When Kyle Williams last set foot on the grass at Candlestick Park, it was when he was leaving the field following the NFC Championship -- a loss that will forever be associated with Williams and two fumbled punts.

He took an important first step toward putting that memory behind him Friday night when the 49ers defeated Minnesota 17-6 in their first preseason game.

Williams fielded a punt early in the second quarter, made use of some good blocking and returned it 22 yards.

"I couldn't wait to get back there," Williams said. "The guys up front, they couldn't wait to tell me how much they were going to block for me and give me an opportunity."

As Williams walked onto the field, he was greeting by a smattering of boos.

"To be totally honest, I was not focused on the fans," he said. "I was focused on what was going on on the field. … Once I got back out there it was fun, it was some of the most fun I've ever had."

Williams was in on two other punts and was greeted with cheers both times.

Kaepernick runs the option: QB Colin Kapernick's preseason got off to a good start when he took a read-option 78 yards for a TD on his second snap of the game. The play wasn't just a gimmick -- he continued to operate out of options looks while he remained in the game. It appeared like he was running a completely different offense than when Alex Smith, Scott Tolzien and Josh Johnson were in the game. Kaepernick finished 5 of 9 for 40 yards and carried three times for 92 yards. 

OLB Smith bruises hip: Second-year OLB Aldon Smith left in the first quarter with what was reported as a bruised hip. He limped off the field after trying to chase down RB Toby Gerhart and was carted to the locker room shortly afterward. Coach Jim Harbaugh downplayed the injury after the game. "We're still waiting," Harbaugh said. "Preliminary, it looks like we'll be all right. Looks like we dodged a bullet there."

Jenkins has mixed results in debut: First-round pick A.J. Jenkins had an up-and-down performance in his first NFL game. He made a nice catch for 15 yards going to the sideline on a pass from Kaepernick in the second quarter but later dropped two catchable balls. He was targeted six times and had two catches for 20 yards.

OLB Bakhtiari impresses: OLB Eric Bakhtiari, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, improved his chances at the No. 4 OLB spot with two sacks in the second half. 

QB Johnson realizes childhood dream: QB Josh Johnson grew up in the Bay Area rooting for the 49ers, which made the first preseason game extra special. "You dream about opportunities like this as a child, and I'm glad it happened," he said.

Dixon looks good at FB: Anthony Dixon's transition from RB to FB is going well. He looked like a natural as a lead blocker, opening running lanes for Kendall Hunter and Rock Cartwright. For Dixon to land on the 53-man roster, he'll need to show he can contribute there as well as special teams.

Owusu makes return to football: Undrafted rookie WR Chris Owusu missed the final four games of Stanford's season after suffering his third concussion in 13 months last year. He made his return in the third quarter on punt coverage and had his first catch -- for 18 yards -- on the final play of the third quarter. He finished with three catches for a team-high 35 yards. 

Harbaugh praises his former Stanford players: Harbaugh took a moment to speak highly of some of the players he coached in college from both teams. "I thought all the Stanford players really equipped themselves very well on both sides," Harbaugh said. "Chris Owusu, Matt Masifilo, Toby Gerhart, Corey Gatewood, Konrad Reuland, Chase Beeler."

Quiet night for Moss: WR Randy Moss' debut with the 49ers was a quiet one. He appeared briefly in the first quarter with Alex Smith at QB but wasn't targeted.

Seven players sit: DL Justin Smith, RB Frank Gore, WR Mario Manningham, K David Akers, DL Will Tukuafu and TE Nate Byham did not appear in the game. Harbaugh said he decided shortly before the game that they would not play. The only big surprise is Tukuafu, who is on the roster bubble. Byham missed practice recently with a sore hamstring, while there is no question the others have solid roles with the team. 

Follow 49ers reporter Kyle Bonagura on Twitter: @CBSSportsNFLSF and @KyleBonagura.

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