As it turned out, both quarterbacks produced solid if
unspectacular games, and the 49ers turned to their running game and
special teams to grind out a 22-17 victory at Levi's Stadium.
Starting running back Frank Gore ran for 107 yards, backup Carlos
Hyde added 43 rushing yards, and Phil Dawson kicked five field goals
in five attempts, including two of over 50 yards, for the 49ers
Gore, who rushed for 119 yards on 24 carries last week in a victory
against the Philadelphia Eagles, needed just 18 carries to crack the
100-yard barrier against the Chiefs. He gained 70 yards in the
"Our O-line played great," Gore said. "Got to give it up to them.
Forty-Niners football. We do whatever it takes."
Kaepernick unseated Smith as the 49ers' starting quarterback with
seven games remaining in the 2012 season. He completed 14 of 26
passes for 201 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions Sunday.
Smith, facing the 49ers for the first time since they traded him to
Kansas City following the 2012 season, completed 17 of 31 passes for
175 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and an interception that
ended the Chiefs' final drive.
"I thought he handled it like a champ," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said
of Smith's first game against San Francisco. "He did just what I
thought he would do. I mean, come out, play good football and lead
the football team."
Dawson provided the game's final nine points after Kansas City took
a 17-13 lead in the third quarter.
"No expiration date on Phil Dawson," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said
of his 39-year-old kicker. "I put him in some really tough
situations. He stepped up and knocked them down like a Hall of
The 49ers trailed 17-16 early in the fourth quarter when their
special teams came through with a huge play after a gutsy call by
Harbaugh and special teams coach Brad Seely.
Facing fourth-and-1 at their 29, the 49ers lined up in punt
formation, but the snap went to up-back Craig Dahl, who bulled 3
yards for a first down.
"We practiced it all week," Harbaugh said. "Brad checked to see if
we could do it. I said, 'Go for it.'"
Dahl said the Chiefs (2-3) had just six players in the box, which is
what the 49ers were looking for.
"There's an option for us to call it off," said Dahl, a safety who
got his first NFL carry. "We got the right look, and everyone
executed up front. I played option quarterback in high school, so
I've carried the ball plenty of times."
The 49ers faced a huge third-and-10 from their 32, but wide receiver
Brandon Lloyd soared above cornerback Sean Smith and made a 29-yard
catch along the left sideline, keeping the drive alive. Six plays
later, Dawson kicked a 27-yard field goal, putting the 49ers back
ahead 19-17 with 8:42 remaining.
"Oh, my goodness," 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley said of Lloyd's
catch. "It was awesome. It was like the best catch I've ever seen.
It seemed like he was up there for like four seconds. It was
[to top of second column]
After forcing the Chiefs to go three-and-out, the 49ers took over on
their own 32 with 7:10 left to play. San Francisco stalled at the
Chiefs' 36 and lined up for a 54-yard field-goal attempt, but Kansas
City was flagged for having 12 players on the field, giving the
49ers a first down with 4:19 remaining.
"I'll take the responsibility on that," Reid said. "I need to make
sure that I count the guys, make sure down the stretch that
everybody knows exactly what they're doing there and that they do
The 49ers pounded their way to the 10 but settled for Dawson's
30-yard field goal, giving them a 22-17 lead with 2:12 remaining.
San Francisco sealed the win when Smith overthrew tight end Anthony
Fasano, and cornerback Perrish Cox intercepted the ball at the
Chiefs' 43 and took a knee after a 2-yard return with two minutes
"We just had three verticals on that side, trying to hit Fasano up
the seam," Smith said. "The ball got up a little bit. I didn't even
see it. Just kind of saw the end of the play when it went over his
"It's tough. You're trying to make a play there at the end and move
the chains. I thought I had it, but the ball just got up on me a
The 49ers built a 13-10 halftime lead, but the Chiefs moved in front
on Smith's 17-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver De'Anthony
Thomas with 11:56 left in the third quarter.
Thomas, who missed the first four games of the season, scored on his
first career NFL reception. He also gave the Chiefs great field
position for the 58-yard scoring drive with a 28-yard gain on his
first NFL punt return.
Dawson did the rest of the scoring.
"Today was a day I was out there a lot and kind of in the flow of
the game," Dawson said. "Those are the fun games."
NOTES: TE Vernon Davis (back), OT Anthony Davis (ankle, knee) and CB
Tramaine Brock (toe) were among the 49ers' inactive players. ...
Chiefs WR Donnie Avery (sports hernia) and SS Eric Berry (ankle)
were inactive. ... Kansas City WR A.J. Jenkins made his first career
NFL start and faced his former team for the first time. He caught
one pass for 3 yards. ... San Francisco backup OG Joe Looney left
the game early in the third quarter with a hamstring injury. ...
Chiefs RB Cyrus Gray fractured a hand, but coach Andy Reid said he
believes Gray will "be OK." ... Kansas City CBs Chris Owens (knee)
and Phillip Gaines (knee) were injured during a second-half
collision on special teams. Both will be evaluated Monday.
[© 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights
Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published,
broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.