SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Brock Purdy ran for a 5-yard touchdown during a brief tune-up for the season opener for San Francisco before the Los Angeles Chargers backups beat the 49ers 23-12 in the exhibition finale on Friday night.
The teams took different approaches in the final preseason game with San Francisco (1-2) playing Purdy and several other starters for two drives, while the Chargers (2-1) used almost exclusively second and third-string players.
“We’re ready to get this thing rolling,” Purdy said.
The game took place only a few hours after the Niners traded former quarterback of the future Trey Lance to Dallas for a fourth-round draft pick.
Lance became expendable less than three years after San Francisco traded three first-round picks to draft him third overall because of the emergence of Purdy.
“Obviously we took our shot, and it didn’t work,” coach Kyle Shanahan said. “That’s on us for that. I’m not going to say anything was a failure. That’d be too much of a negative towards Trey. I get our deal. We took a shot to go for that. We were hoping that he could be our guy, and that didn’t work out. I understand that from our standpoint, but I still do believe in Trey.”
Purdy won the job after Lance got hurt last season and appears ready to build on a strong rookie campaign. He moved the offense easily on his two drives with the first ending when Jordan Mason lost a fumble at the goal line and the second ending with his TD run. Purdy went 5 for 9 for 73 yards.
Sam Darnold, who beat out Lance for the backup job, struggled to get the Niners offense moving in his first three drives but ended the night by throwing a 6-yard TD pass to Willie Snead.
Brandon Allen, who is now in line to be the third-stringer if San Francisco keeps three quarterbacks, threw an interception on his first pass of the game.
The Chargers have been searching for options at running back behind starter Austin Ekeler and Joshua Kelley made a good case for it with a 75-yard run touchdown in the first quarter.
Backup quarterback Easton Stick also led a field-goal drive in the first half. Stick finished 9 for 11 for 38 yards.
Third-string QB Max Duggan threw a 3-yard pass to Hunter Kampmoyer.
“To win a game on the road against a quality team, a team that started their starters in the game was a huge confidence boost for our guys,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said.
Chargers: DL Christian Okoye injured his elbow in the second half but returned to the game.
49ers: Third-round rookie K Jake Moody didn’t play after straining his right quadriceps in practice this week. He is day to day. Zane Gonzalez was expected to play but hurt his calf during pregame warmups and was scratched. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky missed an extra point. … WR Chris Conley (shoulder), DB A.J. Parker (hamstring) and S Taylor Hawkins (hand) left the game with injuries.