The San Francisco 49ers improved their preseason record to 3-0 following Saturday night’s, 27-17, victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Most of San Francisco’s starters, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo saw an uptick in snaps in Saturday’s dress rehearsal, playing throughout the entire first half. Here are 13 takeaways from their third preseason contest.
1. Kyle Shanahan called it “irresponsible” to overreact following Garoppolo’s 10-play outing against the Broncos in Week 2 of the preseason. Garoppolo did a complete 180 in his five series to close out Saturday night’s first half. The quarterback completed 14-of-20 passes (70 percent completion percentage) for 188 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions for a 116.5 passer rating.
“It’s not a big surprise when a guy’s out for a long time, and especially that and coming off of an ACL,” Shanahan said of Garoppolo’s performance in Week 2. “But that’s just how football goes sometimes, especially in the preseason. Last week wasn’t nearly as bad as it looked but it definitely did look that bad live. And today, everyone’s on the same page a little bit better. (The 49ers) moved the chains a couple of times and you just got into a rhythm. And then you start forgetting about things and start playing football.”
2. Garoppolo’s best showing came on his second drive of the night. The quarterback went 4-for-4 including two perfectly thrown balls, one to Richie James Jr. for 33 yards, and the second to Matt Breida for a 20-yard touchdown on the ensuing play.
3. Shanahan said earlier this week not to read too much into the order of the 49ers backup quarterbacks. Nick Mullens played a little over a quarter and a half and completed 8-of-11 passes for 84 yards. Undrafted rookie Wilton Speight closed out the final minutes of the game. Shanahan said he expects C.J. Beathard to see snaps during Thursday’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.
4. James Jr. was perfect on the night, hauling in all four of his targets for 66 yards. He continues to make a steady case in the battle at wide receiver.
5. Breida dominated on the ground and through the air, forcing several missed tackles. Breida registered seven carries for 44 yards to go along with his two receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown. During his touchdown reception, the running back made a full extension in the end zone for the 49ers first score of the evening.
“He made a tremendous catch on it,” Garoppolo said postgame. “Most of the time it’s receivers making that catch, but when a running back can do it, it’s so hard for defenses to plan for that. So it’s a credit to him. It was a tremendous catch.”
Breida also connected on two consecutive first downs from Garoppolo in the first half.
6. Jeff Wilson Jr. is helping make the 49ers decisions at running back even more challenging. Wilson Jr. led the 49ers backfield with 12 carries for 45 yards and two touchdowns against the Chiefs. The first was a four-yard handoff from Mullens. On the second, the running back found the end zone from 7 yards out.
"He looks like a very similar runner to what he was last year," Shanahan said. "When you’re running the same and you’ve added 15-20 pounds that’s a good thing. I think he ran pretty well in this game tonight. I think he ran well last week. We’ll see how he does in this final one. We’ll make a decision on a bunch of guys.”
8. Jimmie Ward made his preseason debut following a collarbone fracture suffered back in May. Ward got the start at nickel corner with K'Waun Williams out with a knee injury, while Tarvarius Moore opened the game at free safety. Ward drew an offensive pass interference call against rookie receiver Mecole Hardman and made a third down stop against Patrick Mahomes on a scramble in the red zone.
9. Mitch Wishnowsky continues to stress that punters need love too. Wishnowsky booted a beautiful 62-yard punt out of bounds to pin the Chiefs at their own 3-yard line in the third quarter. He had two punts on the night for an average of 57 yards.
10. Kwon Alexander made his anticipated 49ers debut against the Chiefs and proved that he's full speed. The linebacker had three total tackles in the first half, tied for second on the team.
11. Penalties were no longer the storyline in the third exhibition contest. The 49ers committed just four for 25 yards, compared to 18 for 218 yards against the Dallas Cowboys and 13 for 101 yards last week versus the Denver Broncos.
12. The 49ers totaled 23 first downs compared to the Chiefs 12. San Francisco was also 9-of-15 on third down. Garoppolo converted on 3-of-4 of his third down passes.
13. Kyle Juszczyk suffered a hand contusion in the first half. Per Shanahan, the X-rays were negative. Juszczyk caught both of his targets for nine yards on Saturday.