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Struggling 49ers top Chargers for first victory in club's new stadium (w/video)

  • Backup running back Carlos Hyde finds a hole in the line. Hyde carried 6 times for 38 yards. The San Francisco 49ers beat the San Diego Chargers, 21-7, in a preseason game on Aug. 24, 2014. (John Burgess / The Press Democrat)

SANTA CLARA — Colin Kaepernick went down once, then again and another time.

Pressured from every direction by San Diego’s defense, the quarterback had limited good looks before turning the game over to backup Blaine Gabbert.

The 49ers’ offense still looks shaky two weeks from the regular season, and it did just enough for the team’s first preseason victory in a 21-7 win against the Chargers on Sunday. The offensive line showed vulnerabilities all day.

San Francisco 49ers vs. San Diego Chargers

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“We’ve got to work on that. We’ve got to be good in that area,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “I thought our precision was better offensively, defensively and on special teams — productive plays, execution.”

There were tens of thousands of empty seats hours after an overnight 6.0-magnitude earthquake struck in the Northern California wine country near Napa. The quake affected some public transportation options to the new $1.2 billion stadium, which was sold out last Sunday.

The patchy field is still hardly ideal, with visible lines where new sod was placed Friday after the initial turf failed to hold.

Phil Dawson kicked a 39-yard field goal at the 9:27 mark of the second quarter, ending an eight-quarter scoreless drought for the 49ers as they doubled their preseason total. Dawson added another from 28 yards a week after missing twice.

Dawson didn’t get on the field until Sunday morning.

“I’m just amazed that was playable,” Dawson said. “It was an improvement, so hats off to those guys who worked so hard to get it in. Fortunately I missed two last week so my focus was solely on trying to make a field goal, so I didn’t have enough room in my brain to worry about the field.”

Gabbert threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Vance McDonald late in the first half for the 49ers’ first TD of the preseason. That capped a drive in which Gabbert went 5 for 6.


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