What you need to know: Coach Jim Harbaugh's chief concern Friday night was protecting starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick from something "freakish."
Kaepernick started and barely broke a sweat. Then, he stood on the sideline and watched Colt McCoy and Scott Tolzien split the next eight offensive series without much success.
Rookie quarterback B.J. Daniels took over late in the third quarter and engineered the 49ers' first touchdown of the exhibition season to provide the winning points in the 49ers' 15-13 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
"He had a great drive," Kaepernick said of Daniels, who did not play in the exhibition opener a week ago. "He had a lot of poise. And made plays when it really counted."
When asked if Daniels has inserted himself into the picture for consideration as the 49ers' backup quarterback, Harbaugh answered, "Yeah, he's been there this past week."
Daniels completed six of nine pass attempts for 72 yards including a perfectly thrown 14-yard fade route to undrafted rookie wide receiver Chuck Jacobs with 2:02 remaining in the game.
[RECAP: 49ers 15, Chiefs 13]
Does Daniels see himself competing for the backup job?
"I don't know," he said. "I was fortunate to hit the guys that were open and make the most of my opportunities. Right now, that is what I am going to continue to do. Any way I can help this team is what I am going to try to do."
Through the first three weeks of training camp, Daniels has lined up at running back, wide receiver, as well as practiced punt and kickoff returns, as well as taking snaps at quarterback. Daniels said that experienced has assisted him in picking up the 49ers' offense.
"It was a difficult transition, at first, trying to take everything in," Daniels said. "Fortunately, playing other positions, you get an opportunity to see things from a different perspective. All my life I've only seen it as a quarterback. So just learning different techniques at other positions has actually helped."
Short night of work: So why did Kaepernick play only four snaps?
"I think we're good with Colin," Harbaugh said. "We know what we've got. In the second week of the preseason, we didn't want anything freakish to happen."
[RELATED: Kaepernick's night]
Kaepernick understood the rationale, but that didn't make it any easier.
"It's very tough," he said. "I don't like being on the sidelines, but whatever the coaches ask of me, I'm doing to do it. . . I take it as a compliment, but being a competitor, I want to be on the field."
Lasting impact: Although rookie safety Eric Reid did not start -- that assignment went to Craig Dahl for the second consecutive week -- he appears to be on pace to win the job by the beginning of the regular season.
Reid did not make any tackles, but he had one pass broken up. The 49ers traded up 13 spots to select Reid in the first round, as the 49ers look to replace All-Pro Dashon Goldson, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent.
Play of the Game: Down 13-9 late in the game, Daniels engineered a 13-play, 85-yard drive that produced the go-ahead points.
Jacobs was matched against Thorpe in single coverage wide to the left. Daniels caught the snap in the shot-gun formation, took a one-stop drop and lofted the fade into the back of the end zone. "We talked about it all week," Daniels said. "Kansas City plays a lot of press man coverage. Chuck did a great job of getting open and making a great catch."
Wideout watch: Receiver A.J. Jenkins played most of the first half and was shut out while working against Chiefs veteran cornerback Sean Smith. The 49ers wanted to sign Smith in the offseason but bowed out of the competition when Kansas City offered a three-year, $16.5 million contract to lure the free agent from the Miami Dolphins. Smith intercepted a McCoy pass in the second quarter that was intended for Jenkins.
"Sean Smith is a heck of player," Harbaugh said. "But I thought on that particular route that A.J. had a step on him. The throw should have been out in front of him, not over the back shoulder. I thought he did OK. It was a step."
Replays showed Smith had tight coverage against Jenkins throughout the route.
Jenkins had one reception against the coverage of second-year cornerback Neiko Thorpe for 21 yards. But the play was nullified by Daniel Kilgore's holding penalty.
Chad Hall was the only 49ers wide receiver who had any official catches in the first three quarters while McCoy and Tolzien were on the field. He caught two passes for 39 yards. Hall and Jenkins played 38 snaps apiece -- high among the 49ers' wide receivers.
Jacobs and Lavelle Hawkins caught two passes apiece from Daniels for 28 and 20 yards, respectively.
Injury Concerns: The 49ers appeared to avoid any injuries in Friday's game. And the 49ers have several other players on the verge of returning from injuries. Rookie receiver Quinton Patton took part in warmups and was cleared to catch passes with both hands. He has been limited in practices due to an injury to the index finger on his left hand. Patton, wide receiver Kyle Williams and running back Kendall Hunter made the trip to Kansas City but did not suit up for the game. Tight end Vance McDonald (hamstring) and safety Bubba Ventrone (hamstring), along with linebacker Patrick Willis (right hand fracture) and cornerback Chris Culliver (torn ACL), did not travel to Kansas City.
Unsung Heroes: Inside linebackers Nick Moody and Nate Stupar helped key a defensive performance that did not allow the Chiefs to get into the end zone. Moody led the 49ers with 10 tackles, while Stupar recorded nine tackles and a quarterback sack.
The 49ers have not allowed a touchdown on defense in the first two exhibition games. The only touchdowns against the 49ers have come on a fumble return and a kickoff return.
"I think it bodes well," Harbaugh said. "Our twos were in there against another offense that had their ones in there, like last week in some regard."
Cornerback Perrish Cox also had another good showing with two sacks and a pass defensed.
Head-Scratcher: The 49ers made a concerted effort in the offseason to improve their coverage units. But the 49ers had a rough time on Friday. Quinton Demps returned a kickoff 104 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. Later, the 49ers Devon Wylie returned a punt 52 yards. The 49ers were also called for 10 penalties, totaling 87 yards.
"The this point, the thing is the penalties," Harbaugh said. "Special teams and offense were leading the way.
"The No. 1 thing you want to do in these games is win. The other thing you want to do is get better, something we made an emphasis all week, and didn't improve in that area. That's a concern we have to work on."
Hit to Remember: Jerod-Eddie could be facing a fine due to his helmet-to-helmet hit on Alex Smith. Jerod-Eddie struck Smith's helmet and he went in while Haralson was hauling down Smith from behind. Said Harbaugh, "You can't do that when you have a quarterback pinned like that. You just can't take that chance. I knew Tony was trying to hustle to make the effort to get to the quarterback. It was a young mistake. Our coaches will coach that."
In the long run: Running back Frank Gore, who was held out of the 49ers' first exhibition game, made the most of his two snaps on Friday. Gore took his first handoff from Kaepernick to the right side, and when the Chiefs defense over-pursued, he cut it back. Gore ended up zig-zagging his way 52 yards to help set up Phil Dawson's 42-yard field goal. (Dawson connected on twin 52-yarders later in the game.)
Kaepernick found his way 25 yards down the field, and briefly ran interference against cornerback Sean Smith before having second thoughts.
"I tried to chip someone, but I had to have second thoughts before I went in head first," Kaepernick said.
[RELATED: Smith takes lumps against 49ers defense]
Quote to note: "We're going to be all right. We haven't been out there as much as we want to, but when we're out there, we make things happen."