The San Francisco 49ers were able to get another preseason victory as they beat the Minnesota Vikings 34-14. This was a night for Jim Harbaugh to showcase Colt McCoy. There are five quarterbacks on the roster but McCoy played the majority of the game. B.J. Daniels did get a chance to show off his athletic ability. Seneca Wallace also got a chance to play at the end of the game.
The highlight of the game has to be the play of Quinton Patton. He had missed most of camp due to a broken finger. He still got some reps in camp but was not able to catch the ball. Patton started out as the third receiver and worked from the slot. He made a few nice catches in traffic and also scored a touchdown.
The touchdown came on a play in which Colin Kaepernick went through his reads and hit Patton on a slant. Earlier in that drive, Patton did a good job of turning the corner back around at the line of scrimmage on another slant route. He was able to get an inside release as he gave the corner a move to the outside and came back inside.
Another thing that stood out about Patton was how he was able to instantly have an impact in an offense that is usually hard to learn, especially for rookie wide receivers. Patton showed that he is ready to assume a role in the offense and be a play maker.
The early grade on the A.J. Jenkins for Jonathan Baldwin trade will be advantage 49ers. Jonathan Baldwin went up and made a nice catch for a twenty yard gain on a throw from McCoy. He held onto the ball despite being hit by two players. Baldwin finished with two catches for 23 yards.
Harbaugh made it a point to leave McCoy in the game for the bulk of the reps. McCoy had a decent game and actually was in a very good rhythm on his first drive which started from the two yard line. Unfortunately, the drive was stalled when Chad Greenway fooled McCoy into throwing an interception. Greenway attacked the line of scrimmage looking like he was going to blitz, then he dropped back into coverage.
McCoy ended up with a decent game from the stat sheet perspective as he was 11/15 for 109 yards. He just seems to get so rattled when the pass rush gets near him. Some quarterbacks struggle with keeping their eyes down field when the pocket collapses. It almost seems like McCoy goes into flight mode and wants to take off when he gets pressured.
The 49ers were said to have been shopping McCoy prior to this game because they signed Seneca Wallace. Ironically, Harbaugh said he felt comfortable with McCoy as the backup. Who really knows the truth though. There have been times when Harbaugh has said one thing and the exact opposite happened next.
The 49ers’ defense continued to look strong. Ahmad Brooks got to the quarterback twice early in the game. He was able to knock the ball away from Christian Ponder and Aldon Smith recovered it. Justin Smith also spent some time in backfield. He had a very nice tackle for a loss when he knifed through the offense line to stop the Vikings on a 3rd and inches play.
Vance McDonald made his return and had two nice catches, especially one where he hurdled a defender and lowered the shoulder on a would be tackler.
Eric Reid made his first start as an NFL player and was tested right away on a play action pass to Greg Jennings. He showed discipline by not biting on the play fake and stayed with his man.
Kendall Hunter made his preseason debut and showed that he is still explosive with a nice 15 yard run right through the middle of the defense.
The second team offensive line continued to struggle. They could not get any push and allowed the Vikings’ to get pressure on the 49er quarterbacks.
Lavelle Hawkins had a 105 yard kick off return for a touchdown but was flagged for taunting and removing his helmet.
Perish Cox struggled a bit tonight especially on a play in the red zone when Joe Webb out jumped him for a touchdown.
Phil Dawson continued to be impressive as he hit on another 50 yard field goal. He is 14/15 on field goals of 50 yards or more over the last two years.
The 49ers looked good tonight. There will be some guys playing for their NFL lives next week in the last preseason game when they travel to San Diego to play the Chargers on Thursday.