The 49ers escaped Arrowhead Stadium with a 15-13 victory on Friday, improving to 1-1 in the preseason. I began the game recap as soon as the 49ers starters left the game in the first quarter. I figured the recap would end up broken down by groups of players. Midway through the fourth quarter that still seemed the plan in what was a fairly dull football game.
And then B.J. Daniels happened.
The 49ers seventh round draft choice came in to make his quarterback debut with 2:45 left in the third quarter. It was a fairly inauspicious debut, as he was 0-for-2 on his first two passes. A series later he was 0-for-1 as the 49ers offense continued to sputter. He came back out with 8:26 remaining, and created the stuff that preseason legends are made of! He completed six straight passes for 72 yards, along with a couple runs, capping the drive with a rather gorgeous 14-yard touchdown pass to Chuck Jacobs. The touchdown was the 49ers first of the preseason, and completed a comeback win over the Chiefs.
I thought about breaking that paragraph up, but given the excitement B.J. Daniels brought to an otherwise dull game, it felt right to bunch it all up into one paragraph.
Even before Daniels threw the touchdown pass, excitement was growing for 49ers fans. Throughout the drive, Daniels showed off a mix of arm strength, escapability in the pocket, and generally solid athleticism. More importantly, he looked better than Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien. When he capped the drive with the touchdown, most of us erupted.
Of course, the first thing that came to my mind was the immortal Kory Sheets. The 49ers running back put together a strong preseason, only to be released, signed to the practice squad, and released again.
It's far too early to make any judgements about B.J. Daniels. That obviously won't stop people from making grand proclamations. Some people are already set to pronounce him the 49ers new backup quarterback. While he did look good Friday night, we have to keep in mind that it was against the bottom of the roster, and it was against fairly vanilla defenses. I'll take a good performance over a bad performance any day of the week, but it's still worth waiting to see what the next two weeks brings.
I think most people here can be relatively level-headed when it comes to that. I am intrigued to see what Jim Harbaugh, Greg Roman and Geep Chryst decide for the quarterback rotation next week against the Minnesota Vikings. Week 3 of the preseason is usually a bit of a dress rehearsal for the first string. The 49ers have given Colin Kaepernick one series in each of the first two games, so who knows what we'll see from him next week.
But I do know I would like to see B.J. Daniels get some opportunities further up the depth chart. I still think either Colt McCoy or Scott Tolzien ends up as the primary backup to Colin Kaepernick. However, I do think it's in the team's best interest to see a little more of what they have in Daniels. I don't think we need to declare him the second coming of whatever, but it's worth at least exploring things a little bit more. We'll see what the 49ers decide to do.