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Rookies shine as the 49ers beat the Cowboys 17-9 in the teams’ preseason opener

Injuries, penalties, drops. WIN. Preseason football, baby!

Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

What a night for the San Francisco 49ers. A first-half that was plagued by drops, penalties, and injuries. The first three offensive possessions went: punt-punt-interception, while the Dallas Cowboys drove the field for two field goals on their first two possessions. Nick Mullens threw an early interception, but I thought he played well overall. Mullens played the first half and delivered some impressive throws. A few drops hurt his stats, but he finished 11-17 for 105 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Mullens also didn’t get sacked, which was impressive considering the offensive line.

The first half brought us a few highlights from the 49ers 2019 rookie draft class. Jalen Hurd scored on a crossing route that saw him run over a defender and break another tackle to find the end zone:

Deebo Samuel’s first touch was a reverse that saw him outrun a couple of unblocked defenders to pick up a first down after a gain of 14.

Mitch Wishnowsky was booming punts all night. I know after four punts he was averaging 49 yards per punt. Pretty impressive hang time as well.

Dre Greenlaw had five tackles in the first half. He showed off his athleticism and awareness during two plays in particular. Here is one:

The score remained 9-7 into the third quarter. The Niners offense was driving the field until C.J. Beathard threw an interception on a pass intended for Jalen Hurd. On the ensuing play, Antone Exum sacked the Cowboys’ QB to force a fumble that the 49ers recovered, but, penalties. DJ Reed was called for a penalty that wiped away a turnover. That seemed to be the theme of the night.

The 49ers found the end zone after Deebo put the team in scoring position when he beat a Cowboys defender on a double move. Just a couple of plays later, Hurd found the end zone again on a fade. Red zone target?

That put the Niners up 14-9.

After Damontre Moore, who had a great game, and LaRoy Reynolds got pressure on Cowboys QB Mike White, he fumbled and the 49ers recovered. They couldn’t punch it in, but Robbie good as Gould nailed a 53-yard field goal. It turns out; he’s pretty good. That put the 49ers up 17-9 with just under five minutes to go.

The Cowboys had a chance to tie the game during their final possession. A questionable pass interference put Dallas in position to score at the four-yard line. Superb coverage in the secondary prevented a touchdown. Ballgame.

Player of the game

Hurd, Jalen.

Three catches and two touchdowns. The two touchdowns both came in the red zone. In a game that didn’t start too hot for the 49ers, it’s refreshing that they were able to convert in the red area.

Damontre Moore had a heck of a game. He is the runner-up.