The San Francisco 49ers won their preseason opener against the Dallas Cowboys, 24-21, in dramatic fashion on Thursday night at Levi's® Stadium. Nick Mullens led an impressive fourth quarter comeback and threw a game-winning touchdown to Richie James. Unfortunately, there were a number of injuries suffered by the team. Let's start there.
1. The 49ers lost George Kittle (shoulder), Solomon Thomas (head), Matt Breida (shoulder), Malcolm Smith (hamstring) and Garry Gilliam (head) to injury. Their well being is far more important than the outcome of Thursday night's game. The only updates Kyle Shanahan had postgame was that Kittle and Breida are expected to "miss some time."
2. Back to Mullens, who completed 11-of-13 passes for 141 yards, one touchdown and one pick. He led two touchdown drives during the 49ers comeback. The second ended with his 7-yard touchdown pass to James. Mullens followed with a two-point conversion to tight end Wes Saxton.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo completed 3-of-6 pass attempts for 34 yards. The lone drive for the first-team offense ended in a punt, but Garoppolo did have two third-down completions to move the chains. His longest completion was an 18-yarder to Marquise Goodwin.
Jerick McKinnon's first preseason action in a 49ers uniform was fairly inconsequential. McKinnon ran the ball three times for -4 yards, and he caught one pass for seven yards. Garoppolo and the offensive starters will look to improve next week during the two joint practices against the Houston Texans.
4. Things didn't go any better for the first-team defense. Dallas scored an opening drive touchdown on a 30-yard pass from Dak Prescott to Michael Gallup. The only positive during the series for the 49ers was a split sack between DeForest Buckner and Thomas. A few starters (Ahkello Witherspoon, Jimmie Ward, Reuben Foster and Thomas) remained in the game for a second drive in which San Francisco was able to get a stop.
Cowboys running back Rod Smith, who started in place of Ezekiel Elliott, gashed the 49ers for 32 yards on eight carries. Prescott also hurt the 49ers with his legs, converting a third-and-long into a fresh set of downs after a 12-yard scramble.
5. Jullian Taylor was a bright spot for the 49ers on Thursday. The rookie defensive lineman started at the big end spot and played the entire game. Taylor recorded a few quarterback pressures and was consistently disruptive. His hard work was finally rewarded with a sack late in the fourth quarter. He may open the season as a Week 1 starter depending on the health of Arik Armstead.
6. The 49ers backup running backs all contributed in various ways. Joe Williams scored a 1-yard touchdown. So, too, did Jeremy McNichols. Raheem Mostert led all 49ers ball carriers with 57 yards on eight carries, although he did lose a fumble.
7. Dante Pettis provided the offense with its longest play of the day, a 53-yard reception from Beathard. Pettis found himself wide open downfield and could have scored with a better/earlier throw from Beathard. Victor Bolden led 49ers pass catchers with 54 yards on three receptions. James also showed well with four catches for 46 yards.
8. Beathard finished the game with 181 yards and one interception on 10-of-20 passing.
9. The following players did not play: Armstead, Jonathan Cooper, Brock Coyle, Fred Warner, J.P. Flynn, Joshua Garnett, Richard Sherman, Trent Taylor, Cole Wick, K'Waun Williams and Marcell Harris.