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SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 02: Anthony Dixon #33 of the San Francisco 49ers runs on his way to scoring a touchdown during their game againsst the San Diego Chargers at Candlestick Park on September 2, 2010 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Anthony Dixon
The Bay Area heat wave finally cooled down Thursday night. But the San Francisco 49ers' preseason hot streak continued to sizzle.
The 49ers put the finishing touches on a perfect 4-0 preseason with a 17-14 win over the San Diego Chargers at Candlestick Park. It's the Niners' first perfect preseason record since 1992.
Of course, these were not the Philip Rivers/Darren Sproles super Chargers who have gone to the AFC playoffs each of the last four seasons. Billy Volek started for the Chargers at quarterback, and he was one of the guys you would have heard of.
But the 49ers didn't play any of their premier players on offense, either. Frank Gore, Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Alex Smith all sat this one out.
Backup 49ers running back Anthony Dixon did well enough. He ran for 46 yards and a touchdown on his first carry. Dixon finished with 12 carries for 80 yards.
Manny Lawson made things interesting in the second quarter, intercepting a Volek pass in the end zone and dancing it back to the Chargers' 38-yard line. A David Carr touchdown pass to Dominique Ziegler was ruled an incompletion after replay review, and The Faithful had to settle for a Joe Nedney 25-yard field goal.
The Chargers' bumbling backups finally got on the scoreboard with six minutes left in the third quarter. Special teams breakdowns allowed rookie Jeremy Williams a 93-yard punt return for touchdown. One 49er got one hand on Williams, and that was about all the return defense you saw on that.
Two plays later, Nate Davis tossed a long interception. One pass interference penalty and a short touchdown run by some Charger called Curtis Brinkley later, the Niners found themselves losing 14-10.
Up to that point, Nate Davis just hadn't looked good enough to lead a comeback. But Nate Davis did come through in one way -- being in the right place at the right time.
Davis had thrown the ball away on a third-and-four with just over ten minutes left in the game, much to the chagrin of The Faithful. But Seahawks linebacker Brandon Lang gave Davis a little extra shove after the throw-away.
Roughing the passer. Fifteen yards. Comeback underway.
Nate made the most the resurrected drive, marching the 49ers downfield and hitting backup running back JehuuCaulcrick on a two-yard floater. The 49ers went back ahead, 17-14.
The Chargers had a chance to win it at the end, barrelling all the way to the Niners' 22-yard line with 38 seconds left. But rookie Tramaine Brock intercepted the Chargers' last-gasp pass on fourth down to seal the win.
Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who swears those people off checking out cute girls at Burning Man have no idea what a quality preseason game they missed here.