It’s halftime at Levi’s Stadium, and the Chiefs trail the 49ers 13-10. Here are some quick observations.
▪ The Chiefs are running the ball a little better than I thought they would against the 49ers. Jamaal Charles has 49 yards, which puts him only 29 shy of passing Larry Johnson for second on the Chiefs’ all-time leading rushing list. Charles is also 84 yards shy of surpassing Priest Holmes for first place.
▪ Tough failed challenge by Chiefs coach Andy Reid near the end of the second quarter. From my vantage point, it also appeared 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick came a little short of the first down. The result of the drive, a Stevie Johnson touchdown, is the exact reason it wasn’t a bad challenge. Had the spot been overturned, the Chiefs would have gotten a crucial third-down stop and had another opportunity to score.
▪ Speaking of Johnson, he scored his touchdown by running a corner route on cornerback Marcus Cooper. So far, this has not been the return to San Francisco that Cooper, who was released by the 49ers before last season, could have envisioned. He’s been targeted six times and allowed three catches for 64 yards. One went for 39 yards on a go route down the sideline, another went for 18 yards and the other was the touchdown.
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▪ Alex Smith, on the other hand, has been fantastic in his return to San Francisco, completing 12 of 19 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Reid’s offensive playcalling continues to be on point, as the Chiefs have targeted Anthony Fasano (four catches, 32 yards) and Junior Hemingway (four catches, 50 yards) in the passing game.
▪ The Chiefs’ sole touchdown of the half was fun to watch. Not many teams can pull of running a screen a tight end in a three-tight end bunch formation, but the Chiefs’ depth at the position has allowed Reid to take advantage of it.
▪ Cairo Santos’ 42-yard field goal in the first half should give him some confidence. That’s good, because based on the way this game is going, the Chiefs will need him over the last two quarters.