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What We Learned from 49ers vs. Chiefs

Posted Oct 5, 2014

Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith went back and forth in a highly entertaining Week 5 contest, but it was the San Francisco 49ers who prevailed to improve to 3-2 on the season.

It was billed as a battle between the quarterbacks, but we quickly learned that running backs, defense and even special teams were poised to play bigger roles in Sunday’s matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.

Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith went back and forth in a highly entertaining Week 5 contest.

In the end, thanks to a game-clinching interception of Smith by Perrish Cox, it was Kaepernick and the 49ers that were victorious by a score of 22-17.

Here’s what we took away from the non-conference matchup at Levi’s® Stadium.

The Fake Punt, the Big Catch

San Francisco dialed up an important trick play to start the fourth quarter. Safety Craig Dahl ran a three-yard gain on a fourth-down punt. The key special teams play, deep inside of San Francisco territory, set up an amazing 29-yard deep catch by Brandon Lloyd on a 3rd-and-9.

Lloyd out-wrestled Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith for the 50-50 ball down the left sideline.

The 49ers used the big plays in the fourth quarter to re-take the lead, 19-17, on a 27-yard Phil Dawson field goal.

Smith Starts Fast, Finishes Shaky

The Visiting quarterback made several big throws early on. He completed 6-of-8 passes for 61 yards on Kansas City’s opening drive, one that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Travis Kelce. Four of Smith’s completions went to tight ends. Anthony Fasano caught three of Smith’s passes on the six-minute and 23-second long scoring drive.

The scoring play was also Kelce’s third consecutive game with a touchdown catch.

Smith remained clutch in the first quarter. He completed five consecutive third down passes, converting all of them in the opening 15 minutes of play. Kansas City held the ball for 10:59 in the opening quarter.

Smith’s six third-down pass was tackled short of the first-down markers thanks to a perfect form tackle by 49ers safety Antoine Bethea. Chiefs kicker Ciaro Santos converted a 42-yard field goal to give the visiting team a 10-3 lead.

Smith later completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to rookie play-maker De’Anthony Thomas before being intercepted by Cox on the Chiefs final possession. Smith finished the game completing 17-of-31 passes for 175 yards with two touchdowns and one turnover.

Kap's Streak Watch

Kaepernick has now thrown at least one touchdown pass in 12 straight games. San Francisco’s starting signal-caller Stevie Johnson for a 9-yard score in the final drive of the first half to put San Francisco up 13-10 at the half.

Kaepernick finished the game completing 14-of-26 attempts for 201 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. Kaepernick was sacked three times and had his streak of 50-yard rushing games snapped at three.

Boldin at Quarterback?

The 49ers picked up 32 rushing yards on their opening drive of the game, but a crucial incomplete pass, one from a wide receiver of all people, was a major missed opportunity.

Anquan Boldin, a former high school quarterback, misfired a red-zone pass intended for Michael Crabtree. Boldin received the ball on a reverse and rolled to his right to look downfield. Crabtree was open, but the veteran receiver did not get enough air under his pass. It bounced short of Crabtree.

The play would have been an easy touchdown. Instead, San Francisco settled for a 31-yard Dawson field goal after Kaepernick’s third-down pass was broken up by Chiefs safety Ron Parker.

KC Shows Second-half Speed

Thomas turned in a 28-yard punt return to set up Kansas City’s offense on its opening drive of the second half. Jamaal Charles added a 26-yard run and the next thing you knew, Thomas caught a 17-yard touchdown pass to help the Chiefs regain the lead.

The four-play, 58-yard drive took 1:31 off the clock and put Kansas City up 17-13.

It would be their final points of the game.

Dawson Stays Hot

Lloyd’s 39-yard catch in the first quarter would help set up a 55-yard Dawson field goal to give the veteran kicker his sixth consecutive make on the year. Dawson missed two kicks earlier in the season, including one in a victory against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 and another in a Week 3 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. 

Dawson later made a 52-yard field goal, a 27-yard attempt and a 30-yard try to give him nine made kicks in a row. He now has made all 11 of his attempts at Levi’s® Stadium. After dealing with preseason struggles, Dawson has figured out how to master his new home stadium. He also has plenty of leg left.

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