Peyton Manning got the jump on the 49ers. The 49ers overtook him in the end, though.
David Akers kicked four of his five field goals in the second half and San Francisco withstood Peyton Manning’s first two touchdown passes since joining the Denver Broncos to give the 49ers a 29-24 exhibition victory on Sunday.
Alex Smith played most of the first half for the 49ers and had a touchdown pass to his fleet tight end, Vernon Davis, for the team’s first points, touching off a comeback sustained by the team’s reserves after San Francisco had fallen behind 17-0.
“Give them credit. They came out and Peyton Manning, he was connecting with his wide receivers, doing a great job,” Davis said. “Alex came back and he was like, ‘We got to go. It’s preseason, but we got to go. We have to make a statement.’ So we went in as soon as the opportunity came and we took advantage of it.”
Manning, who joined the Broncos as a free agent after 14 illustrious seasons with Indianapolis, completed 10 of 12 passes for 122 yards in his most effective outing since coming back from a neck injury that sidelined him during his final season with the Colts.
Trailing by 14, the 49ers’ reserves closed with a run of 19 straight points, including Akers’ fourth field goal, a 32-yarder with 9:22 left to play, that put the 49ers in front by two points, their first lead of the day.
Akers had one more field goal, a 44-yarder, with 3:01 to play.
There was some confusion before Akers kicked the go-ahead field goal among the group of replacement officials.
Broncos coach John Fox sought to challenge a ruling that 49ers quarterback Scott Tolzien lost the ball at the end of a scramble after hitting the ground, negating an apparent fumble. It was determined that the ruling was not subject to challenge and initially the officials flagged Fox for unsportsmanlike conduct for trying to lodge the challenge. After some discussion, the officials picked up the flag, however.
NOTES: Harbaugh said X-rays were negative on Ted Ginn Jr.’s ankle. Ginn left the game in the third quarter when he was tackled at the end of a 9-yard run on an end-around.