49ers takeaways: What we learned in 27-17 preseason win vs. Chiefs

49ers takeaways: What we learned in 27-17 preseason win vs. Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Reverberations were felt throughout the world of the NFL with Andrew Luck's announcement Saturday night of his retirement.

What does that have to do with the 49ers? Probably nothing. But no team in the league is as thin at quarterback as the Indianapolis Colts. And the 49ers have three NFL-worthy quarterbacks.

And the 49ers have to be feeling a lot better about their starter, as Jimmy Garoppolo looked sharp in the 49ers’ 27-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night at Arrowhead Stadium.

Garoppolo played all 37 snaps of the first half, and completed 14 of 20 passes for 188 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. His passer rating was 116.2.

And, then, the competition continued for the backup job.

1. Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard?

Nick Mullens entered the game at the beginning of the third quarter after Garoppolo stepped aside in what is expected to be his final preseason game of the summer.

Mullens missed his first two passes badly. Jordan Matthews was running wide open, 40 yards down the field, but Mullens led him too much. Instead of a 75-yard touchdown, it was an incomplete pass. Then, Mullens threw high to Deebo Samuel over the middle. But Mullens came back to keep the drive going with passes to Matthews of 11 and 22 yards.

Mullens finished 8-for-11 passing with 84 yards through the air.

C.J. Beathard is expected to see considerable action in the 49ers’ preseason finale on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium. Coach Kyle Shanahan said he does not plan to name his backup quarterback until the cuts are made to 53 players for the start of the regular season.

The 49ers would likely be willing to trade Mullens or Beathard to a quarterback-needy team, such as the Colts.

Jimmie Ward back in the mix

Jimmie Ward was cleared for full practice this week, and he made his preseason debut against the Chiefs after sustaining a fractured collarbone on May 23. Ward was back in the starting lineup at free safety, and also handled duties at nickel back.

Tarvarius Moore moved into the starting role ahead of Adrian Colbert in recent weeks. Colbert did not suit up for the game due to a hamstring injury sustained on kickoff coverage Monday night at Denver.

Ward appeared to have a solid game on Saturday. He had three tackles, and also drew an offensive pass interference penalty due to his tight coverage against Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman.

Ward and Moore are battling for the starting the job, and Ward also appears to be in line to open the season at nickel back if K’Waun Williams (knee) is not available for Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

D-line depth on display

The 49ers have some flexibility on the defensive line, and that has definitely been on display with Dee Ford and Nick Bosa held out of the preseason due to knee and ankle injuries, respectively.

Damontre Moore, a sixth-year player from Texas A&M, is coming off a strong season in spring for the now-defunct Alliance of American Football. He has performed well in 49ers’ camp, including Saturday’s performance while playing with a cast on his hand.

[RELATED: How 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo looked on each preseason drive vs. Chiefs]

Moore registered four tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss and three hits on the quarterback.

But Moore might face an uphill climb for a roster spot with the 49ers’ loaded defensive line that includes Ford, Bosa, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Solomon Thomas, Ronald Blair, D.J. Jones, Sheldon Day, Jullian Taylor and Kentavius Street.

California Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

California Governor Gavin Newsom 'doesn't anticipate' normal NFL games in fall

President Donald Trump reportedly told sports commissioners and top executives Saturday that he believes the NFL should start on time with fans returning to stadiums by August despite the coronavirus outbreak.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn't share the same thoughts.

The governor was asked about Trump's reported prediction, and said he doesn't envision California having made enough progress against the virus for it to be business as usual for the NFL come fall.

“I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” Newsom said Saturday. “We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia, where they opening up certain businesses, and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting seeing some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise.

"It's interesting, I have a lot of friends that work in Major League Baseball and the NFL, they've been asking me -- in fact, a well-known athlete -- a football player -- just asked me if he expects to come back. I said, 'I would move very cautiously in that expectation.' "

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Newsom is making sure to prioritize safety and caution above all else before letting sports return.

“Our decision on that basis here in the State of California will be determined by the facts, will be determined by the health experts, will be determined by our ability to meet this moment and bend the curve, and have the appropriate community surveillance and testing to confidently determine whether that's appropriate," Newsom said. "Right now, I’m just focusing on the immediate, but that’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”

[RELATED: 49ers reportedly eye WR/CB at No. 13, plan to trade No. 31]

The truth of the matter is that no one knows how long this will last or when sports will be able to return to packed stadiums. The NFL is planning on starting the schedule on time with fans in the stadium, but that might not be the case in California. With many epidemiologists expecting the virus to surge again the fall, the fate of the NFL's season is very much up in the air.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases as well as a lead member of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, told Warriors star Steph Curry that sports can only safely return once the country as a whole has turned the corner from the outbreak and the medical system no longer is under strain.

As of Saturday, there were more than 270,000 cases of coronavirus in the United States and more than 7,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and NBC News reporting.

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

Watch DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, Clelin Ferrell in joint workout

While the NFL offseason programs are postponed, many players are still working out to be ready for the time when the teams are able to get back to work in an organized setting.

In Miami, DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Clelin Ferrell are working out with private defensive line coach Mark Hall.

Hall, who recently was a guest on the 49ers Insider Podcast, sent a video to NBC Sports Bay Area of the three players working out.

[RELATED49ers mailbag: Could Gore or Walker return in free agency?]

The 49ers recently traded Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, and re-signed Armstead to a four-year, $84 million contract. Ferrell will enter his second season with the Las Vegas Raiders after being the club’s first-round selection at No. 4 overall in the 2019 draft.