The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 19-16 in their first preseason game on Saturday night. In a game in which there was much anticipation to see the Chiefs’ starting offensive line, the defensive line — missing both starting defensive end Frank Clark and Derrick Nnadi — managed to make the night’s greatest impression.
“We had a couple guys out — and then we had a couple guys working in there — so I thought we did a nice job,” said Chiefs head coach Andy Reid. “99 (Khalen Saunders) had some good snaps in there, so he’s had a good camp.”
Saunders played well after Chiefs defensive line coach Brendan Daly recently complimented him on a strong week at training camp. Saunders needed a good summer session to reaffirm his importance to the club, and he now projects to make the 53-man roster.
Meanwhile, wide receiver Daurice Fountain, who led the Chiefs Saturday night with four catches for 38 yards, is making the case.
“We wanted to get a look at him today, and we had him targeted a few times, and I thought he did a nice job,” said Reid. “He high-pointed the ball well. He’s been doing that in camp. He’s done a nice job there, so it was good to get him involved.”
“I just really went into the game today saying I got to take advantage of my reps,” said Fountain. “Coach Reid and (wide receivers coach) Joe (Bleymaier) and everybody else — they’ve been doing a good job of helping me prepare, just get ready for these preseason games, just to get an opportunity to go out and showcase my skill.”
The 25-year-old Fountain entered the league as a fifth-round pick made by the Indianapolis Colts in 2018, but he knows Kansas City is an entirely different animal. Referring to the wide receiver room as “stacked” after the game, Fountain said he knows that if he is going to stick, he needs to bring something different to the table.
“I just try to bring a physical presence,” noted Fountain. “A lot of them guys — it’s a track team in that room. So I just try to bring that physical presence, man, and just try to play my game… wherever it may be. Anything they want me to do, I just want to bring that to the receiving corps.”
The Chiefs are likely to keep two quarterbacks — Patrick Mahomes and Chad Henne — on their active roster, but there should be room for a practice squad quarterback in either Shane Buechele or Anthony Gordon. The 49ers game marked a point for Buechele, who orchestrated a two-minute drill that led to the preseason win.
What did Reid say to him ahead of the nine-play, 68-yard touchdown drive?
“Just go play,” said Reid. “You know? Go play. We kind of had him coached up. EB (Eric Bieniemy) did a nice job with getting him kind of coached up on plays in advanced that we were going to use, so it worked out good.”
Buechele ran in the game-winning score.
“I wanted (Derrick) Gore to punch it in,” said Buechele of the read-option to seal the game. “But just with the read that happened — the (defensive) end bit and there was a scraper, and I was able to get inside of him, so it’s just the way it happened.
“It was pretty cool — coming back to the sideline and them being happy for me and just being happy for us as a team. Just being able to get a win, our first win of the season. It’s preseason, but we want to win every game. It’s just exciting to come in at an away game, it’s hard to win in general — but win an away game, so I was happy to get a win.”
Mahomes played four snaps, but the starting offensive line, featuring five new faces, got about a full quarter.
“I left them in there so they could get a little bit more work, and I wanted to get Chad (Henne) some work with them,” added Reid. “It worked out good. I thought they did a nice job. I mean there were some little things there that we got to clean up, but I thought they did a good job.”
Reid noted that it did not seem like any injuries stemming from the game were serious.
- Linebacker Riley Cole (right ankle)
- Linebacker Darius Harris (dislocated finger)
- Wide receiver Marcus Kemp (shoulder)
- Running back Elijah McGuire (left ankle)