SANTA CLARA – Very few of the players who will represent the 49ers during the regular season saw action in the exhibition finale on Thursday night.
One player who will definitely be on the regular-season roster is rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, who did his best Steve Young impersonation against the Los Angeles Chargers.
No, Beathard did not put on an aerial display, by any stretch. Beathard went the unconventional route with a zig-zagging 62-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
Another rookie generated a big play that’s a little more in his character in the 49ers’ 23-13 victory over the Chargers in front of a sparse, friends-and-family gathering at Levi’s Stadium.
Wide receiver Victor Bolden had a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown. It was Bolden’s second return for a score in three games. On Aug. 19, Boldin scored on a 104-yard kickoff return.
Bolden is making a strong bid to join a group of wide receivers on the 49ers’ roster that figures to include Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, Aldrick and Trent Taylor.
Bolden is in contention for the final spot among the wide receivers, along with Jeremy Kerley, Aaron Burbridge and Kendrick Bourne.
Beathard appears to be in line for the 49ers’ No. 2 job at quarterback behind starter Brian Hoyer. Beathard completed five of nine pass attempts on Thursday for 31 yards.
Veteran Matt Barkley did not play. Instead, undrafted rookie Nick Mullens replaced Beathard and played the entire second half. It was the first action of the exhibition season for Mullens, who could return to the 49ers’ practice squad.
Because of a first-year role that eliminated the mandated cut to a 75-player roster for the final exhibition game, the 49ers had 88 players from which to choose for the game against the Los Angeles Chargers.
None of the 49ers offensive starters suited up for the game. Eli Harold, who is projected to start at outside linebacker, was the only regular on defense to play. The 49ers wanted to get a little more playing time for Harold, whose emergence led to the 49ers’ decision last week to release Ahmad Brooks.
The goal, as is always the case in the exhibition finale, was to simply get through the game healthy.
Veteran cornerback Asa Jackson made a case to win a roster spot with two interceptions. He appears to be competing against Keith Reaser for a possible fifth cornerback spot.
49ERS WHO DID NOT PLAY
Offense (18): QB Brian Hoyer, QB Matt Barkley, RB Carlos Hyde, FB Kyle Juszczyk, WR Marquise Goodwin, WR Pierre Garçon, WR Jeremy Kerley, WR Aldrick Robinson, WR Louis Murphy, WR Aaron Burbridge (hamstring), TE George Kittle, TE Garrett Celek, LT Joe Staley, LG Zane Beadles, C Daniel Kilgore, RG Brandon Fusco, RT Trent Brown, G Joshua Garnett (knee).
Defense (16): DL Tank Carradone, DL Solomon Thomas, DL Earl Mitchell, DL DeForest Buckner, DL Arik Armstead, DL Ronald Blair (thumb), DL Elvis Dumervil, LB NaVorro Bowman, LB Reuben Foster, CB Rashard Robinson, CB Dontae Johnson, CB K’Waun Williams, CB Will Redmond (ankle), FS Jimmie Ward, SS Eric Reid, DB Jaquiski Tartt.
DECISION ON GARNETT LOOMS
General manager John Lynch said prior to the game he would convene a summit involving the 49ers’ athletic trainers, medical staff and Joshua Garnett to plot the team’s next move.
Garnett underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage in his knee early in training camp. Lynch said the 49ers could place him on season-ending injured reserve or retain him past the mandatory cuts to 53 players, then place him on injured reserve, which would make him eligible to return later in the season.
The 49ers on Thursday acquired offensive guard Laken Tomlinson, a 2015 first-round, from the Detroit Lions for a 2019 fifth-round draft pick.