OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Albeit 18 months late, the 49ers defense stood up Sunday to Joe Flacco, the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLVII.
An excellent outing in training camp certainly won't lessen the sting of losing that Super Bowl to the Baltimore Ravens. But three days of joint practices are allowing the 49ers defense a chance to face an offense unlike the version it typically sees in Santa Clara.
"Just to change pace and see something different," rookie cornerback Dontae Johnson said, "it's great to learn, so you can adjust in the game if you're playing against shifty guys, a strong-arm quarterback and quick receivers that love to run deep routes."
Johnson, vying for a job in the revamped secondary, made the 49ers' defensive play of the day when he intercepted a short pass by Flacco and returned it for 40 yards for a would-be touchdown.
The honor role of other pass-defense highlights against Flacco were:
Asked if any 49ers defenders caught his eye in Day 2 of their joint practices, Ravens coach John Harbaugh quipped: "Yeah, the outside (line)backer, No. 99. He's pretty good."
On one play, Smith -- No. 99 -- absolutely steamrollered tight end Owen Daniels and forced Flacco to throw away the ball.
Flacco, who led a touchdown drive in his only series of Thursday night's 23-3 exhibition win, certainly has attempted a lot more deep passes in two days of joint practices than the 49ers typically see.
"They may have a few more speed receivers, so it's good to go against that speed," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Their running game is different, so it's good to go against that. I've done over 20 of these joint practices in my days, and they're always very good and very beneficial."
Snyder walked off on his own power but looked in dismay when trainers tended to him for several minutes on the field. With incumbent starter Alex Boone entrenched in a contract holdout, Joe Looney has taken the first-team snaps and Snyder the second-team reps. Ryan Seymour replaced Snyder after his injury.
Although Willis sounds most comfortable lining up next to Michael Wilhoite in the absence of NaVorro Bowman, Borland has impressed the defensive captain. "He's a little pit bull. I love watching him play. He's real low and compact and seems like he never breaks stride."
Denver (1-0) at 49ers (0-1), 1 p.m. KPIX