SAN FRANCISCO—Antonio Gates ran over the middle and caught the pass from Philip Rivers. He took a couple steps and had the ball stripped by C.J. Spillman and roll all over the damp Candlestick Park grass and into the arms of a defender.
1. New blood: The Chargers added more than a dozen veteran free agents to the roster. It was an interesting approach for a team that needed to bring in some new life after missing the playoffs the past two seasons. Under Smith, the Chargers haven’t been big spenders in free agency. This year, they didn’t add any huge names, but they added several good players in every facet. Several key San Diego players, such as Philip Rivers and safety Eric Weddle, said seeing all the new faces has given the team a fresh approach.
After being held out last week because of injuries on his offensive line, the Chargers gave quarterback Philip Rivers some late-preseason work. The interception bug hit him again.
1. Tolzien’s time. Scott Tolzien had recently appeared on his way to becoming the third quarterback at Josh Johnson’s expense. This game was a tough one for him. Tolzien completed 3 of 8 passes for 42 yards with one sack and one interception. His stats suffered from at least one drop, but that was small consolation. Johnson completed 9 of 14 passes for 125 yards and two touchdowns. He scrambled effectively, picking up 50 yards on five carries. Johnson rose to the occasion. Tolzien did not. This game might make it easier to get Tolzien onto the practice squad, should the 49ers decide to go with Johnson. But there’s always a risk when a team exposes a player to waivers.