The only touchdowns the 49ers have allowed so far in the exhibition season have not come on defense. They continued their strong showing in Friday night's win in Kansas City.
But the reserve offense has taken its lumps, with the only touchdown of the exhibition season coming in the fourth quarter Friday night against the Chiefs. The backup quarterback situation has taken an interesting turn as B.J. Daniels led the offense on a 13-play, 90-yard touchdown drive spanning 6:24 late in the fourth quarter to give the 49ers the comeback win.
Daniels did not play in the exhibition opener against Denver as the coaching staff elected to test Scott Tolzien for the majority of the game after Colt McCoy left with a stinger. Tolzien completed 3 of 8 passes for 30 yards. McCoy threw an interception trying to hit A.J. Jenkins for the second-straight week, connecting on 3 of 6 throws. He also rushed for 37 yards.
The Chiefs kept their talented starting defense on the field for most of the first half and San Francisco's reserve offense had a hard time. The 49ers had just 28 yards through the air.
Daniels exhibited a little bit of everything in his performance Friday. He showed the ability to make a variety of throws, including high-velocity passes to the outside and inside, hitting Lavelle Hawkins for a crucial 16-yard gain on a third-and-short play.
Daniels showed good touch and placement when he found Chuck Jacobs for the decisive 14-yard touchdown pass down the left side. The seventh-round pick finished 6 of 9 with 72 yards; a touchdown and 128.0 quarterback rating.
Does this catapult Daniels into the mix for the No. 2 quarterback job? Unlikely. But it certainly doesn't hurt while McCoy and Tolzien have yet to distinguish themselves in the first two games. Should Daniels have another strong outing against Minnesota next week, the competition will gain steam. Regardless, Daniels appears to have a secure future in San Francisco. The question is whether it's on the practice squad or 53-man roster.
Defensively, the 49ers registered seven sacks and were led by Perrish Cox with a pair coming off the edge. Cox continued his strong preseason and is giving himself a great chance to make the team while he competes in a crowded group at cornerback. Cox is most comfortable on the outside, but has been utilized in the slot behind Carlos Rogers throughout camp. His strong summer could push Tramaine Brock for snaps with the first-team nickel package to fill the void left by Chris Culliver.
The Chief's managed just 170 net yards, which is an impressive number for the 49ers considering it was their unit that was working against Kansas City's starters in the first half.
Nick Moody had a standout evening with a game-high 10 tackles while playing the majority of the game. He shined in blitzes up the middle and was a handful for running's backs in pass protection. The former college is safety is still raw, but has shown good speed and ability to track down ball carriers. The 49ers are feeling comfortable with Moody and Michael Wilhoite backing up Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman while they form the core of the special teams units.
Outside linebacker Parys Haralson is having a resurgent August and looks fresh after missing all of last season with a torn triceps injury. He had two tackles, a sack and a blocked punt. With the 49ers likely to keep just four outside linebackers on the 53-man roster, Haralson is making a great case.
Trent Baalke brought in Dan Skuta in the offseason to help contribute on special teams, but Haralson's performance so far – and his presence in the locker room – will go a long way towards the team's decision at the position. Third-round pick Corey Lemonier had another good game and is a lock to make it, leaving the competition between Skuta and Haralson for the fourth spot. Skuta had a good night in his own right, making five tackles while playing for most of the second half.
The 49ers did not get much from their receivers Friday and the competition remains crowded and convoluted. Chad Hall, Jacobs and Hawkins all had two catches to tie for the team lead on the night. A.J. Jenkins was shut out after his 17-yard catch in the third quarter was nullified by a holding penalty.
Jenkins had a tough time against Sean Smith, one of the game's bigger and more physical corners that the Chief's signed as a free-agent in the spring. Jenkins was unable to get separation until the reserves came in. McCoy tried throwing a back-shoulder pass to Jenkins but Smith was in position and made the interception in the second quarter. Had McCoy aired it out down the field, Jenkins might have been able to use his speed to run underneath it.
Austin Collie didn't come into the game until the third quarter and hasn't received any work with the first-team offense. That could change this week as the third preseason game is typically where teams try to learn the most about roster position battles.