49ers’ lose home opener in blowout fashion, Broncos win 34-0



With the San Francisco 49ers playing their first game at Levi’s Stadium today, it was a game in which many weaknesses were exposed. From fourth-year QB Blaine Gabbert’s continued struggles to the Denver Broncos scoring 34 unanswered points, the 49ers were in complete disarray.

Starting with the porous quarterback play, many Forever Faithful are starting to question whether Gabbert is the answer at backup. A job that is clearly Gabbert’s to lose as his salary alone makes him difficult to cut, he has not lived up to those lofty expectations that made him a top first-round talent and today was no different. Gabbert was rattled and out-of-sync as he threw 8 of 14 passes for 40 yards and one interception. A stat line in which I thought Gabbert would have a better day, I hit on the passing yards exactly as I tweeted:

However, Gabbert wasn’t the only one playing poorly as 16-year veteran K Phil Dawson went 0-for-2 on field goals. That’s right, Mr. Automatic was no more at Levi’s Stadium as he missed on a 55-yard field goal and 44-yard field-goal respectively. An off day for Dawson, he will certainly need to shore up his accuracy if the Niners hope to have any chance of a Super Bowl run ala K David Akers status.

With Gabbert and Dawson both struggling on the offensive side of the ball, the defense was no different. Shortly after SS Antoine Bethea left the game in the second-quarter due to a concussion, it was up to SS Craig Dahl to be the “next man-up!” That did not happen. Not only did Dahl not live up to the “next man-up” mentality but he also did not have the “license” to be playing today, as he gave up an easy 17-yard touchdown off a skinny post to TE Julius Thomas. A bad day for Dahl, the 49ers woes continued as the secondary as a whole just looked horrendous.

Not to mention, first-round pick (No. 30) DB Jimmie Ward had a so-so day as he was picked on early by QB Peyton Manning which included a 15-yard quick slant reception to WR Wes Welker, the 49ers defense as a whole was disappointing to say the least. However, Ward did have some big plays and to his credit played well in his natural strong-safety role so it wasn’t all bad for the 49ers first-round pick.

Sports Talk SC

Sports Talk SC

What positives could the 49ers take from this game you ask? Especially from a 34-0 beat down? How about the play of rookie WR Bruce Ellington. Harbaugh had high praise for Ellington as he said, “I thought Bruce Ellington had a heck of a good game.” And boy did Ellington shine with his versatility as he caught four balls for 24 yards while returning two kickoffs for 56 yards for a total of 80 yards from scrimmage which led the team.

Ellingon seemed to be the talk of the town inside Levi’s Stadium as even QB Colin Kaepernick had high praise for his rookie wide receiver. Watch our instagram video below:

I then asked Ellington how much of his basketball skills (point guard) played a role in his development thus far especially in the playbook (having to know all five positions on a basketball court) and Ellington said, “Of course, of course. Because you can line up anywhere so you got to know where every receiver is doing…it helps a lot knowing what the quarterback’s looking at, knowing what the quarterback reads because as a wide receiver you have to know that too.”

With the 49ers losing back-to-back games is it time to panic? Absolutely not, it’s only preseason and they should be more than ready when Week 1 rolls around. Let’s just continue to see how these younger players develop because at the end of the day, there’s going to be some tough decisions to be made as to who stays and who goes.

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.