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

Matt Maiocco
NBC Sports BayArea

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.

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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.

49ers takeaways: What we learned in 27-17 preseason win vs. Chiefs originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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