49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 26, 2012
First half: Smith looks good but Manning steals the show


Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers got a long look at Peyton Manning in the first quarter Sunday. This time they didn't have to hide themselves in hoodies.

Manning, who is coming off of multiple neck surgeries, completed 10-12 passes in the opening quarter and threw two touchdown passes to wideout Eric Decker as Denver took a 24-10 lead into the half.

Manning also led an eight-play drive on Denver's opening possession that ended in a 53-yard field goal. Mannning's passer rating is 148.6. he was hit only once -- by Parys Haralson as he completed a 38-yard pass to running back lance Ball, his longest pass of the game.

Opposing offenses have scored on six of the first seven drives this year against the 49ers' vaunted first-string defense. However, several notable defenders have been missing over that span. Right outside linebacker Aldon Smith and inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman missed today's game. Manning's 10-yard touchdown to Decker was the first touchdown surrendered by San Francisco's top unit this year.

Meanwhile, Smith took two more hits but looked solid in going 4-4 for 65 yards in the opening quarter. His biggest pass was a 44-yard touchdown strike to Vernon Davis, who had gotten past outside linebacker Von Miller. It was the 49ers' longest pass of the preseason.

Still, the first-team offense didn't operate smoothly. Smith burned all three timeouts and the 49ers were penalized on three straight plays. Following a timeout, Smith was flagged for delay of game after a mix up in which personnel should be on the field.

Colin Kaepernick entered the game late in the second quarter to run out the clock before the half. Smith left the game 5-7 for 69 yards and a 142.3 passer rating.


With Chris Culliver (knee) hurt, Tramaine Brock entered the game as the No. 3 cornerback. However, it was Perrish Cox who had his second interception on the preseason.

Outside linebacker Eric Bakhtiari took a knee to the side of the helmet and did not return. Newcomer Ikaika Alama-Francis filled in for him at left outside linebacker with the second-team defense.

Will Tukuafu, who's been nursing a knee injury, had a sack from his right defensive end position. Larry Grant leads all tacklers with nine.

Offensive guard Leonard Davis entered the game as an extra tight end on several plays, an indication he could be part of the 49ers' "heavy jumbo" packages this year.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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