In what’s been one of the most anticipated starts to a season since 2014, the 49ers traveled to Kansas City to commence the 2017 preseason.
With a new coaching staff led by Kyle Shanahan and front office headed by John Lynch, fans have been chomping at the bit to see their new team in action. In what was a heated battle we look three takeaways from tonight’s game.
Rashard Robinson - Much was made of the rookie season for the man expected to be the 49ers top corner. He showed signs of being the shutdown corner the team hopes he will be. Robinson left much to be desired on the team’s opening defensive series. He gave up a 39-yard pass on the first play of the game after he failed to press Chiefs speedster wideout, Tyreek Hill.
Later in the drive, perhaps in an example of over aggressiveness or horrible technique he whiffed on what should have been a tackle short of the first down on a 3rd and 6. Kansas City would score a touchdown on the next play.
Robinson did recover nicely on the next series, intercepting a pass from backup quarterback Bray. The 49ers will need him to continue working on his press coverage technique and using his arms to disrupt passes as the regular season approaches.
Penalties - Yes it was the first preseason game of the year and yes the 49ers committed far too many penalties. Shanahan is going to have to lock that part of the team down moving forward.
Joe Williams - The rookie running back showed why Shanahan said he would torch the city if the 49ers failed to draft him. On his first carry of the game he broke off a 15-yard run that was a thing of beauty. He also had a 17-yard run on a toss play
After this contest one can assume that Shanahan is salivating thinking off all the ways he’ll be able to get the first year back involved in his offense.
Aaron Lynch - After showing up out of shape resulting in having a disappointing season in 2016, the defensive end has come back focused on earning a place on the team. At 270-pounds, Lynch is back to his ideal weight and it showed as he was in the Chiefs backfield often in this game.
Trent Taylor - Shanahan’s draft crush flashed and lived up to the belief that he is indeed the next Wes Welker. Undersized and lacking the same speed as Welker, Taylor is not lacking in playmaking ability and sheer toughness.
Offensive line - No push, unable to hold their blocks, not opening holes in the running game, and not protecting the quarterback. The unit that allowed 47-sacks last season could be even worse this year.
Reuben Foster - The rookie linebacker is going to be special, there’s no two-ways about it. He undercut a pass from Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith and should have had an interception. Given another chance in the same situation my guess is that he secures his first NFL pick.
Solomon Thomas -Simply put, Thomas was everywhere. The third overall pick in this years draft played great and will continue to do so as he gets more reps this preseason. He was relentless and plugged his gaps, allowing his teammates to get pressure on the Chiefs quarterbacks. He was also good on run defense, disengaging from blocks to either stop runs or disrupt plays.
C.J. Beathard - After appearing to come around in camp, the first-year signal caller started off cold. He did have a pass in his first drive that should have been caught for a first-down. On the ensuing third-down play he was tentative in the pocket and took sack as result.
He came back strong in the fourth quarter, evading the rush as he stepped up in the pocket and hit a wide open Kendrick Bourne for a -yard touchdown. Shanahan elected to go for the two-point conversion and Beathard found Bourne again for the score to tie the game, 17-17. He followed that up with another touchdown to fullback Tyler McCloskey after the defense forced a fumble from quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Raheem Mostert - While he will have an uphill climb making the 53-man roster, Mostert was integral in running down the clock at the end of the game. He ripped off multiple runs on the winded Chiefs defense, moving the chains and keeping the clock running.
The 49ers left Kansas City with a 27-17 win in Kyle Shanahan's debut. It was mostly a result of their second and third teamers being better than Kansas City's. Not much was answered tonight other than what the staff already knew. It will be interesting to see how the first team responds against Denver next Saturday at Levi's Stadium.