The San Francisco 49ers head back to Santa Clara with a 1-0 record following a 28-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys. The 49ers jumped out to an early 28-3 lead thanks to big plays on offense and defense, and Tony Romo's own miscues, and cruised to victory in the second half.
It is interesting how divided some opinions are on this game. From what I've seen and heard, most people seem happy with the victory. There is a contingent that is less pleased because of how the second half went. The 49ers gave up a pair of touchdowns in the second half, and were unable to get any points of their own. That combined with benefiting from Tony Romo's mistakes has some people more concerned about the bigger picture.
The 49ers let off the gas to some extent in the second half, but I don't think anybody should be surprised by that. Once the 49ers went up 28-3, I figured we would see the team slow things down and just look to grind out the second half. The Cowboys got their yards and points, but this was due in part to the 49ers more conservative nature. And considering the limited options available to the secondary in the second half, this is even less surprising.
What did I learn from the game?
Dontae Johnson is pretty solid
It was only one game, but following an impressive preseason, Johnson stepped up in a big way for the 49ers. He got burned on a touchdown late in the game, but otherwise he looked like a player who was not overwhelmed by the big stage. And considering the injuries to the secondary, we are probably not done with Johnson. Chris Cook could be active next week, but Johnson has earned the spot ahead of him for now.
The 49ers value themselves some special teams
The 49ers deactivated Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial, leaving them with Tony Jerod-Eddie and Demarcus Dobbs as their reserves on the defensive line. Naturally, this got people fired up, but upon further review, the decision is not entirely shocking. TJE and Dobbs do quite a bit of special teams work, which gives them a bit more flexibility on the roster. Additionally, Vic Fangio has repeatedly said Tank had to work on being more assignment sound. It can be frustrating, but Fangio wants his guys 100 percent ready for what they will see. It would seem like he thinks Tank and Dial are not quite there yet. We'll find out more when Fangio speaks to the media later this week.
We can't really tell a whole lot about the run defense
DeMarco Murray had a field day, rushing for 118 yards on 22 carries, and getting into the end zone. At times the run D struggled to shut down Murray, but as the 49ers quickly built their lead, it is safe to say they were looking to play the pass more. If the 49ers can keep building big leads, I am perfectly fine with this, but I have a hunch this run defense will be tested a bit more thoroughly in the coming weeks.
The passing offense looked good
The Dallas Cowboys do not boast a defense against which we can make extensive conclusions, but the 49ers passing offense did look significantly better on Sunday than it did during the preseason. This is not a surprise, but it is something to build on moving forward. Vernon Davis found himself wide open a couple times, and Anquan Boldin was dominant on third down. Nice little start.
Carlos Hyde....oh, Carlos Hyde
I don't think it was shocking to see Hyde perform the way he did, but it was still a revelation. He is not a speedy runner, but he is a decisive runner who can physically impose his will. He rushed 7 times for 50 yards, and I imagine moving forward we see him getting 8-10 carries a game. Frank Gore had a solid day, and will continue to be the starter, but Hyde looked gooooood.