Head coach Jim Harbaugh was pleased with the effort his defense gave in the San Francisco 49ers’ first win of the year against the Kansas City Chiefs. The “plus plus” performance by the defensive unit included sacks of the Chiefs’ quarterbacks Alex Smith and Chase Daniel by linebackers Parys Haralson, Nate Stupar, and cornerback Perrish Cox. Stupar had 9 tackles for the night, just behind fellow linebacker Nick Moody’s total of ten. Harbaugh praised Cox’s “outstanding game” which included a total of two sacks and a defended pass. The coach also singled out linebackers Michael Wilhoite, Corey Lemonier and safety Eric Reid’s contributions for praise. One player who did not please Harbaugh was defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie who was flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Smith in the first quarter.
The offense also earned flags in the game for holding, one of which invalidated wide receiver A.J. Jenkins’ lone catch of the game. Another holding penalty on lineman Joe Looney pushed the 49ers back to the goal line late in the third quarter, giving quarterback B.J. Daniels hardly any room to work and nearly leading to a safety. However, that did not stop Daniels from putting on an impressive display of talent, leading the 49ers on a drive late in the game for the game-winning touchdown pass to Chuck Jacobs. Harbaugh was impressed by the hard-working performances of both Jacobs and wide receiver Chad Hall. Daniels finished the game with a 128.0 passer rating.
Other highlights from the offense included running back Frank Gore’s early 52-yard run to help set up Phil Dawson’s 42-yard field goal. Dawson also had two 55-yard field goals later in the game. After Gore left the game, running back Jewel Hampton got the majority of the carries, having a strong night. The 49ers gained 160 yards on the ground against the Chiefs.
While the 49ers’ offense and defense offered some good highlights, the team had a bad night on special teams. They allowed Kansas City’s Quinton Demps to return a kickoff for a 104-yard touchdown. The Chiefs’ Devon Wylie also returned a punt in the game for 52 yards. Adding to the poor special teams effort, the 49ers had 10 total penalties for 87 yards.
Players fighting for a roster spot also had a tough night. Jenkins, who had a poor outing in the team’s first preseason game, did not perform any better against the Chiefs, making zero official catches and struggling to find his footing on the field. Quarterback Colt McCoy, who hurt his shoulder in the team’s first preseason game, was healthy but ineffective. McCoy and Scott Tolzien together completed 6 of 14 passes for 65 yards and an interception.
Players who did not suit up for the game due to injury were Vance McDonald, Bubba Ventrone, Patrick Willis, Michael Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Chris Culliver, Marcus Lattimore, Tank Carradine, and Quinton Dial. The 49ers’ next preseason matchup is on August 25, 2013 against the Minnesota Vikings at Candlestick Park.
Sara DeBord is an NFL writer for www.footballandfutbol.com and www.baysportsreport.com.