The Chiefs’ first game of the year ended in a win but the road to victory featured plenty of different players, some of which fighting for a chance to be on the final 53-man roster.
Head coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs held their first matchup of the preseason and even though the first-string players only played during the first quarter there was plenty of action to watch on every side of the ball.
The Chiefs put together a game plan for the first preseason matchup that revolved around first-string players seeing action during the first quarter, second-string players playing the second quarter, and so on and so forth.
With that in mind, this game recap is structured around the four quarters and how the Chiefs’ main stars filled out the time.
The first quarter of Kansas City’s first preseason game of the season saw Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes and 49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo under center for just one possession each.
Both quarterbacks ended their lone drives with punts and let their respective running backs take the bulk of the work for the most part. This was obvious when Chiefs’ RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire accounted for 12 of the Chiefs’ first 16 yards.
After Mahomes exited the game Chad Henne replaced him and immediately went for 4-4 on a charge to the endzone before throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Byron Pringle for the first score of the game.
On the other side of the ball, rookie QB Trey Lance took over for “Jimmy GQ” and threw an 80-yard bomb to Trent Sherfield for a touchdown on his second-ever possession as an NFL quarterback (below).
Lance was also welcomed into the league by “Sack Nation” leader DE Chris Jones on Lance’s third snap in the NFL.
After Henne’s excellent start to the game, he came out on Kansas City’s second possession under center and swiftly threw an interception into the hands of 49ers’ CB Deommodore Lenoir.
The first quarter saw most of the Chiefs’ 1st-string offense and defense play multiple series. Overall they held the lead heading into the second quarter by a score of 7-6 thanks to a 49er extra point hitting the right upright after Lance’s 80-yard TD.
After missing an extra point earlier in the game Robbie Gould came out and kicked a 36-yard field goal at the beginning of the second quarter making the score 9-7 in favor of the home team 49ers.
Henne continued to show inconsistency on the next drive throwing two incompletions and getting sacked before sending out punter Tommy Townsend who kicked a beautiful 66-yard punt into the corner of the field causing San Francisco to start from their own 1-yard line.
The 49ers’ next drive was short-lived, but traveled 42 yards thanks to a 34-yard pass and catch due to Chiefs’ undrafted rookie free agent CB Devon Key slipping in coverage over the middle.
Anthony Gordon, the Chiefs’ 3rd-string QB out of Washington State, started the next series under center and went 2-4 for 9 yards on his first possession.
Afterward, the 49ers and Chiefs both had two separate series with less than two minutes left, utilizing their respective two-minute drill offenses for the first time this season.
Kansas City only traveled a total of 12 yards on their two possessions with one of them ending on a missed 62-yard field goal by Harrison Butker.
Meanwhile, San Francisco only traveled six yards in their two possessions as Trey Lance finished his first half of his NFL career with a 41.6% completion percentage (5/12), 128 passing yards, and one touchdown.
It’s worth noting that Lance was also sacked four times for 31 yards in the first half, a definite welcome wagon to the NFL for the 3rd overall pick in this year’s draft.
Gordon continued under center–along with most of Kansas City’s 2nd and 3rd-string players–after receiving the second-half kickoff and helped truck the Chiefs to a successful 52-yard field goal mainly through the air (Gordon: 6/8 for 42 yards).
Chiefs lead 10-9 with 8:46 left in 3rd quarter.
Rookie QB Trey Lance continued to get snaps for San Francisco but went three-and-out on his first series of the second half, eventually leading to a punt into the hands of practice squad WR Gehrig Dieter.
Afterward the Chiefs returned to the field with rookie QB Shane Buechele under center and quickly went three-and-out as well after allowing Buechele to get sacked on his first snap.
Former first-round pick Josh Rosen then filled in for Trey Lance as San Francisco moved into their third-string offense midway through the third quarter.
Rosen let the ball fly early, throwing completions of 26-yards and 16-yards, before overthrowing his target in the red zone and throwing his first interception of 2021 into the hands of Kansas City’s FS Armani Watts on the two-yard line.
After former Kansas State star WR Dalton Schoen caught his first NFL pass by Buechele the third quarter ended with a score of 10-9 in favor of the Chiefs.
Townsend had yet another 60+ yard punt to start the final quarter which led to a 49ers possession that was mainly kept within the hands of RB JaMycal Hasty.
Hasty ran four times in seven plays before eventually fumbling the ball into the hands of Chiefs’ fourth-year LB Dorian O’Daniel with 10 minutes left in the quarter.
Buechele and the Chiefs 3rd and 4th-stringers were unable to put together any sort of offense but did try to get rookie WR Cornell Powell in the game by targeting him two times in their five plays.
Rosen and the 49ers went on another three-and-out series (their fourth of the night) and gave the ball to the Chiefs in great field position for Buechele to put points on the board.
Buechele started the series by running past the line and taking a strong hit to the helmet while sliding (below) which eventually set up a Harrison Butker field goal from 46 yards, making the Chiefs lead go to 13-9 with just over 4 minutes left in the final quarter.
The 49ers’ 4th-string running game came out strong and ran down the Chiefs throat for over 54 yards and a touchdown within two minutes of getting the ball back. 49ers lead 16-13 with 2:37 left in the game.
Buechele received the ball at the Chiefs 32-yard line after a nice return from practice squad WR Maurice Ffrench and completed two straight passes to rookie Cornell Powell for a total of 20 yards.
Attacks through the air were quick and well-thought-out by the Chiefs offense, completing multiple short passes to move up the field with pass-catchers like Powell, Jody Fortson, and third-year RB Elijah McGuire.
Kansas City and Buechele would eventually reach the endzone with just over one minute left thanks to the fourth-string QB’s legs. But Butker would miss the extra point with a left-upright dinger that kept it a three-point game at 19-16.
Rosen and the 49ers tried to reach field goal range in time, but would end up falling short thanks to a sack by second-year DE Tim Ward with 20 seconds left.
FINAL SCORE: Chiefs 19 – San Francisco 16
- P. Mahomes: 1/2, 4 yds
- C. Henne: 6/9, 37 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
- A. Gordon: 11/17, 79 yds
- S. Buechele 8/11 76 yds
- C. Edwards-Helaire: 4 car, 16 yds
- J. McKinnon: 3 car, 2 rec, 40 total yds
- D. Fountain: 4 rec, 38 yds
- B. Pringle: 2 rec, 10 yds, 1 TD
Big winner of the night
Jerick McKinnon looked all-around great on offense, special teams, and when protecting the QB or WR with the ball. He definitely secured a spot on the team considering the other two RBs behind Edwards-Helaire were not nearly as special or making as many plays.