The Kansas City Chiefs kicked off the preseason with a victory on Saturday night as quarterback Shane Buechele led a go-ahead, touchdown-scoring drive in the final minutes of regulation to defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 19-16, at Levi's Stadium.
Trailing by three points with two minutes and 37 seconds remaining in the game, Buechele – who signed with the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent this offseason – led Kansas City on a nine-play, 68-yard drive that culminated in a 1-yard touchdown scramble by the former SMU star quarterback to put Kansas City on top.
"We do those kinds of things in practice – the two-minute situations," Buechele said after the game. "I felt prepared, I was ready, and my teammates did a great job of helping me drive down the field and get a touchdown."
Chiefs' defensive end Tim Ward then sacked 49ers' quarterback Josh Rosen on San Francisco's ensuing drive, thwarting any chance of a last-second comeback and preserving Kansas City's victory.
"There are plenty of things that we're going to have a chance to work on," said Head Coach Andy Reid following the game. "I thought the defense did some good things, the offensive got a touchdown early, and the way that we finished was good all around."
Buechele completed 8-of-11 passes for 76 yards on the night after coming in after fellow signal callers Patrick Mahomes, Chad Henne and Anthony Gordon. Mahomes – who led the Chiefs' first drive – completed one pass for four yards in his lone series of work. Henne, meanwhile, was responsible for Kansas City's first score when he found wide receiver Byron Pringle for a 5-yard touchdown late in the first quarter.
Pringle finished the game with two receptions for 10 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Daurice Fountain led all pass-catchers with four receptions for 38 yards while tight end Jody Fortson checked in just behind him with three grabs for 32 yards.
"I just went into the game today knowing that I had to take advantage of my reps," Fountain said. "[The coaching staff] has done a really good job of helping me prepare for these preseason games to showcase my skills."
Game photos of the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers.
Defensively, Ward was one of the stars of the evening with five tackles and two sacks. The second-year edge rusher was responsible for two of the Chiefs' five sacks on the night, as defensive lineman Chris Jones (1.0), defensive tackle Tershawn Wharton (1.0) and linebacker Omari Cobb (1.0) also managed to bring down the opposing quarterback.
Additionally, safety Armani Watts tallied an interception late in the third quarter when he picked off Rosen over the middle to prevent what appeared to be a potential scoring opportunity inside the Chiefs' 20-yard line. It was one of two takeaways for the defense, as linebacker Dorian O'Daniel also forced a fumble midway through the fourth quarter that was recovered by cornerback Dicaprio Bootle.
In terms of injuries, linebacker Darius Harris (finger), linebacker Riley Cole (ankle) and tailback Elijah McGuire (ankle) each left Saturday's game early and did not return. Wide receiver Marcus Kemp also exited with a shoulder injury, but Reid mentioned that he didn't think that the injury was significant following the game.
The Chiefs return to action on Friday night as they travel to Arizona to take on the Cardinals.