Marlon Moore was the 49ers' starting receiver and Kassim Osgood was the leading receiver in the first half of today's game against the Broncos.
A.J. Jenkins? The former first-round pick had another up-and-down outing.
As has been the case in training-camp practices, Jenkins played more snaps than any other receiver. But he caught only one of the three passes that went his way, and he fumbled away the ball after initially escaping the cornerback. Another deep pass to Jenkins from Colt McCoy was intercepted. In fairness, Jenkins had broken free on the play but McCoy did not account for the Broncos safety. McCoy suffered a shoulder injury prior to that play and did not return to the game.
Colin Kaepernick started the game with a methodical, 13-play drive reminiscent of his predecessor, Alex Smith. It included two passes to newcomer Anquan Boldin, who has been the quarterback's most trusted target in training camp, and another to tight end Vernon Davis for 12 yards.
A scrambling Kaepernick also hit Moore on a diving, 12-yard catch on third-down. But the 49ers had been backed up by an Anthony Davis false star on the sequence and had to settle for a 32-yard field goal by Phil Dawson, his first as a 49er.
And with that, Kaepernick's day was over.
McCoy entered on the ensuing sequence, underscoring that Kaepernick not only is the unquestioned starter but that risking him to an August injury -- which occurred to McCoy -- far outweighs any added polish he can achieve in the exhibition season.
Most of the team's other veterans also had a short night, and some, like running back Frank Gore, didn't get into the game at all. With Kendall Hunter still rehabilitating from an Achilles' injury suffered last season, LaMichael James started at tailback and gained 24 yards on the opening drive. James, however, struggled when the 49ers' starting offensive line wasn't in front of him. He gained only three more yards on four more carries the rest of the half and nearly fumbled away a handoff deep in San Francisco territory on the opening drive.
The next running back in the game was D.J. Harper, an undrafted rookie from Boise State, who has impressed coaches with his toughness this summer. Harper, however, was partly responsible for the Broncos' first score when he was hit in the backfield, fumbled and Denver outside linebacker Shaun Phillips picked up the loose ball and ran in for a short touchdown.
Another undrafted rookie, tackle Patrick Omameh missed his block on the play, which allowed the Broncos inside linebacker to get a clean hit on Harper.
Other rookies fared better. Although Craig Dahl started at free safety, first-round draft pick Eric Reid entered in the first half and had a big hit that sent Broncos tight end Virgil Green sprawling out of bounds. Second-round pick Vance McDonald caught a 19-yard pass from Colt McCoy. The tight end also dropped a pass in the first half.
-- Matt Barrows