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5 takeaways from the 49ers’ preseason win over the Chiefs

The 49ers won their third straight preseason game on Saturday, topping the Chiefs 27-17. Here’s five takeaways from San Francisco’s third exhibition game.

San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers wrapped up their third exhibition game on Saturday with a 27-17 win over the Chiefs in Kansas City - their third straight. The starting offense and defensive units kept things close, with the score 10-7 Chiefs when quarterback Patrick Mahomes retired to the sideline. Perhaps the best news on the evening was San Francisco escaping the dress rehearsal game essentially injury-free.

Here are our five takeaways from the 49ers’ preseason win over the Chiefs:

Relax, folks

The NFL world this week turned on Garoppolo after he completed zero passes and an interception against the Denver Broncos on Monday for a 0.0 quarterback rating. The 49ers quarterback came out swinging on Saturday. Garoppolo completed 14 of 20 passes (70%) for 188 yards, one touchdown and a 116.2 quarterback rating against the Chiefs defense. His highlight play came on a pass to Matt Breida deep down the left sideline, the 49ers running back diving into the endzone to make the touchdown catch. It was an impressive return to form for Garoppolo.

Defense survives the Chiefs’ starting offense

The defense struggled to contain the high-octane Chiefs offense led by reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. It was the steepest test for Robert Saleh’s unit so far this preseason, and although the Chiefs moved the ball effectively, the defense only surrendered 10 points to the starting unit. Mahomes cruised to eight completions on ten attempts for 126 yards, one touchdown and a nearly-perfect 152.1 rating. It was an imperfect but respectable performance for the defense considering the absence of pass rushers Dee Ford and Nick Bosa.

Ward makes his return

Jimmie Ward made his preseason debut after missing most of training camp due to a broken collarbone suffered at the start of the offseason program. Ward played both safety and nickel cornerback in his return, which allowed the 49ers to continue fielding promising second-year defensive back Tarvarius Moore at free safety in sub-packages. Ward totaled three tackles on Saturday, including a third-down stop of Mahomes in the red zone to force a field goal. It’s unclear if or where Ward will start for the 49ers in Week 1.

Strong night for pass catchers

Eleven different players caught passes against the Chiefs. Leading the group was receiver Richie James, who’s fighting for his place on the final 53-man roster. James reeled in four passes for 66 yards, including an impressive first down in the first quarter where he put a double move on the defensive back, creating the separation needed for Garoppolo to put the ball on target. The 49ers scored on the next play. Dante Pettis, Jordan Matthews, and Matt Breida follow James with the most receiving yards, Breida reeling an impressive diving touchdown in the first quarter from Garoppolo.

Bubble players make their case

The 49ers’ roster features stiff competition at several roster spots. A handful of players made their case on Saturday for their place on the team’s final 53-man roster. Defensive lineman Damontre Moore finished with five total tackles, four quarterback hits, two sacks and a tackle for loss. Jordan Matthews totaled two receptions for 33 yards - with Nick Mullens missing a wide-open would-be touchdown. Wideout Kendrick Bourne accounted for a pair of catches, in addition to James’ four. All of the above are fighting for a place on the final roster.