The 49ers came out of their first preseason game with a win but they also came out a little worse for wear after losing several players to injuries. With several position battles going on, there were great plays and some not so great. Here are your winners and losers for the matchup facing the Cowboys.
There were five significant injuries to players only a few minutes into the second quarter which is exactly what you don’t want to see in a preseason game. George Kittle (shoulder), Matt Breida (shoulder), Malcolm Smith (hamstring), Solomon Thomas (head), and Garry Gilliam (head). Kyle Shanahan reported that both Kittle and Breida look like they will miss some time. Unfortunately, preseason games must be played to get teams ready for the regular season but it’s a shame that they can be the impetus of losing players to injury.
The run game
“There wasn’t much room” is what Shanahan said when he described the run game. The offense couldn’t get much flowing and at the half they had only mustered 28 total rushing yards. The offense ended the night with 98 yards rushing, most of which came in the fourth quarter. This will definitely be on the list of things the offense will have to improve going through the preseason.
One mistake should not determine a player’s future but when the competition is so tight, any small mistake can be a game changer. Raheem Mostert led the team in rushing for the evening with seven carries for 57 yards, but was also the only back to put the ball on the ground resulting in a turnover. It could be argued that his knee was down, but Shananhan mentioned it in his post game presser which is not a good sign for the running back who is an excellent special teams contributor.
The seventh round pick out of Temple showed some of his potential in his first NFL match up. He recorded one of the two sacks that the defense registered, one tackle for a loss and two quarterbacks hits. He used his leverage and strength to get pressure on the quarterbacks constantly and got a ton of reps in, playing much of the game.
While his stats don’t really show it, with only one quarterback hit recorded, Watson, like Taylor was constantly disrupting the Dallas offensive line. He also played quite a few snaps and got pressure on the quarterback on what seemed like a regular basis.
Richie James Jr.
Taylor’s fellow seventh round pick had an equally impressive day. He played quite a few snaps and came away as the most productive receiver catching four of the five passes headed his way for 46 yards, giving him an average of 11.5 yards per catch. He also caught the game winning touchdown.
It was a beautifully executed two minute drill by the third string quarterback. Six plays and 77 yards in 1:42 with Mullens at the helm. He completed passes to five different receivers in the drive; Jeremy McNichols, Steven Dunbar, Ross Dwelley, Kendrick Bourne (twice) and Richie James Jr. for the touchdown. He ended the night 11/13 for 141 yards and a 105.4 rating.