© Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports
SANTA CLARA – The final practice before the 49ers see some real(ish) action against another NFL team (the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday) started off slow, but quickly kicked into gear in situational drills which saw entertainment and game speed from all three of the 49ers’ quarterbacks.
The quarterback report
Jimmy Garoppolo: 30 snaps, 13-for-22, 4 TDs, 1 INT, 1 spike, 1 dropped pass
After a quartet of short throws. a pair of back-to-back incompletions from the 8-yard-line on an overthrow (Marquise Goodwin made a catch with his feet out of bounds) and an incompletion (a pass breakup by Kwon Alexander on George Kittle), and the first non-deflected interception Garoppolo has thrown (his third total interception, one in each of the last three days) snagged by Tarvarius Moore on an attempt to Trent Taylor, Garoppolo snapped into shape.
He completed back-to-back touchdown passes from the 2-yard-line to Tevin Coleman and Trent Taylor (both well-thrown balls and well-run speed routes), made a nice handoff to Coleman on a great outside running touchdown after a low snap, then hit Taylor agains for a touchdown before a pass to Dante Pettis was broken up.
The next, and final time he stepped in, the 49ers ran a fourth-quarter situation with 1:15 on the clock, trailing 24-20 with two time outs, and the ball at the team’s own 45-yard line (the clock did not stop unless a timeout was called).
The drive opened with a completion to George Kittle, followed by a short pass to Tevin Coleman and the first time out. After an incompletion to Taylor, a tipped/dropped pass to Marquise Goodwin and a touchdown break up by Moore on Kittle, Garoppolo connected with Pettis against Fred Warner on a bullet throw over the middle for a first down and follow-up spike with 27 seconds remaining.
Pettis slipped on the ensuing deep target, but did enough to break up a would-be interception by Jaquiski Tartt. Then, Jordan Matthews went clutch.
Garoppolo hit Matthews on the right sideline for a 13-yard, first down yardage gain and – after an incompletion on a near touchdown to Taylor, who didn’t have the reach to make the catch made a nice catch – then again, this time at the the nine-yard line, with Matthews getting out of bounds (the clock should have stopped, but did not). A timeout was called with four seconds left; Garoppolo hit Taylor over the middle against Tartt for a theoretical game-winning touchdown against Tartt.
Nick Mullens: 18 snaps, 8-for-12, 2 TDs
Mullens looks the better backup quarterback so far, although head coach Kyle Shanahan said he hasn’t decided who will start on Saturday. Mullens has put together at least four solid, would-be scoring drives from the 49ers’ side of the field in multiple situations, with the main concerns being the the two fumbles on snaps so far. His successful drive on Thursday preceded Garoppolo’s (in the same, 1:15 remaining scenario).
The drive opened with a fantastic catch by Pettis, followed by a short slant completion to Jalen Hurd and an incompletion to Pettis. An offsides call on the defense brought the ball five yards forward and set up another pass over the middle to Hurd, before a 23-yard completion to Hurd again. With 26 seconds left, Mullens hit Kaden Smith over the middle on a tight touchdown throw. His other touchdown was in an 8-yard red zone situation on a short crossing route to Matt Breida.
C.J. Beathard: 18 snaps, 9-for-15, 2 TDs, 1 would-be sack, 1 dropped pass
The start of Beathard’s drive was fantastic, but once a timeout was called, it sputtered out. He hit Levine Toilolo, Deebo Samuel on the left versus D.J. Reed, then Samuel again versus Reed, when Samuel turned upfield with ankle-breaking agility. Then, the timeout was called.
After that timeout, Beathard went long to Richie James Jr., who got a hand on it (with Reed covering well), but with no real chance to make the grab. Then Beathard was let down by tight end Daniel Helm, who had a drop, followed by an incompletion to Helm. His final pass was bailed out by an offsides call on an incompletion to Malik Henry, but that was the final play of 11-on-11s.
Tarvarius makes Moore good plays
That horrific pun is out of the system; the point of it serving to draw your eyes to this section, which is here to affirm another good day from Tarvarius Moore on Wednesday. Moore had two terrific plays (plus a host of other good coverages), both of which had touchdown potential if not for his interruption.
The first was a would-be touchdown to George Kittle, which came on third down of Garoppolo’s drive, on a deep ball. If not for Moore’s breakup, Kittle would have broken it up. Here’s Moore’s take on that play:
“Seeing Jimmy, he tried to look me off, seen Kittle running down the sideline, kind of open so I started to lean that way, and once I’d seen him look that way to throw it, I just broke,” Moore said. “I was hoping to get there, seen I could, seen Kittle reach out for the ball and just tried to play his hands.”
The biggest play of the day was Moore’s interception of Garoppolo. As mentioned, it was the first time Garoppolo threw a genuine, non-deflected interception in camp (there have been multiple occasions of dropped interceptions prior to his first interception on Tuesday.) Garoppolo was looking for over the middle, and had his route jumped by Moore.
Moore said he read the route of Dante Pettis.
“We were just playing the coverage, basically a mesh coverage I had number two, I’d seen Pettis, he gave me an outside stem to work back inside,” Moore said. “I just broke inside on it and when I looked up on it, I just saw the ball, so just went for it.”
Greenlaw continues to make strides (while Malcolm Smith remains out)
While Malcolm Smith stays out of 11-on-11s with hamstring tightness, Dre Greenlaw continues to state his case – and assertively, at that – for the starting SAM linebacker spot (which, considering the frequency of the 49ers’ nickel package, utilizing two linebackers in Fred Warner and Kwon Alexander, could prove to be more the first starting spot).
Early in practice (which is when Greenlaw tends to get plenty of run in traditional 4-3 alignments), Greenlaw had a pair of consecutive stops; the first, a pitch play to Matt Breida, which he blew up, and the second, another stop by Raheem Mostert on a run play. The nickel package could make Greenlaw the first linebacker off the bench, rather than the third starting spot, but he’s shown a lot so far in camp. He’ll need to show his coverage abilities more frequently, and Saturday’s first preseason game against the Dallas Cowboys will be an opportunity to do that.