What a game, no what a quarter! Manning was on fire, and looked like the Manning of old. Picking apart the 49ers D, left and right(Yeah that's right John Clayton). It was a very encouraging site. What else was encouraging? The 1st team D looked stout once again, the special teams looked solid and overall our starters have looked really really good.
Now on the flip side, our backups haven't looked all that great. There was a few flashes that i will get to later, but overall, our depth is lacking. Thursday game will be big for alot of the guys, who survive todays cuts. However, i came away from yesterdays game very very encouraged and very excited to see our Denver Broncos on primetime, week one playing the Steelers.
Now lets jump and look at some individual winners and losers.
QB Peyton Manning: An obvious choice. Manning picked apart a pretty good 49ers D, and looked the best he has looked all during the Preseason. Manning answered his critics sunday afternoon, Manning was 7-of-7, 104 yards, 1 TD on passes to the right. His rating when passing to his right today was a perfect, 158.3, and he finished the game with 122 yards passes, 2 touchdowns on 10/12 passing. Manning also took a big hit right under his chin, while we all held our breath, Manning popped right up and ran down the field. Manning finishes the preseason 30-of-42 (71.4 percent) for 343 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Pretty good numbers for a QB who missed all of last season and had four neck surgeries.
WR Eric Decker: Decker hauled in 2 TD passes from Manning today. Their chemistry has the potential to be special this season. Decker totaled 4 catches for 38 yards today. Decker ran crisp routes, and showed sure hands. I expect a big year for Decker this year
The entire 1st team OL: The niners were bringing the heat all game long, and they only got to Manning once. The starters have looked great all this preseason, even Ramirez who is in for an injured Chris Kuper. Manning had all day in the pocket and was rarely pressured or rushed
RB's Lance Ball/Knowshon Moreno/Ronnie Hillman/Jeremiah Johnson: All 3 flashed at times today. Ball hauled in a nice 38 yard completion from Manning on a 3rd down play.
Moreno really stood out to me. Whether it be him stiff arming players to the ground, or fighting for extra yardage, it was a solid performance for him. He still is most dangerous in the passing game, but with Manning, that could work out very well for the former first round pick
Ronnie Hillman looked solid as well. He showed the explosiveness we have all ready, he showed he can be patient between the tackles and just looked solid. I'm excited to see more of him Thursday night
Johnson showed explosiveness and sure hands. He really impressed me on a nice run, that was called back on a ticky tacky holding call. It still will be tough for Johnson to crack the roster.
QB Caleb Hanie: Outside of that ugly INT and a fumble, Hanie looked pretty decent. He looked better than rookie Brock Osweiler and 4th stringer Adam Weber. Hanie connected with TE Joel Dreessen for a 5 yard TD pass. It will be interesting if he can carry over his strong performance to the preseason finale against the Cardinals
The entire 1st team Defense: They looked solid once again. They were communicating and attacking the ball carrier and pressuring QB Alex Smith. The only miscue was a blown coverage, which i will cover later in this post. I'm excited to see this unit in the regular season. Is the Orange Crush back?
DE/DT Malik Jackson: Jackson flashed his potential today. He pushed the pile, attacked the ball carrier and forced a fumble. He has earned a roster spot, and will be a valuable piece to this defense. His versatility at DE/DT will be important.
LB's Steven Johnson/Nate Irving: I know the 2nd team D didn't look great today, but these two guys stood out to me personally. I know it wasn't Irvings best game this preseason, but overall he has put together a solid preseason. Johnson the un-drafted LB, was a tackling machine. He totaled 7 total tackles Sunday afternoon, and could be challenging LB's Keith Brooking, Mike Mohammed, and Jerry Franklin for a roster spot.
QB Brock Osweiler: It's hard for me to put him on this list because he wasn't helped out by his teammates at all. Lots of drops, and constant pressure from the defense. However, with Hanies decent performance, Osweiler may not have surpassed him on the depth chart. Thursday night will be a big game for both players. I would like to see Osweiler get some reps with the first team offense, but i don't think we'll see that.
RB Xavier Omon: I don't think i saw him out there. It looks like he might not make it past the cuts tomorrow. Not a good sign when all your competitors at a position get carries and you don't
TE Julius Thomas: Another preseason game where you haven't made much of an impact. I'm not sure if his roster spot is in jeopardy, but i would have liked to see him show more this preseason. Thursday night is a big night for him.
2nd/3rd team WR's: You guys need to catch those balls. There was way to many drive killing drops by these guys. Willis and Caldwell both had their share of drops. Jason Hill and Greg Orton both had some costly drops as well.
Backup OL: I didn't pay much attention to certain players, but outside of Chris Clark, the rest of the OL struggled. One good thing is that once Chris Kuper returns, Ramirez will be a backup once again. Outside of those two, our depth at the OL position isn't very good. One guy who i noticed who did struggle was Adam Grant. He was being pushed around and back into the QB. Wouldn't be surprised if he was apart of the cuts today.
S Rahim Moore: Moore was having a pretty decent preseason so far, but he was burned badly by Vernon Davis. That was the only blemish by our 1st team D today.
The Replacement Refs: Both coaches looked pretty PO'd at these guys, and overall they have been terrible. NFL, get the normal refs back on the field by week 1. Please and Thank you.