Aug 17, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) shake hands after the inaugural football game at Levi
The Denver Broncos crushed the San Francisco 49ers in a preseason bout 34-0 in the first football game ever played at Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers’ new home turf.
The Broncos apparently didn’t care all that much that the Niners were breaking in a brand new, $1.2 billion facility and embarrassed them completely from start to finished.
We’ll be getting more in-depth on some of the matchups the Broncos exploited, how players looked, and other key points of the game, but I wanted to give you the Cliff Notes version of what I noticed in Denver’s impressive shutout performance.
- Peyton Manning looked really solid in just over a quarter of play, completing 12-of-14 passes with a touchdown toss to Julius Thomas, marching the Broncos’ offense straight down the field for two drives totaling 10 points. Manning fit a ball in a really tight window to Wes Welker, and keyed in on Demaryius Thomas for five targets and five catches.
- Thomas looks to be in midseason form. He’s bigger, faster, and stronger than anyone he goes up against on the field.
- Ronnie Hillman looked really good overall, running hard and showing good burst through the lanes the offensive line was opening up. He also caught a pass and finished the game with 25 total yards on five touches.
- Juwan Thompson played an all-around solid game, though the offensive line couldn’t open up any lanes for him to run. He caught a pass out of the backfield from Zac Dysert that was poorly thrown, but he adjusted and made a nice grab and turned upfield, busted up a tackle, and nearly reached the ball over the goal-line before being taken down.
- Cody Latimer had his first catch as a Bronco, and it was a beauty. Brock Osweiler turned a Denver turnover into points immediately, going deep to Latimer for a 33-yard bomb where Latimer dove and cashed in for a touchdown. Latimer also laid a huge block on Antoine Bethea, forcing him out of the game with a concussion.
- John Boyett recovered a fumble and nearly had an interception on the final drive of the game for San Francisco that was tipped in the air and caught by the 49ers player who scampered down the sideline. Boyett has an impressive skillset overall.
- Reserve Charles Mitchell, a safety and former draft pick of the Falcons had a whale of a game. He led the team with five tackles, and every single one of them was a bone-jarring hit. He really stood out in this game.
- Defensive tackle Marvin Austin tipped two passes at the line of scrimmage.
- The Broncos’ defense as a whole was very active in taking the ball away from the Niners, showing really good team speed and aggressiveness.
- Omar Bolden played a really good game as a whole. I’m going to go back and watch through but he stood out on a number of plays both in coverage and run support.
- Broncos QBs finished a combined 30-for-38 and finished the game with one touchdown apiece. They were nearly flawless on the day but Osweiler continues to separate himself from Dysert as the team’s backup QB. He is showing great signs of progression as a player.
- The best run of the day came from Kapri Bibbs, who saw a really nice cutback and hit it with force. He gained 11 yards on the play and showed fantastic burst.
- Greg Wilson, a former practice squad player last year who is fighting for a similar spot this year led the team with six targets. He had a touchdown catch called back on a pick by tight end Cameron Morrah, who scored a touchdown later in the game.
- Steven Johnson had his second interception in as many weeks, and made some nice tackles defensively. He continues his bid for the final linebacker spot on this team.
- Jordan Norwood had one punt return for 17 yards and a catch with the first-team offense. Isaiah Burse had one punt return for 8 yards.
- Kenny Anunike had another nice game applying pressure off the edge. The UDFA out of Duke has a really well-rounded skillset.
More to come, Broncos fans.