St. Croix’s Juwan Thompson Scores Winning Touchdown For The Broncos
Juwan Thompson scores winning touchdown
DENVER – On the strength of a one-yard touchdown run by Juwan Thompson of St. Croix, the Denver Broncos picked up a 19-12 victory over the San Francisco 49ers Saturday night at Sports Authority Field.
Taking the ball at his own 20-yard line, Brock Osweiler led the Broncos 80 yards in three minutes and 39 seconds to set up the go-ahead score with 2:08 left in the game.
He went 4-of-6 for 36 yards on the drive and was undoubtedly helped by a pass interference penalty that moved the ball to the 49ers’ 1-yard line.
From there, Thompson did the rest, breaking the plane of the goal line for the winning touchdown. Les Shapiro of The Sports Show with Woody & Les said that Thompson could be a breakout star this coming season.
“Broncos coaching staff finding out what many of us felt last year,” Shapiro wrote on Twitter. “Nobody talks about Juwan Thompson. But maybe they should.”
It’s certainly becoming apparent Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak is favoring Thompson more than Montee Ball, who carried the ball four times for 11 yards. Should Ball fail to make the team, it will be quite a fall for the 2013 second-round pick.
Shifting gears, Osweiler played very well for the most part, finishing 15-of-20 for 104 yards. Of course, it obviously won’t be enough to supplant Peyton Manning, who completed 14 of his 21 passes for 124 and an interception. He was also sacked three times, losing 21 yards.
Manning played the entirety of the first half before making way for his understudy.
Broncos fans will also be happy with the combination of Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson, who together ran for 84 yards on 18 carries.
Meanwhile, the defeat will do nothing to silence many of Colin Kaepernick’s skeptics, who have remained unmoved by his play this preseason.
In relatively short appearances during the 49ers’ first two games, Kaepernick was a combined 3-of-8 for 27 yards. Week 3 offered him a chance to see a little bit more of the field and find a groove with what is a somewhat new offense.
“Our guys will play a little more this week than they have in the last couple of games,” said head coach Jim Tomsula before the game, per Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.
More snaps didn’t translate into better numbers for Kaepernick, who finished 2-of-5 through the air for 13 yards in the first half. He did, however, rush for 53 yards on three carries.
Kaepernick’s lack of time in the pocket was evident on the Niners’ third drive of the game.
San Francisco found itself in a 3-0 hole following a field goal from Brandon McManus with 2:55 left in the first quarter. A few possessions later, Kaepernick and the 49ers offense were starting from their own 3-yard line. The drive lasted exactly one play as DeMarcus Ware sacked Kaepernick in the end zone for a safety.
The two teams exchanged field goals over the final two minutes of the first half as the Broncos took an 8-3 lead into the locker room.
Corey Acosta got San Francisco to within two points, 8-6, with a 50-yarder a little under 10 minutes into the second half. Then, with 23 seconds remaining in the third quarter, he split the uprights from 38 yards out to put the Niners ahead 9-8.
McManus answered back with a 45-yard field goal 3:14 into the fourth quarter that put the Broncos back into the lead, 11-9.
That advantage lasted roughly six minutes as Acosta wrapped up his perfect night with a 29-yarder.
What might get lost in the final score is the performance of Blaine Gabbert, who finished 9-of-11 for 96 yards. As the Sacramento Bee‘s Matt Barrows notes, Gabbert is far from a beloved figure in the Bay Area, but fans can’t completely ignore his work over the last few weeks.
“Blaine Gabbert won ‘Most Despised 49er’ last year, but he’s been sharp this preseason, has made all the right reads,” Barrows wrote on Twitter.
Ultimately, what most will remember is Kaepernick’s lackluster night and Thompson’s touchdown in the fourth quarter.
The Broncos will close out their preseason on Thursday night at home against the Arizona Cardinals. While these games may be meaningless in the grand scheme of things, the fact Denver has allowed an average of 233.3 yards a game over the last three weeks is a good sign of things to come over the next few months.
The outlook isn’t quite so rosy for the 49ers. Fans already know this year could be pretty rough given all of the turnovers both on the field and in the coaching staff. Although getting too positive or negative over preseason results is never a good idea, San Francisco has shown few encouraging signs so far.
Maybe it can turn things around against the San Diego Chargers next week.