Heidi-ho, and off we go, on to the second quarter …
5:45 P.M. PDT: This press box is just sound-proof enough for me to be unable to get a feel for the music. But I can tell they’re playing Jungle Boogie right now. Always a good choice, even when we’re not in Cincinnati.
5:46 P.M. PDT: Touchdown, Troy Fleming, who looked very much like Kyle Johnson in swinging to the goal line in the right side of the field to receive Patrick Ramsey’s pass. The three-yard score puts Denver back in front, 14-10.
5:51 P.M. PDT: Running-back stats — Mike Bell: Five carries for 35 yards; Cecil Sapp: two carries for 13 yards; Travis Henry: five carries for 27 yards. The second-team defense makes its first appearance, and the tandem of defensive ends Jarvis Moss and Tim Crowder made its first impact, as both stalked Trent Dilfer and forced him to the left side, where Crowder notched the sack. Two plays later, Jimmy Kennedy stops Michael Robinson in the open field, and the 49ers will punt from their 24-yard-line.
5:52 P.M. PDT: Domenik Hixon returns his first NFL punt and finds little room to roam; with a wave of scarlet jerseys about to descend upon him, he lurches forward and takes his 6-yard return — just about all he could get on the play.
5:58 P.M. PDT: First it looked like Tarell Brown had an interception of Ramsey on a pass to the left side for Brian Clark. Now, we have an instant-replay challenge, with the Broncos claiming that Brown did not have control of the football when he went out of bounds. In this case, the Broncos’ coaches had the best immediate angle; the play took place at the San Francisco 45-yard-line on the east side of the field, immediately in front of some of Denver’s coaches. But the play was upheld, and the 49ers have good field position to begin a drive for the third time this afternoon.
6 P.M. PDT: Jarvis Moss remains in the game as the Broncos defense goes to work for another series.
6:01 P.M. PDT: Outstanding defense by Curome Cox keeps 49ers tight end Billy Bajema from a 15-yard recpetion on second-and-6 from the Denver 39 … One play later, though, Dilfer found Taylor Jacobs in front of Jeff Shoate for 11 yards and a drive-sustaining first down.
6:05 P.M. PDT: Moss now not in the game as the 49ers move into the red zone … but the Broncos get the stop, as Nate Webster clobbers Michael Robinson after the ball came skipping through from Dilfer. Steve Cargile nearly intercepted the deflected pass, but the officials ruled the football hit the ground. The Broncos still lead, though, after Joe Nedney’s field goal narrows their edge to a point.
6:13 P.M. PDT: After a Denver three-and-out and a quick trip to the water closet, I find the the Broncos’ run defense getting a tad gashed as Robinson sprints for 10 yards on the first play of the 49ers’ offensive series. The Niners are now averaging 4.7 yards per carry …
6:15 P.M. PDT: And the officials rule that “Number 82″ committed a neutral-zone infraction for the Broncos. Stephen Alexander was not playing defense; I’m certain that referee Pete Morelli meant No. 92, Elvis Dumervil. But worse than that is the sight of rookie defensive end Tim Crowder being treated on the field; he did rise and walk off the field under his own power.
6:18 P.M. PDT: Dilfer had little chance as Dumervil sprinted past Niners tackle Adam Snyder for a sack and a seven-yard loss. Aside from the neutral-zone infraction, Dumervil is having a very good night rushing the passer, with his quarterback-pressure in the first quarter potentially saving the Broncos four points.
6:24 P.M. PDT: Hooo boy … Karl Paymah called for illegal contact, as he and Taylor Jacobs mixed up with Jacobs eventually being guided out of bounds. We’re seeing more laundry now; a 49ers false-start penalty takes us to three infractions in the last six snaps. Tim Crowder is also back in the game, playing left end.
6:27 P.M. PDT: Some alarming numbers for the Broncos — well, at least as alarming as statistics can get in a game whose outcome will be rendered meaningless in two and a half weeks. The 49ers are controlling the pace of the game, with a 40-percent third-down success ratio and a 7:17 advantage in time of possession (18:00-10:43). What is promising for the Broncos is the effectiveness of their three runners (team average of 6.2 yards per carry), an average of 6.0 yards per offensive play and three sacks so far. Denver also hasn’t yielded a sack so far tonight.
6:29 P.M. PDT: One thing I do like about instant-replay delays … I get a chance to catch up on statistics and game flow. But so far, both instant-replay uses have gone against the Broncos, this one turning a drive-stopping incompletion into a four-yard pass for a first down that also moves the Niners into the outer reaches of Joe Nedney’s field-goal range at the Denver 34.
6:31 P.M. PDT: And as soon as the Niners are in scoring range, they are out, as Dilfer’s pass to Delanie Walker wasn’t even close, giving Hamza Abdullah a chance to grab it and return it 31 yards to the Denver 44. Twenty-six seconds left and two timeouts, so there is a chance for the Broncos to get more yardage …
6:32 P.M. PDT: … and then Adam Meadows commits a false-start penalty. First-and-15 from the 39.
6:34 P.M. PDT: Broncos go to the shotgun formation, Patrick Ramsey rolls right, looks for Domenik Hixon across the left side, and Dashon Goldson intercepts the football. Ramsey threw across the field into double coverage, but it didn’t matter, as you can scratch the pick because Goldson was called for pass interference.
6:35 P.M. PDT: I’m not sure who ran faster — Cecil Sapp in gaining eight yards or Head Coach Mike Shanahan in sprinting up to the San Francisco 28-yard-line to call a timeout with two seconds remaining. But …
6:36 P.M. PDT: … the score remains unchanged after Jason Elam goes wide right with a 44-yard field-goal attempt.
Tags: San Francisco 49ers