It was an underwhelming effort to say the least from the starters of the San Francisco 49ers in their first week of preseason. The defense was carved by Alex Smith, and Brian Hoyer was just average. Matt Barkley got things to the 1-yard line and several sets of downs to just punch it in, but the 49ers settled for field goals for much of the first half.
Then the 3rd stringers came in. And C.J. Beathard. And Kendrick Bourne showed awesomeness. Their combined efforts helped take the 49ers to a 27-17 win in their first preseason game under head coach Kyle Shanahan.
As a whole, this is about what you would expect: a young team learning a brand new system and culture. There was some good, there was some bad, but there definitely is no need to panic. One nice touch was Reuben Foster starting, then playing well past when the other starters would have been benched. Foster almost had a nice pick in the endzone, but unfortunately timed the catch wrong.
The C.J. Beathard IOF talk will begin and for the very first game of the rookie—he gets an S. An S for satisfactory.
First some injuries: DeForest Buckner was taken out early for a foot issue and Solomon Thomas was seen with trainers working on his tricep. Let’s hope neither of those are serious.
Aaron Lynch. Don’t you know who he is? He’s the Juggernaut. Lynch looked almost unstoppable in the game. The only problem was it was against the 2s and 3s, but who’s counting? Lynch was causing chaos. Enough for me.
Solomon Thomas was against 2s and 3s as well, but as a rookie, he flew all over the field like some sort of buff ninja. While there are few hard stats to his name, Thomas was throwing his weight around and getting to the QB. One hurry had Chiefs quarterback Tyler Bray throwing a pick to Rashard Robinson.
C.J. Beathard looked good for his debut. While there wasn’t anything that stood out to start, a sweet pass to Kendrick Bourne helped get the 49ers points. No, I’m not talking about that 45 yard dart where he got pancaked seconds after throwing the ball. I’m talking about the touch pass for the two point conversion that Bourne hauled in with a defender literally in his grill. Beathard looks good for a rookie and he may get that backup job. We just need to see more.
The backup running backs also looked good. Both Joe Williams and Matt Breida (despite his fumbling issues), kicked the jets and were finding some nice holes. Joe Williams had a nice highlight, while muffing his own pitch from C.J. Beathard, he picked up the ball and took off for a gain of 10 or so yards and a 1st down. While Carlos Hyde seems to be the person to the starting back, the rotation could be solid. We’ll see what happens next week.
Trent Taylor is fast. Really fast.
The 49ers starting defense still leaves something to be desired. The 2nd and 3rd stringers weren’t much better. Chiefs starting quarterback Alex Smith simply had his way with the defense in his only series and his offensive line bought him all sorts of time. It was only one series for Smith, but when backup Tyler Bray came in, the defense still struggled through the first quarter. There was a nice interception by Rashard Robinson against Bray (thanks to Solomon Thomas getting in Bray’s face), and the defense started waking up as the game went on, but this was after rotations and we had our fill of what were the current starters of the depth chart. Reuben Foster did have a nice near-pick in the endzone though.
The secondary was routinely tested throughout the night and didn’t exactly pass with flying colors. Several killing throws were saved by penalties.
That brings us to Rashard Robinson who had an interception that was more a gift from Solomon Thomas than anything else. Sans one nice run stop, his tackling was poor, and his coverage allowed some huge gains by Kansas City wide receivers. He did not have a good night. If this is what the star 49ers cornerback is, this will be a very manic/depressing season.
And The Ugly:
Remember the Jim Harbaugh years when it seemed like all the 49ers got were field goals? Well that was a nice throwback tonight. After the Rashard Robinson interception took them near the endzone, the 49ers kicked. And after Matt Barkley took the 49ers to the goal line and they failed to punch it in, the 49ers kicked. And on that second aforementioned field goal when the Chiefs got called for leverage getting the 49ers 4 more tries at getting a touchdown?
Yep, they kicked.
Good thing you got those third stringers to pad out your points.
The 49ers host the Denver Broncos for Week 2 of the preseason August 19th.