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Game Rewind: 49ers Beat Cowboys, 23-6

View the top photos from San Francisco's matchup against Dallas in the first game at Levi's Stadium of 2015.

A month from now, no one will be talking about the preseason.

But in the moment, it's hard not to be encouraged by the San Francisco 49ers all-around terrific performance on Sunday evening. 

With swarming defense, electric play on special teams and a methodical ground attack, the 49ers dismissed the Dallas Cowboys, 23-6, in Week 2 of the preseason. 

San Francisco tallied three interceptions and a blocked punt, two of which were returned for touchdowns. The defense also didn't allow a Cowboys first down until midway through the second quarter. 

The ground game amassed 155 total yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. That facet of the offense was led by Pierre Garçon and Jarryd Hayne, both standout performers on Sunday.

NaVorro Bowman gave the fans what they came to see when he started the game at inside linebacker. 

Catch up on what else you missed from the victory below.

Play of the Game

Fresh off a breakout, six-tackle performance in Week 1 of the preseason versus the Houston Texans, Mike Purcell again came up large on Sunday. 

The very next play after the Cowboys recorded their initial first down of the game, Purcell intercepted Dustin Vaughan at the line of scrimmage and returned the ball 37 yards for a touchdown.

Arik Armstead beat his man off the snap and forced the quick dump-off throw from Vaughan. Purcell reached up with both hands as if trying to bat the pass down, but he adjusted midair to catch the lofting throw. 

Purcell made Vaughan miss before Armstead provided another block to clear the way for the score.

Teammates mobbed Purcell in the end zone as the nose tackle completed his big-man samper for six.

Scoring Rewind

Phil Dawson got the 49ers on the board first, drilling a 25-yard field goal to cap 13-play, 51-yard opening drive.

One quarter later, Dawson connected again, this time from 33 yards out on a Blaine Gabbert-led possession.

The 49ers and Cowboys traded empty drives before Purcell tallied the first touchdown of the day on his pick-six. San Francisco entered the locker room at halftime leading, 13-0.

After the Cowboys missed a 43-yard field goal wide right, the 49ers took over and hurried into Dallas territory thanks to a 34-yard Hayne run. The drive stalled there and Corey Acosta proceeded to hit the team's third field goal of the night, a 38-yard boot. 

Early in the fourth quarter, the 49ers defense again forced a Cowboys punt near their own goal line. There would be no return on this kick, however, as Quinton Patton sped off the edge, blocked the punt and recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown. The wide receiver celebrated with fans by jumping on the railing to the stands. The move was akin to the "Lambaeu Leap" in Green Bay.

The Cowboys finally broke the shutout with four minutes left in the fourth quarter when Nick Harwell caught an 8-yard touchdown pass. 

How the Starters Fared

Colin Kaepernick played in two series on Sunday, completing 2-of-5 passes for 13 yards. Although he was not being able to connect with Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith on back-to-back end-zone passes, Kaepernick still led the first-team offense to a field goal on its opening possession. The quarterback also ran for nine yards on a read-option play.

Bowman, playing in his first home contest since the final game at Candlestick Park, tallied three tackles in three snaps, including two for a loss. 

Hyde turned in a productive outing as well, accounting for 33 total yards on six touches during the team's first drive of the game. He finished the night with 45 yards from scrimmage.

As far as the depth chart, Aaron Lynch and Keith Reaser joined Bowman in the starting lineup on defense. Vernon Davis was the only change on offense, making his preseason debut after sitting out last week. 

Darnell Dockett received his first snaps as a 49ers player, starting in the team's nickel package.

Rookie Watch

Hayne continued to impress, both in the return and running game. The 49ers longest punt return of 2014 was 23 yards. Hayne reached that number three times on Sunday (23, 27, 34). He also led all rushers with 54 yards on eight carries.

Mike Davis garnered eight carries as well, his going for 34 yards. 

Busta Anderson was the team's leading receiver, catching two passes for 32 yards. 

Armstead, in addition to helping out on Purcell's touchdown, knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage. 

Marcus Rush tallied a tackle for loss, and Jaquiski Tartt displayed his hard-hitting style again.

Bradley Pinion had seven punts, averaging 46 yards. He also began the game handling kickoffs.

Injury News

Garrett Celek (ankle) and Garrett Celek (leg) left the game late in the first quarter. Neither injury appeared serious, as both players watched the remainder of the game from the sideline.

Meanwhile, Reggie Bush did not dress for the second consecutive game. The running back joined Glenn Dorsey, Philip Wheeler, Jimmie Ward, Bruce Ellington and Dres Anderson as active players who did not play. 

Up Next

After a rest day, the 49ers travel to Denver on Tuesday for a week of scrimmages against the Broncos. The two teams will have joint practices in Dove Valley on Wednesday and Thursday before squaring off in Week 3 of the preseason on Saturday at Sports Authority Field. The third exhibition game is customarily a dress rehearsal for the regular season, as starters typically play at least the first two quarters. 49ers Studios will be on location all week long for full written, video and social media coverage.

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