SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

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49ers Look to Crash Party for Cinderella Chiefs

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 1: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on October 1, 2006 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs defeated the Niners 41-0. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Alex Smith

    On tab this weekend for the San Francisco 49ers are the surprisingly solid and undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. Two weeks into this 2010 NFL campaign, these Chiefs are vying to be this year's out-of-nowhere Cinderella team, along with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.

    But two weeks in might be way too foolishly early to draw conclusions about teams' seasons. At least that's what you hope if you're a 49ers fan, because the Niners are still winless and tied for last place.

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    This is why you see the rare phenomenon of a still-winless team being favored to knock off an undefeated team in their own house. The 49ers are favored to win by a field goal in Sunday's 10 a.m. PDT contest at Arrowhead Stadium.

    The Prince Charming for the Cinderella Chiefs has been rookie receiver and kick returner Dexter McCluster. McCluster exploded for the longest punt return for a touchdown in Chiefs history in his very first game, so they're pretty pleased with him.

    McCluster has even inadvertently stoked a duel with 49ers all-universe linebacker Patrick Willis. McCluster and Willis were college teammates at Ole Miss. McCluster bragged in April prior to the NFL Draft over his supposed acumen for outplaying Willis in practice.

    "I still talk about it. Not to him. But I talk about it," McCluster recalled in April to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. "We were in the open field. He was pursuing me at an angle, I was running, and I did sort of a drop step and got underneath him and kind of made him look a little silly."

    You talk about it "not to him," Dexter McCluster? You just told a roomful of reporters. Pretty good odds this remark would be brought to Patrick Willis' attention.

    "We'll see this Sunday," Patrick Willis told Comcast SportsNet when this remark was brought his his attention. "It's us against them. It's not me and McCluster. It's about the 49ers and the Chiefs."

    Per the Press Democrat's report, we see that in college Willis gave McCluster the nickname "Baby Hester." That is just adorable.

     
    On a much less adorable note, it's the first test at a loud, hostile road game for Jimmy Raye and his vaunted wristband method of play-calling. The 49ers scrambled frantically to get their plays called during their last road game, a 31-6 embarrassment at Seattle.
     
    The play-calling was improved in week two, but this week the 81,000 drunken Chiefs fans could prove to be a disruptive factor.

    Joe Kukura is a freelance writer who cuts Dexter McCluster a little slack because of his low-budget but commendable "Don't Text and Drive" ads.