Peyton Manning (120.8 QB rating), Brock Osweiler (125.5), and Zac Dysert (116.9) were impressive and efficient, while the defensive and kick coverage units added four turnovers and eight passes defensed.
Kayvon Webster (ankle) and Emmanuel Sanders (thigh) were held out, while rookie linebacker Lamin Barrow departed with what is being called a severely bruised lower right leg.
San Francisco opened the game by moving 28 yards in eight plays, but Phil Dawson’s 55-yard attempt went wide right.
From there, Manning led the Broncos on a 47-yard drive that included a gorgeous dart to Wes Welker to convert a third-and-long. It also included a mildly scary one-yard scramble up the middle by Manning from the San Francisco nine.
But his end zone throw to Andre Caldwell was off the mark, and Matt Prater chipped it through from 26 to open the scoring.
The Niners’ second possession went much like their first, ending in no man’s land at the Denver 41, and the Broncos took over at their 20 following a touchback.
Manning punctuated an 80-yard march with an easy 17-yard throw to Julius Thomas to put Denver up 10-0.
On the drive, Peyton was a perfect eight-for-eight, and he headed to the bench having gone 12/14 for 102 yards and the one scoring pass.
Colin Kaepernick’s day was also over at that point, with Blaine Gabbert taking over for him. His results were similar, as a 43-yard possession ended with a brutal 44-yard miss from Dawson.
Osweiler and Gabbert then matched three-and-outs, but Manning’s understudy teamed up with C.J. Anderson for an 11-play, 63-yard touchdown drive to put Denver up 17-0 at halftime.
The backup runner gained 26 yards on the drive, with his sixth carry good for a one-yard score.
Opening the second half, Osweiler brought the Broncos to midfield by converting a pair of third downs, but was unable to move the sticks a third time.
On the Niners’ next play from scrimmage, Lamin Barrow suffered an injury, apparently to his right knee or lower leg.
Seven snaps later, Tony Carter nabbed an errant throw from Gabbert, bringing it back 32 yards to the San Francisco 33.
Immediately, Osweiler lofted a pass into the Niners’ end zone, and Cody Latimer blew past Dontae Johnson to haul it in. The rout was truly on, with Denver now up 24-0.
The third-year quarterback departed with a line quite similar to Manning’s: 10/13, 105 yards, and the one touchdown. His 125.5 QB rating even topped Peyton’s 120.8 mark.
Josh Johnson took over for Gabbert, but on his second snap, Mitch Unrein stripped the ball away at the 39, providing Zac Dysert with prime field position for his preseason debut.
Dysert produced a nice pair of first downs, but two would-be touchdowns were called back on offensive pass interference calls against Bennie Fowler and Greg Wilson.
Mitch Ewald kicked through a 22-yard field goal, because it’s always important to get your backup camp kicker some action, apparently. In related news, John Fox made an abominable challenge call earlier in the game, and is clearly in midseason form.
That extended Denver’s lead to 27 points, and a fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave the ball right back to the Broncos at the 10-yard line.
Dysert nearly punched it in with an eight-yard run, but Kapri Bibbs had no chance on a fourth-down try from the one (at least Foxy went for it there).
Four penalties muddled the Niners' next drive, and an interception by Steven Johnson shortcircuited the one after that.
Given great field position for the third time, Dysert accounted for all of a 23-yard touchdown drive, with Cameron Morrah taking an easy catch and run for the final 16.
Denver's lead was up to 34, and a late goal-line stand preserved the shutout.
- Videos: John Fox, Peyton Manning (quotes), Julius Thomas, Malik Jackson, Cody Latimer, and Demaryius Thomas speak; BTV sums up the win and focuses on the starting offense, the three quarterbacks, and the rarity of a shutout
- IAOFM: Ted's Live Blog, and TJ's Gut Reactions
- It may have been only preseason, but the defense was pumped about blanking the hosts
- Lindsay Jones, Joan Niesen, Andrew Mason, Troy Renck, Jeff Legwold, and Janie McCauley recap the game
- Mike Klis sums up Brock Osweiler's solid day
- Mason says the shutout was a byproduct of high quality practices at Dove Valley
- Levi's Stadium apparently ran out of food during the game