Well the game is finally in the books as the San Francisco 49ers (3-2) beat the Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) 22-17. A game in which much of the storyline centered around the return of former 49ers QB Alex Smith, the game itself still needed to play out, as the 49ers eventually came out on top in another thrilling victory.
Led by 49ers K Phil Dawson, it was Dawson who earned his paycheck as he made all five of his field-goal attempts including two from 50-plus yards out (55, 52). The MVP of the game in my book as Dawson scored 16 points, he looks to be getting his groove back as he continues to get acclimated to the new stadium. I caught up with Dawson after the game and asked if the field conditions were easier than the swirling winds at Candlestick and Dawson said, “The field conditions are different but not necessarily easier. I don’t get to practice on that field as much as I’d like but I’m getting used to it.”
With Dawson and the special-teams doing their part as SS Craig Dahl got some much needed bonus points with a fake punt resulting in a 49ers first-down, you have to give kudos to ST Coach Brad Seely for having the guts to draw that play up the middle. “They had seven on the left side so I knew I had the middle open,” said Dahl. I then asked if he had a feeling he would pick up the first-down and Dahl said, “Yeah I felt I had it.”
While the special-teams unit excelled, it was the defense that kept the 49ers in the game as they held Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles to 80 rushing yards. A slow start as the 49ers defense gave up 10 points on the Chiefs first two scoring drives, they held their own in the second-half as they only allowed seven points. A team that needed to stop Smith’s underneath routes, it was ILB Patrick Willis who led the charge as he finished with eight tackles and one pass break-up. Not to mention, 49ers CB Perrish Cox recorded his second interception in as many games, the unit is finally gelling at the right time. Cox who was emotional after the game said:
— Ryan Sakamoto (@SakamotoRyan) October 6, 2014
As for the 49ers offense they stuck to what they do best as RB Frank Gore shredded the Chiefs defense for 107 yards on 18 carries. A recipe for success as I said, “Despite the Chiefs garnering a very modest No. 19 ranked rush defense while yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season, I believe that Gore will have a solid game. When looking at the numbers the Chiefs have given up a whopping 5.7 yards per carry to starting running backs this season evident by 47 carries for 267 rushing yards. And while that’s just one stat, the fact that Gore seems to have found his mid-season stride makes this a very favorable matchup.”
However, the ground game wasn’t the only one gaining steam as the passing attack got a much needed boost from veteran WR Brandon Lloyd. The ageless wonder looked like the player that made him a promising rookie fourth-round pick back in 2003 as he racked up three catches for 76 yards including a 38-yard bomb.
With the 49ers fielding their first winning streak of the 2014 season, they will now go on the road as they face a NFC West rival in the St. Louis Rams (1-3).