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NFL preseason: 49ers cruise, Bengals edge Cardinals

San Francisco finally found the end zone this preseason thanks to Blaine Gabbert and an undrafted rookie running back. It wasn't a night for offense in Arizona, but a defensive touchdown helped give the Bengals a win.

Norm Hall

Week 3 of the NFL preseason came to a close on Sunday with the final two games of the week. It wasn't a great night for starting offenses with San Francisco, Cincinnati and Arizona struggling to score points. The defenses showed well, however, and there were a few bright spots as cut-down day approaches.


Chargers backup nose tackle Kwame Geathers doubled back awkwardly during the first quarter and had to be carted off with an apparent leg injury. Geathers has been filling in for starter Sean Lissemore.

The cart came out twice more, once for Chargers reserve defensive lineman Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and once for Niners backup center Marcus Martin. Both suffered knee injuries and neither returned to the game.

San Diego center Nick Hardwick also departed in the first quarter with a neck injury.

Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict was forced out of the game against Arizona with an injured hamstring. Guard Trey Hopkins injured his shin in the fourth quarter and was carted off the field. Bengals wide receiver James Wright was also carted off following a big hit.

Arizona's Lorenzo Alexander left the game briefly due to an apparent knee injury, but did eventually return.

49ers 21, Chargers 7

It took the San Francisco 49ers nearly two and a half preseason games to find the end zone, but they finally broke through during a 21-7 win over the San Diego Chargers. Blaine Gabbert found Vance McDonald for a 6-yard touchdown with 46 seconds remaining in the second quarter, then rookie running back Glenn Winston broke loose for a 27-yard score in the fourth quarter.

McDonald, who had just eight catches last season, hauled in three receptions and Gabbert went 5 of 6 passing on that first scoring drive.

Winston, an undrafted free agent out of Northwood University, had eight carries for 58 yards.

It was a starkly different outing for the two starting quarterbacks. Philip Rivers was razor sharp, completing all but one of his 10 passes for 85 yards. He capped his three-drive outing by hitting Antonio Gates for a 10-yard touchdown just before the end of the first quarter. Niners starter Colin Kaepernick, on the other hand, went just 6 of 12 and lost a fumble. San Francisco managed a lone field goal during his four drives.

Chargers running backs Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead were busy, combining for 12 touches for 75 yards.

The third quarter brought a promising look at a pair of 49ers draft picks. Fifth-round pick Aaron Lynch got a hand on a pass and tipped it into the air, then first-round pick Jimmie Ward finished the play by corralling it for an interception. Lynch had an especially impressive day -- he batted down two passes, got a sack and a quarterback hit.

Bengals 19, Cardinals 13

The Cincinnati Bengals picked up their first win of the preseason, edging out Arizona 19-13 in a defensive game. Neither of the starting offenses found a ton of success with the teams combining for just nine offensive points in the first half. Far from an inspiring performance for the third preseason game.

Andy Dalton and the Bengals' starting offense moved the ball at times but only came away with a pair of field goals. Cincinnati's defense scored the first touchdown when Terence Newman intercepted Carson Palmer and returned the pick for a score. The Bengal rushing attack continues to struggle. Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill combined to gain just 47 yards on 18 attempts.

The Cardinals didn't fare any better. Carson Palmer completed 7 of 19 passes for 92 yards. Arizona's starting offense mustered just a field goal and it wasn't until Drew Stanton took over in the second half the Cardinals found the end zone. Rookie receiver John Brown capped that drive with a diving 30-yard touchdown reception.

Larry Fitzgerald appears ready for the regular season. He hauled in three catches on four targets and finished with 71 yards receiving.