Again, it’s preseason. So take all of these bits of analysis with a grain of salt.
Remember how putrid the 49ers run defense was a year ago? Well, not so much of a problem in this particular contest.
The Chiefs managed just 31 total rushing yards over the course of the game — averaging only 2.2 yards per attempt. San Francisco’s depth even managed to keep Kansas City’s ground attack in check late in the game. It seems as if defensive coordinator Robert Saleh’s abilities to stop the run are working, for now.
And if players like EDGE Aaron Lynch can replicate their pass-rushing efforts — two sacks and one pass batted down — things should be good on this side of the ball.
DE Solomon Thomas
One of the reasons the 49ers run defense worked so well was rookie defensive end Solomon Thomas, who remained in the game deep into the fourth quarter.
Thomas was highly effective against the run, but there were some key plays in the pass rush too.
Like this one, which resulted in a sack for Lynch:
The rookie missed a lot of offseason activities, so it makes sense the Niners would play him a lot to make up the difference.
As of now, he’s trending in the right direction.
Running Backs Joe Williams & Matt Breida
While Raheem Mostert led all runners with 89 rushing yards, Williams and Breida had 60 and 40 yards, respectively. And each broke off some big carries.
Williams’ speed was something to watch, and you can catch a glimpse of it here:
And while Breida had a fumble, the rookie also made some strong contributions as a candidate to make the back end of the 53-man roster.
Wide Receivers Kendrick Bourne & Aldrick Robinson
The 49ers have plenty of questions at wide receiver, although it’s a sure bet Aldrick Robinson makes the 53-man roster.
Robinson, who worked under head coach Kyle Shanahan with the Atlanta Falcons, hauled in two catches for 83 yards over the game and could wind up being a true X-factor for San Francisco.
Not to be outdone, Kendrick Bourne led all Niners receivers with four receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. Bourne is on the fringes of the roster, and the 49ers might have a tough decision whether or not to keep him around.
Quarterback C.J. Beathard
He made plenty of mistakes and looked raw, but rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard showed why he’s in the discussion for San Francisco’s No. 2 spot on the depth chart.
Beathard tossed two touchdowns en route to a 133.0 passer rating — not bad for a mid-round draft pick playing against his first NFL competition not wearing the same uniforms.
On this particular play in the fourth quarter, Beathard does an excellent job sensing the pass rush and moving up in the pocket, delivering a pass to Bourne for a key touchdown:
Beathard has a long way to go, but there are some signs worth monitoring.