Niners' new offense comes alive


Whether that was enough to help him complete his long-shot bid to become the Niners starting quarterback remains to be seen. O'Sullivan threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan and outplayed top competitor Alex Smith as the 49ers beat Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers 34-6 Saturday night.

"I'm going out there to try to play quarterback as well as I can and let it go from there," O'Sullivan said. "Unfortunately I don't get to make the decision."

O'Sullivan came into training camp third on the depth chart behind Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, and Shaun Hill. But O'Sullivan has started both preseason games for the 49ers and gave the best performance of the three in the first half against the Packers.

Coach Mike Nolan said earlier in camp that he'd like to have a decision on his starting quarterback by the third preseason game next week. He's now not sure that will happen.

"We want to make a good decision and we will," he said. "I'm confident, I'll say it again, I like all three of them. I thought tonight all three of them did a nice job."

Rodgers has no competition for the starting job in Green Bay following the trade of Brett Favre to the New York Jets earlier this month. But that doesn't mean he has nothing to prove in the preseason as a quarterback who has never started a regular season game in the NFL.

Rodgers wasn't nearly as sharp as he was in the exhibition opener, going 9-for-18 for 58 yards and failing to get the Packers into the end zone in one half of action. Rodgers didn't get much help from his teammates, as he was sacked four times and his receivers dropped a couple of passes. Green Bay had only 46 total yards of offense in the half.

"As an offense you need to make some plays to get into a rhythm and to get a tempo going," Rodgers said. "Tonight our tempo stunk. I didn't make any plays so I take that squarely on my shoulders. A lot of times a quarterback, if he's making plays, can get the offense going and I didn't make any plays."

O'Sullivan got off to another shaky start, throwing an interception to Charles Woodson on San Francisco's third drive of the game. That was his third turnover in seven preseason drives, an alarming rate even at this time of year.

But he looked better once Green Bay's first-team defense started heading to the bench. After hearing some boos from the home crowd following a false start by Jonas Jennings and a timeout call, O'Sullivan connected on a 27-yard pass to Jason Hill on third-and-eight.

He then hit Morgan with a 22-yarder on another third-down play that moved the ball down to the 3, setting up DeShaun Foster's 1-yard score on fourth down. O'Sullivan hit Morgan for the long score on the next drive and finished 8-for-17 for 154 yards with the touchdown and interception.

"It's our job as an offense to go out there and score touchdowns," O'Sullivan said. "Tonight we moved the ball consistently and we want to keep putting the ball into the end zone."

Smith played the third quarter and went 5-for-12 for 62 yards, a day after flying home to San Diego to attend a memorial service for a family friend who died earlier in the week.

Smith overthrew Morgan on a deep pass on his first drive and later missed an open Hill in the back of the end zone. San Francisco scored a touchdown on that drive on Moran Norris' 1-yard run on fourth down.

"I missed two big opportunities, the long ball to Josh and the ball to Jason in the back of the end zone," Smith said. "Those two stick out. Other than that, I thought I played pretty decent. But when you miss two big chances like that you can't get it out of your head."

Smith finished 5-for-12 for 62 yards in his first matchup against Rodgers since the Niners chose him instead of Rodgers with the top pick in 2005. Rodgers slipped to Green Bay at No. 24 24, a fall that cost him more than $40 million in his rookie contract and forced him to sit behind Favre for three years.

Rodgers, who grew up in Northern California and played college ball across the bay at Cal, had plenty of friends and family on hand but they didn't have much to cheer about because of the drops. The most obvious one came after Woodson's interception, when Donald Lee couldn't hang on to a perfectly placed pass into the end zone. The Packers settled for a field goal after starting the drive at the 7. Donald Driver also dropped a deep ball on Green Bay's first drive.

"The productivity wasn't there for the offense so I can't sit up here and say the quarterback played well," coach Mike McCarthy said. "It was not a good evening for all of our quarterbacks." Notes:@ Allen Rossum scored on a 67-yard punt return in the fourth quarter for the Niners. ... Packers RB Ryan Grant, LB A.J. Hawk, WR Greg Jennings and DL Ryan Pickett sat out. ... The Niners were without WRs Arnaz Battle, Ashley Lelie and Bryant Johnson.

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