Preseason football is filled with gaffes. Coaches want to get young, inexperienced players enough playing time to adequately evaluate them, veterans are rusty, and the wins and losses don’t count, so it’s really not that big of a deal. The 49ers and Broncos, though, took preseason football to a whole new level with not one, not two, but three fumbles in the 45 seconds before the half.
On fumble one, Mark Sanchez got sacked by Tank Carradine, and Sanchez lost the ball in the red zone.
Yup, that's a Mark Sanchez turnover pic.twitter.com/ee4j1dD0gD— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) August 21, 2016
At least it wasn’t a butt fumble. So that’s progress.
The Niners took over, and Jeff Driskel completed a pass to running back Mike Davis for no gain. Broncos linebacker Zaire Anderson forced a fumble, and defensive tackle Billy Winn recovered. The Niners’ possession lasted two seconds.
Two straight incompletions from Mark Sanchez later, he was sacked by San Francisco’s Marcus Rush, who stripped the ball. Rush recovered, and when Driskel came back out onto the field for the 49ers, it was clear that Chip Kelly wasn’t interested in a fourth fumble in a 45-second span. Driskel took a knee with 14 seconds remaining in the half.
To recap, the final minute of the first half looked like this:
But it didn’t end there, because on the very first series of the second half, Davis fumbled yet again.
The Broncos got the ball and back and Sanchez, miraculously, managed to get through an entire possession without turning the ball over. Now it’s Paxton Lynch’s turn under center, which definitively ends the vicious cycle of Sanchez and Davis trading fumbles.