The punters and the defenses ruled the first half of Sunday Night Football. Both teams punted five times. Five of the 49ers’ seven drives started inside the 25, and the Broncos had three of six start inside the 25.
The teams combined for only 10 points as the 49ers took a 7-3 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Jimmy Garoppolo completed a 3-yard pass to Brandon Aiyuk for a touchdown in the first quarter. Officials, though, missed an offensive pass interference penalty on Deebo Samuel, according to NBC rules analyst Terry McAulay.
Garoppolo is 11-of-17 for 135 yards and a touchdown; Jeff Wilson has rushed for 55 yards on eight carries; and Samuel has five receptions for 73 yards.
Samuel gave the 49ers a scare with 10:06 remaining in the second quarter. He caught a 5-yard pass from Graoppolo before the Broncos converged on him, and he was swallowed up under the pile of blue jerseys. Samuel remained on the ground after the play.
He eventually walked off under his own power, and, after a brief visit to the medical tent, returned to the game.
The Broncos went three-and-out on their first three possession. They finally put something together on a eight-play, 57-yard drive that ended with a 55-yard field goal by Brandon McManus after the 49ers declined a holding penalty on Cam Fleming on third down.
Denver began its fourth drive on the 1-yard line after Mitch Wishnowsky‘s punt landed just short of the end zone, and Sam Womack leaped to tap it back into the field of play, where Ross Dwelley downed it. Nathaniel Hackett challenged the ruling on the field, but the play was upheld.
The Broncos went 58 yards in 11 plays before punting. The drive stalled after Denver reached the San Francisco 28 when Melvin Gordon lost 6 yards, Wilson threw an incompletion and Wilson took a 7-yard sack. Rookie Drake Jackson‘s first career sack pushed the Broncos out of field goal range.
Broncos punter Corliss Waitman has averaged 46.4 yards per punt with three of five punts downed inside the 20. Wishnowsky has averaged 53.0 yards per punt with two of five punts down inside the 20.
The 49ers downgraded linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair to out with a knee injury.