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What we learned from 49ers win against Broncos

*Week 2 of preseason action concluded Monday night with the returns of Jimmy Garoppolo and Emmanuel Sanders as the 49ers faced the Broncos. Here's what we learned: *

  1. It wasn't the start Jimmy Garoppolo wanted -- or any other quarterback would for that matter. After an incompletion on his first throw, Garappolo was swarmed by Bradley Chubb and threw an interception to Isaac Yiadom. That's how his first drive ended. Jimmy G tossed two more incompletions, the second -- after more Chubb pressure -- was another interception in the making before it was dropped by the defender. And that's how his second drive ended. Garoppolo's first and only completion was for no gain to Matt Breida on second and 16. And that's how his night ended -- 1 for 6 for 0 yards, one interception and a 0.0 QB rating on three series. In five NFL seasons, Garoppolo has made but 10 starts. Following much ballyhoo about predicted days of dazzle ahead in the summer of 2018, Garroppolo was lost for the regular season - just three games in - with an ACL tear. Getting him back and on the field has been highly anticipated and, preseason or not, Monday was very disappointing as his first action since September concluded with him throwing for more interceptions than he had yards. The time is very much now for Jimmy G and though overreacting to preseason games is never a healthy approach, it's hard to shrug this one off, especially considering how much he struggled earlier at practice and now in live action. 

"I just, personally, I have to be better," Garoppolo said after the game.

  1. No time was wasted testing out how Emmanuel Sanders would do following an abbreviated 2018 due to a torn Achilles and a pair of offseason surgeries. With new Broncos QB Joe Flacco throwing it to him, Sanders hauled in a five-yard reception on the Broncos' first offensive play. Later on the opening drive, Sanders even took a hand-off on an end-around and looked in prime form as he sprinted for a 19-yard gain. In large part, the Denver offense is a young one. With Flacco doing well (he looked fine and dandy with a 7-for-11 line for 59 yards) and Sanders back, key leadership and skill is now in the first-team huddle for Denver.
  1. Plain and simple, Bradley Chubb was a stud off the edge as a rookie. His rookie season played out as an immediate introduction to a new dominant pass-rushing force. And this is all playing opposite one of the very best in Von Miller. With Miller sitting out of the action on Monday, Chubb was forcing interceptions and completely terrorizing signal-callers opposing him. His night ended with three tackles, two quarterback hits, a sack and the feeling that this is just the beginning of something special for an already imposing Broncos defense.
  1. One embarrassment of riches for the 49ers would seem to be their running backs. With Matt Breida, Jerrick McKinnon and free-agent addition Tevin Coleman, there might not be enough carries to go around, but there's likely to be plenty of yards gained. While McKinnon is still yet to see action coming back from his torn ACL, Coleman and Breida made their debuts on Monday. While Garoppolo's misses colored the 49er night, Coleman burst through the right side for a 12-yard gain on the game's first play from scrimmage. He had two more carries and gained 21 yards in three totes, looking every bit the promising weapon out of the backfield that he'd been at his best with the Falcons. Breida, who battled injuries in 2018 but still managed to make his mark with 814 yards rushing, had just one carry for four yards, but a glimpse was provided and while one aspect of the Niners' backfield fell flat, another showed promise. And don't forget Raheem Mostert, who composed a stellar night with a rushing score and 58 yards on six carries along with 42 yards receiving on a pair of catches.
  1. With Sanders gaining the biggest highlight for the Broncos' running game, it's difficult to take much away from the youthful competition for RB1 in Denver. Philip Lindsay had five carries for 14 yards, which at 2.8 yards per carry certainly isn't spectacular. But in just as many carries, Royce Freeman had zero yards. Lindsay and Freeman will each get their share of carries when the regular season rolls around, but more production will need to be found if the Broncos' offense is to find its way. Lindsay and Freeman are an exciting tandem, but exciting tandems can't combine to run for 14 yards in 10 carries for long.
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