SANTA CLARA The 49ers' wide-receiving corps had a distinct Sacramento flavor Thursday night against Denver.
The game began with one area player, Marlon Moore (Natomas High School), in the starting lineup and ended with another, Austin Collie (Oak Ridge), making two big catches as the 49ers attempted to score a last-minute touchdown.
Moore's starting role was a mixed blessing. The free-agent acquisition had the honor of playing alongside Colin Kaepernick, Anquan Boldin and the team's other top-tier players. But like those players, he left the game after only a handful of plays.
Moore played eight snaps. Of the team's healthy wideouts, only newcomer Lavelle Hawkins seven snaps played fewer.
"I still feel like I have a lot to prove," Moore said after the game. " Trying to make the most of everything. Even when I'm on the sideline, encouraging my teammates."
Moore earned the starting nod by being one of the most consistent wideouts in training camp. He battled through an early ankle injury and has not missed a session while others, such as Kyle Williams, A.J. Jenkins and Kassim Osgood, have been sidelined at various points.
Wide receiver remains the 49ers' fuzziest position as the regular season approaches.
The team entered last season with six wideouts on the roster. This year, Boldin and Williams are likely to land roster spots, as is fourth-round draft pick Quinton Patton, who is dealing with a broken index finger and didn't play against the Broncos.
Two other receivers, Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree, are on the physically unable to perform list and may remain there when the season begins. If that's the case, they will not count against the 53-man squad until they are activated.
As much as big plays and clutch catches, coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff are looking for consistency from the contenders and for a receiver's performance in training-camp practices to carry over into games. Harbaugh said he saw that from Moore.
"He made a spectacular catch," Harbaugh said of Moore's diving, 12-yard reception on the opening drive. "Overall (he) was solid in all of his assignments."
Collie, meanwhile, chatted with his former quarterback, Peyton Manning, before the game. He said the 49ers' power-based offense was not all that similar to what Manning and the Colts ran in Indianapolis and that he has to think hard about the routes he's running.
However, despite the fact he was signed just a week ago, coaches already have worked Collie into the offense both as a wideout and as a slot receiver. That's the position from which he caught his two passes Thursday, including a 16-yard gain.
In his two previous NFL games, Collie suffered a concussion and then a knee injury that wiped out his 2012 season.
He said it was good to simply play in a game again.
"It was fun to be back out there," Collie said. "It's been a long time felt a little foreign. But it was fun."