MINNEAPOLIS – The 49ers exhibited a facet of their offense on Sunday night in front of a nationally televised audience that had been featured on a regular basis during training camp.
The first team offense under the direction of quarterback Brian Hoyer scored touchdowns on the first two drives to supply the early highlights in a 32-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night.
Reserve 49ers running back Raheem Mostert took over in the second half with two touchdowns but the Vikings' reserves scored 15 points in the final six minutes to pull off the win over the 49ers' reserves.
It was the third exhibition game for both teams, and the game in which the starters typically see their most extensive run of the preseason.
Hoyer, who put together a strong summer of play to solidify his standing as the 49ers’ starter, got the Minnesota Vikings’ secondary to bite on a play fake. Then, he delivered a perfect pass to speedster Marquise Goodwin, who got behind cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Andrew Sendejo for a 46-yard touchdown on the 49ers’ opening drive.
On the next possession, running back Carlos Hyde got a step on Vikings safety Harrison Smith on a slant pattern and Hoyer delivered a perfect pass that resulted in 24-yard touchdown.
Hoyer completed his first nine pass attempts of the game, and finished the first half with 12 completions in 17 attempts for 176 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a passer rating of 143.3.
Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard opened the second half in place of Hoyer. Beathard completed 7 of 13 pass attempts for 159 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Beathard was not as sharp has he was in the two previous games. But he got some help along the way from Mostert, who took a short pass on a third-and-22, and turned it into an 87-yard touchdown.
Mostert, already one of the 49ers’ core special-teams players, made a strong case for his inclusion on the 53-man roster. He caught two passes for 104 yards and gained 26 yards on four rushing attempts, including a 4-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.
Veteran Matt Barkley finished the game at quarterback. He completed both of his two pass attempts for 19 yards.
FORCES IN THE MIDDLE
Rookie linebacker Reuben Foster made his presence felt on the first snap of the game, as he stuffed rookie running back Dalvin Cook for a 5-yard loss after a swing pass from quarterback Sam Bradford.
Foster did not stop there, recording a game-high eight tackles in the first half. Neither Foster nor NaVorro Bowman played in the second half.
Bowman, who was replaced when the 49ers went with six defensive backs, was second on the team with four tackles in the first half.
SITTING IT OUT
Starting free safety Jimmie Ward, who was activated off the physically-unable-to-perform list on Wednesday, did not suit up for the game. Ward is returning to action after missing nearly a month with a hamstring injury.
Cornerback Will Redmond (ankle), wide receiver Aaron Burbridge (hamstring) and guard Joshua Garnett (knee) did not suit up.
--Left tackle Joe Staley was replaced in the first quarter due to a knee injury. The injury did not appear serious, as Staley remained standing on the sideline and did not have much interaction with the team’s medical staff.
--Undrafted rookie Matt Breida was the second running back into the game, seeing spot duty in place of Hyde in the first half. Breida started the second half and put together some nice runs on his way to 29 yards on seven rushing attempts.
--Jaquiski Tartt started at free safety in place of Ward. Undrafted rookie Lorenzo Jerome started the first two exhibition games at free safety.
--Cornerback Rashard Robinson ran stride-for-stride with Vikings deep threat Stefon Diggs on a long route and broke up Sam Bradford’s pass down the right sideline.
--First-year kicker Nick Rose drilled a 55-yard field goal in the third quarter.
--Rookie slot receiver Trent Taylor caught three passes for 36 yards.
--Veteran pass-rusher Elvis Dumervil recorded a sack on a third-and-10 situation in the first quarter to force a Vikings punt.
--Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon was called for 23-yard pass interference penalty when he did not turn around on a pass intended for Michael Floyd.
--Minnesota’s Jerick McKinnon returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter. Kendrick Bourne had the best chance when he came up empty on a diving tackle attempt, and McKinnon brushed aside Robbie Gould en route to the end zone.