While big plays were the story for the San Francisco 49ers, and plenty of takeaways to dish out, we have yet to talk about the winners and losers from Saturday night’s game. Here are four winners and two losers from the Niners’ third preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
I know there’s a lot of people waiting to say, “I told you so” if Ward is to get injured. That’s not how it should be. Is it fair that Ward’s return from injury pumps Tarvarius Moore off the field? Nope. What we did see what all three safeties on the field in passing situations. Ward dropped to the slot to play cornerback, and he played quite well. Ward broke up a pass, and he also drew an offensive pass interference.
Additionally, Ward had two run stops. Ward looked good in coverage even when he wasn’t targeted. He was a clear winner on Saturday night.
Moore keeps making the most of his opportunities. Moore Had three sacks against the Chiefs and hit the quarterback another time. Each one of his four tackles was considered a stop. The search for a third edge rusher continues for the defense, and if we’re basing it off who has performed the best during the preseason, Moore has earned the right to make the team.
Witherspoon allowed a reception on all three of his targets, one going for a first down. He also missed a tackle. He wasn’t “bad,” but the defense is going to need more out of ‘Spoon this season. Expectations have to be higher. With where the secondary is in terms of depth, the defense can’t afford Witherspoon’s play to slip. We’ll see how he looks when the pass rush will feature the true starters.
Coleman finished with 19 yards on nine carries, and one reception for two yards. There was a 3rd & 1 play that stood out to me. The offense ran a zone play to the right, and Coleman put his head down and ran up the backs of the offensive line. I thought there was a clear cutback lane for Coleman to pick up five or more yards. I don’t want to turn into a “Monday morning quarterback,” because it’s always easy to judge in hindsight, but we saw Matt Breida do the same thing.
James was impressive Saturday night. He had the perfect double move down the sideline early on in the game:
Here’s that Richie James double move. Easy speed. Nice ball by Jimmy G to let him run under it. pic.twitter.com/nuMcSkDQfh— KP (@KP_Show) August 25, 2019
He also created after the catch:
Richie James is playing some good football this preseason. pic.twitter.com/IMTn8Mpo8w— Dylan DeSimone (@DylanADeSimone) August 25, 2019
Four catches for 66 yards on four targets. The offense could use that type of spark in Week 1 when James will be on the roster.
If it seems like this is offense heavy, it’s because they deserve it. I could have easily awarded this to the offensive line, who did a nice job of giving Garoppolo a pocket to throw, and the running backs lanes to run. It’s a quarterback league, and that throw above to James is as good a throw as you’ll see. Jimmy G got off to another slow start, but he bounced back in a big way. Of his 14 completions, nine of them went for first downs.
More importantly, Garoppolo was 7/9 for 140 yards and a touchdown on throws over ten yards. There is plenty of speed to burn on offense, and if Garoppolo can spread it around and let the playmakers do the work, this offense won’t have any issues scoring points.