an ability to get open and also catch the ball. Caught a short hitch pass midway through the second quarter and made a nice move down the sideline to turn it into a 10-yard-gain and a first down. Caught a 23-yard catch over the middle for another first down two plays later. Finished as the game's leading receiver with game-high totals of five receptions for 66 yards. TE Delanie Walker: Took a reverse handoff from Michael Robinson on the opening kickoff and turned the corner for a 30-yard return, vaulting high in the air at the end of his run. Also had seven-yard reception before coming out of the game with a bruised shoulder. S Mike Adams: An interception near his own goal line won't hurt Adams' bid to hang onto this starting position at free safety. CB B.J. Tucker: Streaked down the field in special teams coverage and downed a punt at the San Diego 4-yard line. Also played well defensively in pass coverage. DT Anthony Adams: He wants to keep his starting position on the defensive interior entering the season, and played like it while he was in the game with the first unit. QB Trent Dilfer: Looked like an assured field general in his most extensive stint of the preseason. Completed 7 of 9 passes for 64 yards while smoothly directing a 15-play, 93-yard touchdown drive on his only series of the game. Showed the Niners that he's the epitome of a solid veteran backup quarterback, not that they didn't know that already. FB Moran Norris: Catching a short pass and taking it to the 1-yard line on a drive on which the Niners eventually scored will help his chances. Displayed several hefty blocks into the line while leading the way for Michael Robinson. Finished with two receptions. LB Manny Lawson: Made his biggest play of the preseason, showing his athleticism on an interception that he took back to the end zone for an apparent touchdown before it was ruled he was down at the 18-yard line. The 49ers scored their second touchdown two plays later. LB Bobby Iwuchukwu: The rookie made his presence known on defense, recording a tackle behind the line for a two-yard loss. His three tackles tied for the team lead. WR/KR Brandon Williams: Displayed some nifty moves in the open field on a 14-yard reception and a 26-yard punt return. DE Melvin Oliver: The rookie looked good against the run, tying for the team lead with three tackles, and may have solidified a starting position for the season opener Sept. 10 against Arizona. S Keith Lewis: Had a monster hit in the flat to limit a short pass to a 1-yard game and help halt a San Diego drive deep in San Francisco territory. Also closed on the ball in the end zone on fourth down to end that drive. TE Billy Bajema: Was strong blocking in the run game, improving his chances to make the roster for that ability alone. DE Bobby Payne: Rookie longshot was stout against the run and tied for the team lead with three tackles. P Andy Lee: Hit a huge 49-yard boomer from his own end zone midway through the fourth quarter to get his team out of a hole in a pressure situation. FB Zak Keasey: Ploughed over several potential blockers on coverage teams, caused a fumble on a punt with a big hit that led to a 49ers touchdown, and also broke tackles when given an opportunity to carry the ball, gaining 53 yards on 14 carries. But still faces very long odds to make the final roster. THOSE WHO HURT THEMSELVES CB Sammy Davis: Was shaky in pass coverage for a third consecutive week and may have played himself from starting lineup to off the final roster. He had good position in the corner of the end zone on San Diego's first touchdown, but allowed receiver Malcom Floyd to leap over him and make a 5-yard scoring catch. On the plus side, he made a deflection on a sideline route that was turned into an interception deep in San Francisco territory. TE Vernon Davis: Dropped a pass right in his numbers, then on the next series missed a block on defensive end Derreck Robinson resulting in a San Francisco fumble that was turned into a San Diego touchdown. But none of that should stop him from being in the starting lineup on opening day, and he also had several impressive blocks to go along with his mistakes. CB Derrick Johnson: Pulled up lame while running in coverage late in the first quarter, which didn't help because the 49ers were hoping to get a long look at him Friday, considering he's in hot competition for one of the backup roles at cornerback. OT Pat Estes: Struggled in pass coverage, and that's not good for a player competing for a backup spot protecting the blind side of San Francisco's quarterbacks. WR Rasheed Marshall: Dropped an intermediate pass in the open field that would have went for a big gain had he held onto it. Helped make up for it with two receptions later in the game, including a nice 26-yarder along the sideline, but it's the one he dropped while wide open that sticks out. OL Tony Wragge: Had two false starts, sending the 49ers back into a second-and-long situation both times, and also had some problems holding his blocks. RB Maurice Hicks: A fumble in San Francisco territory was not what the 49ers wanted to see from their new backup running back, and the Chargers quickly converted the turnover into a touchdown. Averaged just 1.7 yards on his seven carries. OL Sam Wilder: Had some difficulty winning battles at the point of attack. DL Ronnie Fields: Did not impress against the run, getting knocked off his feet and failing to hold ground several times. However, he did finish with three tackles in extensive playing time. OT Havey Dahl: Had an unnecessary roughness penalty to nullify a third-down pass completion that went for a first down, pushing the 49ers back deep in their own territory and thwarting the drive. OL Tavares Washington: Had a false start penalty on third down deep in San Francisco territory, forcing the 49ers back to their 2-yard line. CB Kris Richard: Was hurt on first play of fourth quarter and didn't play again, not a good thing for a bubble player who probably was going to play the remainder of the game and needed that time to make an impression on the team. QB Shaun Hill: After driving the 49ers to the San Diego 15 midway through the fourth quarter, he made a poor read and lofted a pass toward the right flat that was intercepted by rookie cornerback Cletis Gordon, who returned it 85 yards for a touchdown. That was a huge gaffe that spoiled an otherwise solid performance by Hill, who completed 8 of 14 passes for 86 yards and scrambled for 12 yards while directing the 49ers on their final four scoring drives.
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