Niners reserves pour on the points to close out preseason 

click to enlarge Leading the charge: Niners backup QB Colin Kaepernick was impressive during extended playing time Thursday, throwing for a pair of TDs. - KELLEY L COX/US PRESSWIRE
  • Kelley L Cox/US PRESSWIRE
  • Leading the charge: Niners backup QB Colin Kaepernick was impressive during extended playing time Thursday, throwing for a pair of TDs.

Next stop, Lambeau Field.

The 49ers capped their exhibition season with a dominant 35-3 victory over the San Diego Chargers on Thursday night at Candlestick Park. Now they’ll turn their full attention to their Sept. 9 opener against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Many of the 49ers’ thoughts had likely turned to the Packers long before the rout of San Diego ended. Quarterback Alex Smith handed off on the 49ers’ first five plays from scrimmage and then gave way to backup Colin Kaepernick, who turned in another impressive performance, throwing two touchdown passes and helping the 49ers build a 21-0 halftime lead.

Starting running back Frank Gore got the night off. So did wide receiver Randy Moss. The 49ers’ entire starting defense, including linebacker Patrick Willis and defensive end Justin Smith, spent the night on the sidelines.

The 49ers must trim their roster from 75 to 53 by today’s deadline, and players fighting to make the team got one last chance to make their case.

Quarterback Josh Johnson, who rotated with Scott Tolzien in the second half, made a statement when he threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter. On his first play of the night, Johnson zipped a quick pass to wide receiver Nathan Palmer, who slipped a tackle and raced 51 yards for a score. Johnson’s 3-yarder to tight end Garrett Celek made it 35-0 with 54 seconds left in the third.

Tolzien, meanwhile, was picked off by linebacker Bront Bird deep in 49ers territory, setting up a Chargers field goal early in the fourth quarter.

Kaepernick completed 12 of 18 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns in the first half with a passer rating of 131.3 as the 49ers built a 21-0 lead. He threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to tight end Delanie Walker and a 12-yard scoring strike to rookie wide receiver A.J. Jenkins, a first-round pick. It was Jenkins’ first touchdown catch as a 49er.

San Francisco jumped to a quick 14-0 advantage in the first quarter, working against a defense that featured most of the Chargers’ regulars.

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Eric Gilmore

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