Story and photo by R. Mascardo

SANTA CLARA– The exhibition finale gave the 49ers’ backups and long shots on the night of September 6 underLevi’s Stadium lights.

Niners dared to deploy defensive tackle Solomon Thomas and linebacker Reuben Foster, at least in the first quarterof an eventual 23-21 loss.

Each defender made super hard tackles at the Los Angeles Chargers backfield and then, most important, each exited without injury.

Coach Shanahan planned to play Foster throughout the exhibition season and that came to fruition only after hegained clearance Wednesday from the concussion protocol.

Just like when he was a rookie, quarterback C.J. Beathard absorbed punishment in the pocket. He gotsacked on the third down on the opening series when left tackle Darrell Williams Jr. couldn’t stop linebackerUchenna Nwosu’s bull rush. Beathard held the ball too long with three seconds in a collapsing pocket behind second-string line. Pulling Beathard after that hit proved a good move.

Photo by R. Mascardo

With a couple of seconds left in the fourth quarter and a chance to end exhibition season on a winning note, Chargers’ Robert Aguayo kicked a 26-yard field goal to lead theLos Angeles Chargers to Victory.

Photo by R. Mascardo


NEXT: 49ers visit Minnesota for the opener September 9