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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers defense torched by Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes in 44-23 loss

Oct 23, 2022 at 4:37 PM

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1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
KC 7 7 14 16 44
SF 10 3 3 7 23

Just two weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers defense was regarded as the best unit in the NFL after a strong start to the 2022 season. But that certainly isn't the case anymore after getting humiliated by quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

The 49ers looked mortal on defense in a 28-14 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week but were without several of their top players in that game due to injury. Many of those players were back in the lineup on Sunday but it didn't make a difference, as Mahomes threw for 423 yards on 25-of-34 passing with three touchdowns and one interception while leading the Chiefs to a 44-23 victory. The Chiefs converted 6-of-9 third downs and averaged 9.1 yards per play on Sunday.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo finished with 303 yards on 25-of-37 passing with two touchdowns and one interception but was sacked five times, with one them resulting in a lost fumble and another resulting in a safety. Running back Christian McCaffrey, who was acquired in a trade with the Carolina Panthers on Thursday, finished with eight carries for 38 yards and two catches for 24 yards in his 49ers debut.

First Half

The 49ers opened the game with possession and put together a solid opening drive on the strength of the running game led by Jeff Wilson and Christian McCaffrey, each of whom had two carries for 19 yards on the drive. The drive stalled inside the Chiefs' 20-yard line, forcing the 49ers to settle for a 30-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead. The offense got the ball right back on the next possession when safety Tashaun Gipson tipped a third down pass from Mahomes into the arms of safety Talanoa Hufanga, who made a diving interception to give the 49ers the ball at the Chiefs' 34-yard line.

It didn't take long for the 49ers to capitalize on the interception, scoring a touchdown on the fourth play of their second possession to take a 10-0 lead. A leaping 22-yard catch by wide receiver Deebo Samuel on the second play of the drive gave the 49ers a 1st-and-Goal at the Chiefs' 9-yard line, then Garoppolo found wide receiver Ray-Ray McCloud in the end zone two plays later for an 8-yard touchdown pass.

The Chiefs answered with their first scoring possession of the game, a 9-play, 73-yard drive that finished with an 8-yard touchdown catch by wide receiver Mecole Hardman. Tight end Travis Kelce caught two passes for 36 yards on the drive, while Hardman hauled in an 18-yard catch before finding the end zone with just over two minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The 49ers added a 50-yard field goal from Gould on the next drive to open up a 13-7 lead, then the Chiefs went up 14-13 after a 10-play, 90-yard drive that ended with Hardman's second touchdown of the day. The Chiefs advanced to the 49ers' 25-yard line on a balanced offensive attack, then Hardman took a handoff and sped around the right end before weaving through defenders to make his way to the end zone.

The Chiefs carried a lead into halftime, but not before a bizarre series of events ended a golden opportunity by the 49ers to put points on the board before the break. A 34-yard completion to tight end George Kittle and a 17-yard catch by wide receiver gave the 49ers possession inside the Chiefs' 30 but their drive stalled, causing them to attempt what would have been a 51-yard field goal by Gould. But a shift by the Chiefs' defensive line on the field goal attempt caused 49ers offensive lineman Jaylon Moore to commit a false start, pushing the 49ers out of field goal range and leading to a punt.

The punt was then muffed by return man Skyy Moore and was recovered at the Chiefs' 12-yard line by 49ers defensive back Samuel Womack. The 49ers were in a great position to score, but Garoppolo was picked off on a 3rd down pass by rookie cornerback Joshua Williams, giving the Chiefs possession at their own 6-yard line.

The 49ers got a break before the half courtesy of a couple of late mistakes from the Chiefs. Mahomes led the Chiefs downfield into scoring range and appeared to have completed a touchdown pass to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster with seconds remaining in the half, but running back Jerick McKinnon was called for a low block penalty that pushed the Chiefs back and forced them to settle for a field goal. The 39-yard attempt from kicker Harrison Butker sailed wide right, leaving the halftime score at 14-13.

The teams put up a combined 466 yards of offense in the first half, with the Chiefs holding an edge of 249-217. Mahomes had 197 yards on 15-of-21 passing in the first half, while Garoppolo finished with 158 yards on 12-of-19 passing.

Second Half

It didn't take long for the Chiefs to make up for their missed opportunity at the end of the first half, thanks in large part to a big play on special teams to open the third quarter. The Chiefs got a 48-yard kickoff return from Isaiah Pacheco to start the half, then got 15 more yards tacked on due to an unnecessary roughness penalty on the 49ers. After starting on the 49ers' 33-yard line, the Chiefs needed just three plays to take a 21-13 lead after running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire strolled in from 16 yards out for a score.

The 49ers answered with a 49-yard field goal from Gould on the next possession to cut the lead to 21-16, then the Chiefs put together their fourth touchdown drive of the day, this one featuring a back-breaking play that will be looked at as one of the turning points of the game. The Chiefs moved inside the 49ers' 30-yard line before a holding penalty put them in a 1st-and-20, then two incomplete passes set up a 3rd-and-20 from the 49ers' 38-yard line. Then McKinnon took a short pass from Mahomes and turned it into a 34-yard gain, giving the Chiefs a 1st-and-Goal at the 4. Mahomes connected with receiver Justin Watson on the next play for a touchdown and a 28-16 lead.

The 49ers needed a big response and were able to get one, cutting the deficit to 28-23 after an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. The 49ers overcame two offensive holding penalties on the drive, then on a 3rd-and-10 from the Chiefs' 15-yard line, Garoppolo found Kittle in the end zone for a leaping touchdown grab.

Momentum looked at first like it would continue to move in the 49ers favor after a sack by defensive end Nick Bosa on the first play of the next possession, but the defense gave up another huge play when Mahomes lofted a bomb to receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling on a 3rd-and-11 for a 57-yard gain. The Chiefs scored three plays later on another run by Hardman to take a 35-23 lead.

The rain kept pouring for the 49ers on the next possession. A holding call on running back Tyrion Davis-Price on the kickoff buried the 49ers at their own 5-yard line, then defensive end Frank Clark brought down Garoppolo in the end zone on third down to give the Chiefs a 37-23 lead.

The Chiefs added one more dagger after the safety to put the 49ers away for good. After facing a 2nd-and-20 on his own 41-yard line due to a holding penalty, Mahomes connected with Smith-Schuster for a 14-yard gain, then found him wide open on 3rd down, which Smith-Schuster turned into a 45-yard touchdown and a 44-23 lead.

A strip sack on Garoppolo by defensive lineman Chris Jones that was recovered by defensive lineman Malik Herring ended the 49ers' next possession at midfield. The Chiefs inserted backup quarterback Chad Henne into the game and were held to a three-and-out, then the 49ers took over with 3:38 remaining in the game. The 49ers followed the Chiefs' lead and put backup quarterback Brock Purdy into the game, and while Purdy completed the first passes of his NFL career (4-of-9, 66 yards), his drive ended with an interception in the end zone before the Chiefs ran out the clock to finish the game.

Game Notes: The Chiefs and 49ers entered the day with seven wins each in their all-time series... Their last meeting was the Chiefs' 31-20 win in Super Bowl LIV. The Chiefs also won in 2018 (38-27) in a game that saw Garoppolo suffer a season-ending ACL injury... McCaffrey made his 49ers debut on the third play of the game. His first carry came on the following play for a 10-yard gain... According to NFL Research, Hardman on Sunday became the first wide receiver in the Super Bowl era to run for two touchdowns and catch a touchdown in the same game... McCloud's touchdown catch in the first quarter was the first of his NFL career. McCloud is in his fifth NFL season... Next up for the 49ers is a crucial Sunday afternoon (4:25 p.m. ET/1:25 p.m. PT, FOX) road game in Los Angeles against the Rams (3-3), who were on a bye this week. The Chiefs will be on Sunday Night Football next week at home against the Tennessee Titans (8:20 p.m. ET, NBC).

KC Team Stats SF
417 Passing Yards 343
112 Rushing Yards 101
529 Total Yards 444
11.75 Avg Yards per Pass 8.02
5.33 Avg Yards per Run 4.81
1 Fumbles Lost 1
1 Int Thrown 2
1 Sacks Allowed 5
00:26:15 Time of Pos 00:33:45
8 Penalties 10

Chiefs Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Patrick Mahomes 25/34 423 3 1
Chad Henne 0/2 0 0 0
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 6 32 5.3 1
Mecole Hardman 2 28 14 2
Jerick McKinnon 2 12 6 0
Chad Henne 3 -3 -1 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
JuJu Smith-Schuster 7 8 124 1
Marquez Valdes-Scantling 3 4 111 0
Travis Kelce 6 8 98 0
Jerick McKinnon 2 3 36 0
Mecole Hardman 4 4 32 1
Noah Gray 1 1 10 0
Jody Fortson 1 2 8 0
Justin Watson 1 2 4 1
Clyde Edwards-Helaire 0 1 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Patrick Mahomes 1 0
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Harrison Butker 0 1 0 6
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Tommy Townsend 1 33 1 33
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
Mecole Hardman 4 4 0 4
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Juan Thornhill 9-2 0 1 0
Nick Bolton 7-2 0 0 0
Justin Reid 5-2 0 0 0
Willie Gay Jr. 4-4 0.5 0 0
L'Jarius Sneed 4-2 0.5 0 0
Khalen Saunders 2-1 0.5 0 0
Chris Jones 2-1 2 0 1
Carlos Dunlap 1-1 0 0 0
Chris Lammons 1-1 0 0 0
Derrick Nnadi 1-1 0 0 0
Frank Clark 1-1 1.5 0 0
Michael Burton 1-0 0 0 0
Deon Bush 1-0 0 0 0
Marcus Kemp 1-0 0 0 0

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
Jimmy Garoppolo 25/37 303 2 1
Rushing Att Yds Avg TDs
Jeff Wilson 7 54 7.7 0
Christian McCaffrey 8 38 4.8 0
Deebo Samuel 1 2 2 0
Jimmy Garoppolo 2 2 1 0
Receiving Rec Tgt Yds TDs
George Kittle 6 9 98 1
Brandon Aiyuk 7 11 82 0
Ray-Ray McCloud 4 4 65 1
Deebo Samuel 5 7 42 0
Kyle Juszczyk 3 4 34 0
Christian McCaffrey 2 2 24 0
Jauan Jennings 2 4 24 0
Jeff Wilson 0 1 0 0
Fumbles Fum Lost
Jimmy Garoppolo 1 1
Kicking FG Att Lg XP
Robbie Gould 3 3 50 2
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
Mitch Wishnowsky 1 29 1 29
Kickoff Returns Yds Avg TDs Lg
Ray-Ray McCloud 64 16 0 22
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
Charvarius Ward 8-2 0 0 0
Tashaun Gipson 5-0 0 0 0
Fred Warner 4-2 0 0 0
Nick Bosa 4-0 1 0 0
Talanoa Hufanga 2-2 0 1 0
Deommodore Lenoir 2-1 0 0 0
Jimmie Ward 2-0 0 0 0
Tarvarius Moore 2-0 0 0 0
Oren Burks 2-0 0 0 0
Samson Ebukam 1-2 0 0 0
Dre Greenlaw 1-2 0 0 0
Akeem Spence 1-0 0 0 0
George Odum 1-0 0 0 0
Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 1-0 0 0 0
Kevin Givens 1-0 0 0 0
Ambry Thomas 1-0 0 0 0

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