Photo by Malaika Bobino
Santa Clara, CA - Despite not being sacked one time, Alex Smith did not get the hero's welcomed he envisioned. Taking it all in with a new stadium, facing his former team and talking about it all week. It was abundantly clear that after being demoted due to a concussion back in 2011, Colin Kaepernick was the better choice. The 49ers outsmarted and outplayed the Chiefs late in the fourth for the 22-17 victory.
"It's tough, you're competitive and you want to win the game," said Smith. "It was different competing against them today. I have a lot of history with some of those guys."
"You know it's always nice when your defense can get five sacks, three sacks or a sack but sometimes the sacks don't fall and the ball doesn't fall in your hands," LB Patrick Willis said. You just have to take what you're given and we got the W today and that's most important."
Smith looked sharp on opening drive when he completed six of eight passes for 81 yards and a touchdown. A two-yard touchdown pass from Smith to tight end Travis Kelce set the tone early in the first quarter. Kapernick's deep passes down field moved the offense quickly. Frank Gore found open holes to spark the rushing game but San Francisco failed to tie the game after Anquan Boldin missed a wide open Michael Crabtree on the reverse play. Then Kaepernick's next pass was almost picked off.
So the 49ers settled for a field goal. In fact, Phil Dawson kicked a total of five field goals. He connected from 55, 52, 31, 30 and 27 yards. Kaepernick threw for 201 yards and found a wide open Stevie Johnson for a 9-yard touchdown giving San Francisco the 13-10 lead in the second quarter. Gore rushed for 107 yards yet the offense still struggled with the red zone.
"We always want to finish with seven points but when Phil [Dawson] comes on the field we're confident we got three," said Kaepernick.
By the second half a different 49ers defense showed up. After Smith's 17-yard pass to De'Anthony Thomas the Chiefs added another field goal to make it a 17-13 game. San Francisco's defense shut them down and took over on offense. Brandon Lloyd make a leaping catch over 6'3 Sean Smith for the first down in the fourth. That set up Dawson's fourth field goal.
"He [Lloyd] said that he thought 21 [CB Sean Smith] was hurt, thought we could take a shot and give him a chance," Kaepernick said. "He made an amazing play."
"It was just a go route, nothing much to it," said Lloyd.
The 49ers didn't stop there, they faked a punt on fourth and one from their 29-yard line. They gave Craig Dahl a direct snap to run up the middle for 3-yards for the first down. Dawson followed with his fifth and final field goal. Kansas City had one last shot with 2:12 left in the game. That was certainly enough time for Smith to move his offense down field for a field goal but that didn't happen.
"They got us," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said. "Against this team you've got to be ready for all that stuff. They got us on that one and they got it done. They were able to move us out of the way to get the first."
On the second drive in the series, Smith's pass intended for tight end Anthony Fasano was intercepted by Perrish Cox. That ended any and all chances for the Chiefs and San Francisco ran out the clock for the win. Jamaal Charles ran for 80 yards surpassing Larry Johnson's 6,015 yards for second place on Kansas City's career rushing list. Charles needs 52 yards to pass Priest Holmes for the franchise record.