It was the preseason and an old friend on the other side of the ball, but the San Francisco 49ers defense was relentless on Friday night and gave Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith a first-hand look at why their defense is slated to once again be one of the best in the NFL.
The Niners sacked Smith three times and hit him on several more occasions in their 15-13 win at Arrowhead Stadium. San Francisco has to feel good about their pass rush given that new Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is especially adept at putting quick passes into his offense and rarely has his quarterbacks hang onto the ball for a long period of time.
There were noted deficiencies in the Chiefs passing attack, as noted by Smith following the game (via CSN Bay Area):
“Not very efficient in the passing game,” Smith said. “I left a lot out there. I think I didn’t handle the pressure as well, and just some finer details here and there.”
The 49ers’ defense will be called upon early this season to help win games as several key weapons are absent for the team on offense. Wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham are both dealing with significant injuries, while the team’s younger receivers have a long way to go before they can be relied upon in crunch time.
Of particular concern is 2012 first-round pick A.J. Jenkins, who if not for his draft status a season ago, could be on the verge of being left off the 53-man roster. If that’s the case, he’d become the team’s biggest bust in recent memory.
The defense is going to be the key to any success they have this year, and if they can sustain their second-ranked standing from a season ago in terms of points allowed, they should give Colin Kaepernick & Co. plenty of opportunity to go out and win games. The relentless nature with which they pursued Smith in preseason Week 2 is a good indicator of that.
Photo Credit: Denny Medley / USA Today
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