For the 0-2 49ers, the game's focus shifted away from the NFL debut of Levi's Stadium and onto the apparent struggles San Francisco has endured over the previous two games.
Many of the 49ers first teamers stayed out on the field longer than just a mere drive or two. We saw the debuts of veterans like defensive ends Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, along with linebacker Patrick Willis.
The Chargers took an early lead with a touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to tight end Antonio Gates, putting San Diego up 7-0 at the end of the first quarter. The 49ers answered back with a field goal from Phil Dawson, putting up the franchise's first points at Levi's Stadium.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick was relieved, along with most of the starters, midway through the second quarter. Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert, already having been subject to ridicule, finally found some rhythm and connected with tight end Vance McDonald for the first 49ers touchdown at Levi's Stadium.
The 49ers have tacked on another field goal early in the fourth quarter as well as a 27-yard touchdown rush from depth back Glenn Winston with a two-point conversion attached have all but sealed this game for San Francisco.
In the fourth quarter, the game was turned over to many of both team's bubble players trying to make a roster. The first wave of roster cuts will take place shortly after the game as the 49ers drop their roster from 90 to 75 players.
San Francisco's second- and third-team units clearly outplayed those of the Chargers, earning the 49ers their first victory of the preseason.
There remain some offensive questions for the 49ers heading forward in this tune-up game. The offensive line had some bad moments. San Francisco also had some struggles gaining momentum in the passing game. Look for these to be resolved in coming weeks before the regular season kicks off.
FINAL: 49ers 21, Chargers 7
All statistics, records and accolades courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise indicated.
Peter Panacy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report, covering the San Francisco 49ers.
Follow him @PeterMcShots on Twitter.
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