Kyle Orton threw interceptions in his first three series during a disastrous Denver debut, while San Francisco's two quarterback candidates were steady in the 49ers' 17-16 victory over the Broncos on Friday night.
Alex Smith threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Brit Miller following Orton's third first-half pick in the exhibition opener for both teams, a night featuring the return to Candlestick Park of former 49ers coach Mike Nolan as Denver's defensive coordinator.
San Francisco starter Shaun Hill completed two crisp passes to tight end Vernon Davis for 41 yards while leading the Niners on a 58-yard scoring drive to start the game, capped by Alex Romero's 38-yard field goal.
It was Orton's backup, Chris Simms, who nearly led Denver to victory with a big second half. After Miller's second TD of the night on a 40-yard reception from Damon Huard put the 49ers up 17-10, Simms hit Kenny McKinley on a 52-yard TD pass with 2:01 left, but the Broncos failed on the 2-point conversion.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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