One of the weak points last season was the 49ers inability to stop run, and with three first-round picks invested in the position group, it’s obviously a point of emphasis for the team. It looks like San Francisco is going to start seeing some serious returns soon on the investments made.
Yes, all statistics gleaned need to be taken with a grain of salt as it is preseason. But that doesn’t mean nothing can be drawn from looking at box score, and it was impressive for the defensive line. The Chiefs rushed for a measly 31 yards on 14 carries, an average of less than 3 yards a carry.
Rookie Solomon Thomas, who played a surprising amount of snaps, showed why the 49ers were so high on the pass-rusher from Stanford:
The most impressive though was fourth-year man Aaron Lynch, dominating the stat sheet with three total tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss and a pass deflection.
Coming into the game, all the attention was focused on rookie linebacker and first-round draft pick Reuben Foster after he was thrown into the starting rotation due to a season-ending injury suffered by Malcolm Smith last week.
Almost immediately, Foster made a play that has been reminiscent of his training camp so far — in the redzone, he nearly intercepted a pass from Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith (video courtesy of Bleacher Report’s Charles McDonald):
With NaVorro Bowman and Foster, it looks like the 49ers having a solid nucleus forming at the linebacker position.
Slowly this offseason, there was buzz building up around cornerback Rashard Robinson. Lead NFL analyst at Bleacher Report, Matt Miller, has been one of those praising the second-year man. Some believe that Robinson has what it takes to become an elite-level defender, and Robinson hasn’t been shy about his desire to be the best.
Well, it looks like Robinson still has a way to go before that’s the case. On the very first drive, the Chiefs attacked Robinson and it paid off for Kansas City. The initial play of the game was a 32-yard pass that featured Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill burning Robinson. On the following drive, Robinson then gave up a long touchdown that was called back due to offensive pass interference.
While Robinson did end up having an interception, that can be credited to Solomon Thomas whose quarterback hurry forced Kansas City’s Tyler Bray to make an errant throw into coverage. It was an uneven performance for Robinson, who will be the 49ers No. 1 cornerback this season.
In all, the secondary allowed 156 yards passing between four signal-callers with an average quarterback rating of 72.9.