BALTIMORE –- Running back Frank Gore took the night off, but the 49ers got some Gore-like production from the man who was chosen to eventually take his place.
Carlos Hyde, a second-round draft pick from Ohio State, had an impressive debut in his first NFL exhibition game. Hyde tore off gains of 7, 19 and 8 yards on the 49ers’ first drive of the game Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens.
Hyde’s performance provided one of the few highlight’s in the team’s 23-3 loss to the Ravens in the exhibition opener for both teams.
Hyde finished with 39 yards rushing on five carries.
Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers and John Harbaugh’s Ravens will see plenty of each other in the coming days. The teams are scheduled to hold joint practices Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the Raven’s practice facility in Owings Mills, Maryland.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick started Thursday night and dropped back to throw just twice in his one series of action. He threw incomplete on his first attempt, a play that was negated due to a roughing-the-passer penalty. Then, Kaepernick hit tight end Vance McDonald with a 17-yard pass.
Other than that, Kaepernick’s night consisted of handing off to Hyde and Jewel Hampton.
The 49ers’ opening drive stalled when Hampton was stopped twice for no yards to set up Phil Dawson’s 25-yard field goal.
After Hyde’s exit from the game, the 49ers got nothing going on the ground. The 49ers had just 71 yards rushing, compared to the Ravens’ 240 before they ended the game with kneeldowns.
ALDON MEETS WITH NFL: Outside linebacker Aldon Smith met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, 49ers general manager Trent Baalke confirmed. Goodell is expected to make a ruling soon on Smith’s potential suspension.
The 49ers are bracing for a possible six to eight games, a source told CSNBayArea.com.
Smith was among seven 49ers starters on defense who did not play in Thursday’s game. Smith warmed up with his teammates and spent the game in uniform on the sideline.
CARRADINE, DIAL SHINE: Defensive linemen Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, draft picks from a year ago who made no contributions as rookies due to injuries, both carried over their strong camps to the playing field.
Carradine recorded a sack of Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor, who stepped up in the pocket to avoid blitzing safety Craig Dahl. In the second quarter, Dial forced a fumble of running back Justin Forsett that cornerback Perrish Cox recovered.
GABBERT PICKED: No. 2 quarterback Blaine Gabbert replaced Kaepernick for the second drive of the game. Gabbert had a rough outing. He underthrew 49ers tight end Derek Carrier and was intercepted by Ravens cornerback Asa Jackson.
Gabbert had a 1.7 passer rating at halftime. He completed 3-of-11 passes for 20 yards and an interception.
Gabbert continues to be the overwhelming favorite to win the backup job. The 49ers acquired him in a trade with the Jacksonville Jaguars for a sixth-round draft pick. The 49ers are on the hook for his guaranteed $2 million salary.
Josh Johnson replaced Gabbert at the start of the second half. He completed 7-of-9 passes for 63 yards. McLeod Bethel-Thompson entered late in the fourth quarter and threw an interception to end his first drive.
COMPETITION AT ILB: While All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman is out of action, there is little question that Patrick Willis will start at one spot. The competition for the other starting job is between Michael Wilhoite and rookie Chris Borland.
The 49ers got to evaluate Wilhoite and Borland on a level playing field, and they played alongside each other for a couple series with Willis take the night off. Wilhoite played the “jack” linebacker position (Willis’ spot last season), while Borland started at the “mike.”
Borland was credited with one tackle on defense and one on special teams in the first half. He had a rough time in coverage and could not corral a scrambling Taylor in the open field. Borland re-entered the game in the third quarter against the Ravens’ backups.
COOK’S PICK: Cornerback Chris Cook, who did not record an interception in four NFL seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, intercepted Taylor on the first drive of the second half. Cook’s pick on a pass intended for wide receiver Marlon Brown gave the 49ers the ball at their own 40-yard line.
INJURY UPDATE: Defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye went down in the fourth quarter without any contact. Okoye walked slowly off the field after the team’s medical staff examined his left ankle. On the previous play, Okoye was upended on a cut block. . .
Defensive tackle Demarcus Dobbs, who started in place of Justin Smith, left the game in the first quarter due to an ankle sprain. . .
Wide receiver Chuck Jacobs sustained a leg or foot injury at the end of a kickoff return. He got to his feet and was walking but he was transported to the locker room on a cart for further observation.