SAN FRANCISCO -- Though the full complement of starters didn't see much playing time Thursday evening at Candlestick Park, the Broncos still got a number of firsts out of the way in the 2013 preseason opener.
While the club's first points didn't come until most of the starters were out of the game --
Most of the Broncos' starters saw about a quarter of action against the 49ers, though a few players -- like Manning, cornerback
Manning finished the game 2-of-4 for for 13 yards, helping the offense pick up two first downs before the drive stalled near midfield thanks to some pressure by 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith.
"That’s a very good defense we’re going against and it’s typical of a first game,” Head Coach John Fox said at halftime.
Both of his Manning's completions went to a Thomas -- Julius first and wide receiver Demaryius later in the seven-play drive. Running back
The offense started in a three-receiver set, with
As for the defense, the starting unit comprised of
Though the 49ers picked up a first-and-10 at the Denver 20-yard line, the defense held strong. First, Bradley made a stop for no gain on a run, then the 49ers committed a false-start penalty. A tackle of LaMichael James in the backfield by Woodyard made it third-and-16, and though quarterback Colin Kaepernick found a receiver for a 12-yard gain, the third-down stop forced a 32-yard field goal, the first points of the game.
“I think defensively we played pretty good," Fox said at halftime. "Offensively, we struggled a little bit – mostly, in particular, (with) blocking."