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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kyle Madson

Takeaways from 49ers’ 23-12 loss to Chargers in last preseason game

The 49ers’ preseason is finally over!

Friday’s 23-12 loss to the Chargers wasn’t how San Francisco likely wanted to end its exhibition slate, but they made it through without any major injuries. There were also some key things to take away from the game that will matter come the Sept. 10 season opener.

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Let’s roll through those takeaways:

It's over!

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The preseason is over, folks! We made it! Rejoice! Now the real work starts. The 49ers have to have their roster trimmed to 53 players by Aug. 29 at 1:00pm Pacific Time.

First-team offense is good

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers first-team offense is ready to rock. That group looked very good against the Broncos, then backed it up with two excellent series Friday night. LT Trent Williams and RB Christian McCaffrey were both not playing, but QB Brock Purdy, WRs Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk, and TE George Kittle all look ready for the regular season.

Kicker health a problem

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers have a burgeoning problem. Jake Moody missed the preseason finale with a quad strain, and Zane Gonzalez suffered a calf injury during the game and couldn’t play. This might be a significant issue for San Francisco going into the regular season. Moody hadn’t been great in his two preseason games so a third game would’ve been helpful for him and the team. Now they may have no kickers going into Week 1.

49ers QBs under microscope

(Photo by Loren Elliott/Getty Images)

While Purdy looks ready to roll, Sam Darnold had an up-and-down outing. He missed a couple of third-down throws, but he also made a nice downfield throw to WR Chris Conley and showed off some mobility behind a shaky offensive line. Still, Darnold beat out QB Trey Lance, leading the 49ers to trade their former No. 3 overall pick. Since they’re making that choice, Darnold has to be stellar. He was not that Friday night.

49ers run defense gashed again

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

This is not to hit the panic button, but the 49ers run defense was putrid during the preseason. It won’t be this bad once the games count, but they allowed 285 yards on 60 carries the first two games. Then Friday night they gave up a whopping 267 rushing yards on 41 carries. In three preseason games that’s 552 yards on 101 carries (5.46 yards per carry). Whatever went wrong in the preseason has to get cleaned up quick.

Ronnie Bell's silence speaks volumes

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Bell was the standout star of the 49ers’ first two preseason games. He had 10 catches for 172 yards and put together more ‘wow’ plays by himself than every other player on the team combined. He had no catches and no targets Friday, and he wasn’t on the field for the latter portions of the game. The fact Bell wasn’t a factor was likely by design, which is a good indicator that the seventh-round pick out of Michigan is on his way to the 53-man roster.

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