The Chiefs blew another lead after their starters departed a preseason game Friday night, but this time they didn’t have a lot of reason for encouragement after their 15-13 loss to San Francisco at Arrowhead Stadium.
The starters played the first half and left the game with a 13-6 lead, but that came courtesy of one big play. Quintin Demps returned a kickoff 104 yards for the Chiefs’ only touchdown.
Otherwise, things were rough for the Chiefs in the first half, particularly on offense. The 49ers removed their starters after the first possession but the Chiefs looked nothing like they did on their one flawless drive last week in New Orleans.
Quarterback Alex Smith completed just seven of 16 passes and was sacked three times. The Chiefs, who played without injured running back Jamaal Charles, had just 92 yards in the first half. The Chiefs again failed to complete a pass to either starting wide receiver, Dwayne Bowe or Jon Baldwin.
Smith tried to get the ball to Baldwin three times. Twice he was well covered and once he dropped the pass. Smith threw for Bowe once and he was open, but a 49ers defender got a hand in the passing lane and prevented the ball from getting to Bowe.
The performance was a letdown for the offense, which drove 80 yards for a touchdown in its only possession in last week’s game.
“We didn’t handle the pressure as well,’’ Smith said. “We didn’t get into the rhythm we got into last week … for a lot of reasons.
“We left a lot out there. It’s a lot of fixable things. Some of it was protection. That kind of falls on all of us. There were a few times they were bringing more than we’ve got (to block). The ball has to come out (quicker) and we’ve got to execute outside. There were a few communication things up front we’ve got to get ironed out.’’
The 49ers also yanked starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick after just one possession. The 49ers managed a 42-yard field goal from Phil Dawson on that drive after getting a 52-yard run from Frank Gore on their first play from scrimmage.
The Chiefs initially stopped Gore at the line of scrimmage, but he cut back to his left and the Chiefs had no one home to prevent the big play.
Demps then delivered his long kickoff return. The play was well blocked and Demps was never seriously threatened on his way to the end zone.
The Chiefs managed two field goals from Ryan Succop later in the first half from 47 and 23 yards. The Chiefs started with good field position on each of those possessions, first from their 49 after a San Francisco penalty on a punt and then from the 49ers‘ 21 after a Sean Smith interception.
The 49ers scored just once more in the first half on Dawson’s 55-yard field goal, but the Chiefs still had trouble getting San Francisco off the field. Backup quarterback Colt McCoy twice scrambled out of trouble on third down and long and ran for a first down.
“Our defense for the most part did a nice job,’’ said coach Andy Reid, ignoring Gore’s long run. “If you eliminate the quarterback scrambles, we had a pretty good day.’’
The Chiefs’ problems in protecting the quarterback continued in the second half after Chase Daniel replaced Smith. Daniel was sacked three times in the third quarter and the 49ers cut their deficit to 13-9 on another 55-yard field goal from the 38-year-old Dawson.
The 49ers put together a drive in the fourth quarter behind their fourth-string quarterback, rookie B.J Daniels. They got to the Chiefs’ 14 with just over two minutes left. On third and seven, rookie wide receiver Chuck Jacobs beat Neiko Thorpe in the end zone and grabbed a touchdown pass.
The Chiefs’ Vince Agnew blocked Dawson’s point-after try.
The Chiefs took possession at their 17 with 1:57 remaining. With Tyler Bray at quarterback, the Chiefs gained one first down.
But Bray was sacked by linebacker Cam Johnson on fourth and three from the Chiefs’ 35. The Chiefs got the ball back for one final play, but from their own 2, Bray handed off to Shaun Draughn, who was tackled a mere 95 yards from the 49ers end zone.