49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

August 16, 2013
Halftime: Offense, special teams sputter, defense rough on Alex Smith

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One of the 49ers' offseason tasks was to bolster a special teams allowed a 108-yard kickoff return to open the second half of the Super Bowl. On Friday, the revamped unit allowed a 104-yard touchdown five minutes into the game, one of several miscues in a sloppy first half for the 49ers, who trail 13-6.

Punter Andy Lee's first punt shanked off the side of his foot and there were two penalties on 49ers punts. Return man LaMichael James had to dive to secure the first Chiefs punt despite the lack of wind at Arrowhead Stadium.

The good news: Phil Dawson struck both of his field-goal attempts, including one from 55 yards.

There also were mistakes on offense.

For the second straight game, a deep pass from Colt McCoy to A.J. Jenkins resulted in an easy interception for the opposition. McCoy tried to hit Jenkins streaking down the sideline, but the receiver was blanketed by big cornerback Sean Smith, who picked off the pass. Jenkins played 31 snaps. Chad Hall was in on 32 plays and was the only wide receiver on both teams to make a catch, a 21 yarder from Tolzien late in the second quarter

Quarterback Scott Tolzien entered the game on the third series and immediately had a bad exchange with center Jonathan Goodwin. On third down, Tolzien nearly threw an interception deep in his own territory but the Chiefs defensive back couldn't hold onto the pass. The Chiefs also dropped a would-be interception on a fourth-down Tolzien pass in the second quarter.

Meanwhile, the 49ers strengthened their special teams in the offseason by signing free agents like Dawson and coverage ace Dan Skuta and by drafting players like linebacker Nick Moody.

All three were on the field as Quintin Demps took Dawson's kick four yards deep in the end zone, split Skuta an safety Craig Dahl and then outraced Dawson and cornerback Perish Cox for the touchdown, the only one of the half.

While Colin Kaepernick was in for only one short series, his counterpart, Alex Smith, played the entire first half, mostly against the 49ers reserve defense.

Smith got handshakes from the 49ers before the game and hard hits during it. He was sacked three times and absorbed a helmet-to-helmet hit from defensive end Tony Jerod-Eddie, who was flagged for a 15-yard penalty on the play. Smith is 7-16 for 62 yards and has not completed a pass to a wide receiver. The Chiefs also have dropped three of his passes.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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