Kyle Shanahan stands at 1-0 as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, as the red and gold defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 27-17 in their preseason opener. That being said, there’s work to be done.
The 49ers had 28 penalties for 199 yards, while starting quarterback Brian Hoyer went 1-of-4 for three yards. Starting cornerback Rashard Robinson got burned on a long pass to Chiefs’ wide receiver Tyreek Hill and missed a couple important tackles, but did sort of make up for it with an interception.
It was also game one of the preseason, so there’s room for improvement and time to improve.
There’s not doubt that is season is a rebuilding one for the Niners, but there were still areas to be encouraged about. The 49ers finished with 484 yards and 22 first downs. The Chiefs had 187 yards and 13 first downs. Let’s take a look.
Aaron Lynch is Back
Aaron Lynch and his weight have been a hot topic for awhile now, but the fourth-year linebacker came to training camp fit as a fiddle and the difference was clear on the field last night.
Lynch finished the night with three tackles, two of them solo tackles, two sacks and two tackles for loss. It was a standout night for a player whose roster status was potentially in question. Question no more – Aaron Lynch will make the 53-man roster, and he will contribute.
The Future is Bright
It turns out that general manager John Lynch and the 49ers did indeed draft well, like very well.
Solomon Thomas, he 49ers’ first pick and third overall pick in 2017, is good. The defensive lineman showed that he is going to be a force, debuting with two tackles and three pressures. Pro Football Focus gave him an overall game grade of 88.2. Not bad for a rookie who had to sit out the entire offseason program. Not bad at all.
Meanwhile, Rookie Reuben Foster spent the majority of the first half at the weakside linebacker position and he looked comfortable doing it.
Running back and fourth-round draft pick Joe Williams, who has been up and down in practice, had a great game, finishing the night with seven carries for 60 yards. Also, he is really, really, really fast. The 49ers are going to be in great shape at running back and Williams showed that he was very much worth the pick.
Undrafted free agent Matt Breida had 11 carries for 40 yards. He didn’t shine quite the way he has in training camp, but he will have a place in this offense.
The Battle for QB2
Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard both played well with Barkley playing most of the first half, and Beathard playing the entire second. Barkley went 10-17 for 168 yards and a passer rating of 92.3, while Beathard went 7-11 for 101 yards, two touchdowns and a passer rating of 133. Beathard was the comeback hero, but these two are going to be competing for the QB2 job preseason game by preseason game. I still think the rookie’s going to get it, but we shall see.
Next up for the Niners are the Denver Broncos at Levi’s Stadium on August 19. The starters have a lot of work to do, and the penalties need to get under control stat. But for game one of the preseason with a new coach, a new scheme, and A LOT of new players, it wasn’t bad. Go Niners!